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Author Topic: Value of custom planing  (Read 931 times)

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Offline Southside logger

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Value of custom planing
« on: January 03, 2018, 08:43:05 PM »
So lately more and more customers are asking me to plane their wood for them, seems to happen when they see the planer sitting there as I don't advertise the service right now not having a kiln in place.  I actually have my planer set up as a sizer ahead of my 4 head moulder for the reclaimed wood side of things.

Wondering what others charge or feel is a fair value for the service.  I did a few and charged by the board foot, then got to thinking about it and wondered if it would be more appropriate to do it by the linear foot. 

I would ask the goat about this, but we all know how he gets when it comes to the subject of planers.   :D
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Offline WDH

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Re: Value of custom planing
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 08:57:33 PM »
I charge 50 cents per BF.  The high volume guys can do it for less, but I work alone and I am not high volume. 
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Value of custom planing
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 11:09:44 PM »
My planing rate is $60 per hour ($1 per minute).  Too many variables to come up with an accurate bf rate since some boards take more passes than others.  Grizzly, helical head, 20" planer.
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Online GAB

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Re: Value of custom planing
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2018, 09:30:38 AM »
I'm with Tom on this one.  I charge an hourly rate.
Since I have a variable speed feed rate planer if someone wants a nice finish the last pass will be a thin cut on a slow feed rate.
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Offline woodworker9

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Re: Value of custom planing
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2018, 08:16:56 AM »
I charge $1 per linear foot for jointing first, then planing.  Boards have to be flat first.  I won't do it if they just want it run through the planer. 

I have never had an issue with anyone.  Pretty easy to convince them of the right way to do it.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Value of custom planing
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2018, 08:59:47 AM »
I charge 50 cents per BF.  The high volume guys can do it for less, but I work alone and I am not high volume.

I'm 50 cents per bdft to put it in the planer, even for a light dressing cut to 7/8" or taking it down to 3/4", and 25 cents per 1/8" pass after that.  All our boards are skip planed to 15/16" as soon as they come out of the kiln, before we sell them, for several reasons, one of which is it takes the unknowns out of the post sale, planing process and makes it more efficient.  Our planer can take a decent bite, so when planing a board from 15/16" to 3/4" although we could do it in one pass, we take it off both sides to keep the board balanced and our planer is set up to provide a very smooth cut at full speed, so both sides come out very nice.

We also charge 50 cents per bdft for jointing or SLR work, whichever the customer prefers.

Having this capability for the customer, real time, can easily add $1 per bdft per sale price.

We charge by the bdft for several reasons, one is that we require the customers to pay for their wood before we plane or alter it, possibly devaluing it.  So if someone buys a hundred bdft of wood and wants it planed and straight lined, we charge $100 and they pay up front and bring it over to the other building for the planing.  This gets them checked out, paid up efficiently and they know the cost up front.

Our planer can do 400 bdft per hour average, two light passes, up to 2 or 3 boards at a time depending on width (segmented infeed allows this) so at a bdft rate, its earning up to $200 per hour, while its running, which on sale days may be 2 to 3 hours per day.

Customers are offered this service, its purely optional.  Many want to do it themselves, however, it not unusual for me to look up and see people's vehicles parked in line waiting to get their wood dressed.  As they say, we can do in 15 minutes what it would take them all afternoon.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Value of custom planing
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2018, 05:21:22 PM »
I do joint and plane for customers on the wood that they buy.  I really don't like to do it, but many customers do not have the equipment or the skills necessary to prepare the wood properly for what they want to do.  Some are grossly unprepared and out of their league.  It can be aggravating.
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Value of custom planing
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 12:54:59 AM »
Ok - going to ponder on how to come up with something.  I have variable speed on the planer, so perhaps some sort of options for thickness or finish planing.  What I want to avoid is having the walk in's asking for 4 sided planing.  Requested ahead of time, great, but I don't want to spend 20 minutes changing over the machine for a couple of boards, at the same time I don't like not selling a customer what they want to spend money on either. 
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.

Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Value of custom planing
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2018, 08:29:22 AM »
Great info. At Yellow's $200/hr math, it makes me want to build a self-contained mobile "planing truck" and head to setup shop for those who don't offer it or don't want to.

Sounds like a perfect value-add profit center and is surely on top of my list for my ops. I have a big helical jointer/planer machine (Felder) like Yellow's so will get it into the mix when I can.

I find that the logistics of these operations are the sticking point. Once you have the equipment, you're about 1/3 the way there: where will it live, how will you power it, what about the waste, how can I move the boards from point A to B to C? It harkens back to a brilliant statement I've seen somewhere here that went something like, "Running a mill is all about material handling. There just happens to be a saw in the middle for a moment." So TRUE it is!  :-\
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Value of custom planing
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2018, 09:37:49 AM »
You guys are right on, planing for profit can be a total pain, back breaker and aggravation, or a for sure money maker.  I'm not in the business of planing wood, but if the unknowns and machine setup can be removed, its a pretty predictable profit stream. 

As WDH says, a certain amount of customers just aren't prepared or out of their league, and the more I can get them in their comfort zone, the more they buy and the more dedicated, repeat customer they become. 

Here's a video we took some years ago when we just started this planing for profit thing, and you can see how feeding multiple boards, with minimal effort, at 50 cents per bdft, can add up pretty fast.



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