iDRY Vacuum Kilns


Portable bandsaw milling income

Started by 230Dforme, August 22, 2021, 07:10:57 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Have not seen any mention of how
much you can make with a portable 
saw mill
Mill is set up, you are working alone,
logs are good, all goes well, normal
pace, 8 hours

I know, it depends 


Change is hard....
Especially when a jar full of it falls off the top shelf and hits your head!

WV Sawmiller

  Its a very straightforward answer. With enough experience you can calculate your expected production, which you will find varies widely from job to job based on the logs, customer requirements/lumber to be cut, help and your experience, then determine your normal and unexpected expenses and calculate what your required income is going to be and set your prices accordingly. Then when you are well known enough to keep a steady backlog of work, you will know what you can earn. Piece of cake - right?

   BTW - What do you mean "Mill is set up"? In portable milling you set up for every job and sometimes you even set up several times during the same job.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2011 4WD F150 Ford Lariat PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Stihl 440 Chainsaw, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once


What are you running for a mill?  When you say working alone - you are handling everything?  Logs, slabs, lumber?  Quarter sawing 36" white oak or making framing material from 20" yellow pine logs?  

Yup - it depends.  
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and 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.
White Oak Meadows


When you get to that ever fluctuating number please let the rest of us know.
Then multiply it by .70711 for lost time due to a broken and wedged blade issue and loss of personel effectiveness due to the weather and then you'll be somewhat closer to reality.
W-M LT40HDD34, SLR, JD 420, JD 950w/loader and Woods backhoe, V3507 Fransguard winch, Cordwood Saw, 18' flat bed trailer, and other toys.



I'm sure you can tell from the responses so far that its a very open ended, difficult question to answer, even with all the facts.

You left out some key details, even with those, the answer really depends.

What are you milling with? Milling with a Logosol vs an LT70 will make quite a different in output.
Do you want to charge hourly like some do or per bdft like others?
You say you're going to work alone....are you stacking lumber, in charge of getting the logs to/on the mill, dealing with offcuts...?
What is a normal pace? A normal pace for a 22 year old is very different than a 71 year old.
It might be easier to quantify what your expectations are and then solicit feedback on those figures.

Also,myself, and probably others, would disagree that there are no posting about how much you can make portable sawing. I would say there is lots of information about how much can be made. Its probably not spelled out like "Hey everyone, I cleared $698 today, here's how I did it". However, I have seen plenty of information about what some portable sawyers charge, how many hours they spent, how many bdft per trip, what equipment they run, how far they traveled etc etc. You could use that information to back out your bottom line based on your location, your equipment and business model.

Judging from your other posts, it looks like you have a fair amount of equipment and experience that you can use to your advantage 


I want to apologize for my first response to your post. I thought I was being funny but realize now that it was totally not productive.
Change is hard....
Especially when a jar full of it falls off the top shelf and hits your head!


Good afternoon 
Not offended Tom, old with thick skin 😁
I know a few guys that work alone doing
residential tree work that make 800-1000
a day for a good 8 hr day

I've been asking around about 1-2 man logging
operators. Are they doing 4-5000 a week each ?

So my question is only about comparison of time,
equipment and effort in relation to income/gross

My qualifiers were only to assume a good day
I realize that there are problems, variables and
other items to consider

I look at FF several times a day, so I figured
I would get blowback


Tom the Sawyer

Several years ago I setup and demoed with my mill at a state arborists convention.  I had met several of the tree guys who came by the vendors' area and stopped to say hello.  There were a couple of them that I knew of that owned sawmills, including one who had milled for me before I bought my mill.  

When I asked if they were still milling, at least two of them told me that milling was a low priority, something they did in poor weather or when there weren't tree jobs to do.  Both said that they made a lot more money doing tree work than they ever could milling for people.  With the right equipment - residential tree work was a big cash generator.
07 TK B-20, Custom log arch, 20' trailer w/log loading arch, F350 flatbed dually dump.  Piggy-back forklift.  LS tractor w/FEL, Bobcat S250 w/grapple, Stihl 025C 16", Husky 372XP 24/30" bars, Grizzly 20" planer, Nyle L200M DH kiln.
If you call and my wife says, "He's sawin logs", I ain't snoring.


The biggest difference in tree work and milling is you don't have to climb a log to mill it. :) Around here, tree guys make much more than I can milling. Everybody wants pine that is worth only $0.75 a board foot green so there's not much profit in that. Green white oak is better at $2.00 to $2.50 a board foot, but not many people need to floor their trailers on a regular basis. Sawmilling, even with top notch hydraulic equipment, is hard work for not big money. My opinion is worth what it cost you. ;D
Cook's AC3667t, Cat Claw sharpener, Dual tooth setter, and Band Roller, Kubota B26 TLB, Takeuchi TB260C


Have you checked into what a legit tree service pays for liability insurance? 
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and 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.
White Oak Meadows


A lot depends on the location. Around here sawing other peoples wood is hopeless; too big, too small, dirty and never felled or bucked properly and no one to help. In other areas there are even aged stands of straight softwoods and the land owner well provide help. Perhaps the logs where brought out on frozen ground with snow like they should be. I have visited jobs where the land owner will keep the sawyer sawing not fooling around with chainsaws and wire brushes.  So the portable sawmill need the right place to go.

Thank You Sponsors!