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Author Topic: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.  (Read 1937 times)

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Offline Banjo picker

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Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« on: February 21, 2019, 10:17:24 PM »
When I delivered a load to a customer today, they hit me up for something I normally donít do.  Matter of fact I have never done it.  Cut to an exact length. They want me to cut full 2 x 8s to 14 feet and a quarter of an inch (14í 0 1/4).  They buy a lot of wood and I would hate to loose their business, but that is a pain.  Normally I just drag back 5 or 6 at a time and kick them off my roller tables onto racks and pick them up with the forks an load onto my trailer .... very little actual handling.  This is going to mean putting them on a chop saw and cutting one end then measuring and then cutting the other end. How much would you charge extra per board?

If I charge too little on these first ones it will make it harder to charge more latter.

It donít take that much time, but I can feel the difference after cutting this afternoon.  

Any thoughts or feedback is appreciated.  Banjo
Never explain, your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you any way.

Offline DPatton

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2019, 10:30:28 PM »
Banjo,

Your post indicates measuring. I would eliminate that step by setting up a jig or stop for the 14í-0 1/4Ē length if you havenít already. If they are a good customer then they will understand that their request requires extra handling and additional time. Consider how much it would cost them to handle and cut each 2 x 8 to length and charge accordingly.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2019, 10:46:36 PM »
How many boards?  Both on this run and future?  That would dictate how I would go about doing it, and how much I would charge.  Then I might invest in a jump saw or similar.
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Offline Southside

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 11:00:36 PM »
Completely agree on the jump saw idea, they could roll off the mill, through the saw and then onto wherever. Never have to lift them, no measuring, and fast. 
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2019, 11:05:09 PM »
We have length stops on the rollers of one of the radial arms... Literally a block of wood on a hinge so it can swing out the way.

Price list says we charge 8% extra for CTL but that's plus or minus nothing.
Reality is that we mostly do nominal +2" for free... It looks a whole lot more professional if the ends of your packs are even and square, but there might be some discrepancy in length at that. 
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline Banjo picker

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2019, 11:06:11 PM »
I have 26 of the 14 footers to cut and 50 of a different length somewhere around 9 feet to do.  Banjo
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2019, 12:23:48 AM »
So they want 14' 0-1/4".  If its soft wood, then you round up to the next 2' increment and charge them for a 16', right?  Same thing for the 9' something?  Charge them for 10' and you might get two out of a 18' something board?  How's that work - for the 14' that would be a 14% premium (bumping up to 16').
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Offline WDH

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2019, 07:20:05 AM »
Doing it for an hourly rate takes the guesswork out of it.
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Offline Cedarman

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2019, 07:25:52 AM »
It may be the reason the customer is asking you to do it is because they find it a PITA to do.
And want to pay to have it done.  Have you asked your customer what he thinks it is worth to cut to length?
This is what I call an R&D job.  Hard to tell how much time it will take until you do it.
Do the job, see how much time it takes and figure a fee for your time.
Let your customer know why you are charging what you are charging.  See if they think it is reasonable.
Now you will know if you will do more in the future.
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2019, 07:45:34 AM »
Whichever technique you decide, I would definitely let them know the price is based on a trial period and may be subject to change.    
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Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyíre burned, and you canít fix them.  Donít burn the cookies.

Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2019, 08:08:04 AM »
I would have to probably double the price.
The place I would have to take them to CTL is 1/2 mile from my mill.
But that is just me.

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Offline Sixacresand

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2019, 08:40:35 AM »
I try to mill a log that is a foot or two longer than what a customer wants and charge him for the length he specified.  he does his own measuring, squaring and trimming.  I concentrate on straight, uniform lumber.  
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2019, 08:47:57 AM »
   I know one forum member, I won't mention his name because I don't want to get head butted, who cuts lots of 8'2" I think he said it was. He has 2 chop saws set up and bolted down to cut to that exact spacing and just throws the board across both and whacks the ends off square.

   I would suggest charging a % premium for the extra work. Check your time to do it and decide. Maybe 5%, 10% or maybe 20%. I like the idea of telling him it is a temporary price and subject to change in the future to protect yourself.

   I find the 1/4" extra an odd request. I think most finished lumber at the box stores add 1" of trim.
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Offline Banjo picker

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2019, 09:46:29 AM »
Waking up this morning, after handling some of those heavy suckers yesterday lets me know there will definitely be some sort of surcharge in addition to the extra time.  I am thinking about 10% extra at least and then tell them that is just to see how things go as the WV Sawmiller suggested.

I too normally just concentrate on cutting nice lumber, but I don't want to back out of something without even giving it a try either.  
 
I will let them know this is just a trial to see how things go.  I think it is as Cedarman said that it is a PITA for them to cut so they want someone else to do it.  There is another slight facet to this as well.... If I make a miss cut and get one too short its on me instead of them.  It could be they have someone that can't read a tape.

I can see how it could be reasoned to round the length up, but on the 14 foot and a quarter of an inch, that extra amount is always going to be there anyway.  I would rather they know that it is because of the extra time and work for the extra cost.  Now on the other boards they have to be 8 foot 11 inches and 7/8... how about that for an off the wall measurement.  Pricing that as a 10 footer should not raise any eyebrows.  

WDH if I charged by the hour on these first ones, it would probably be the last. :D  

I have a couple of radial arm saws that are not set up anywhere, I guess one of those could be set up along inbetween  a couple of the roller tables.  Would you think that would be better than a miter saw.  The radial arm could be turned on a 90 and gotten out of the way mostly when I didn't need it.  

I am fixing to go cut up some wood.  Glad I am on top of a hill with all this rain.  We will probably need some of this about July or August.  Banjo
Never explain, your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you any way.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2019, 09:49:25 AM »
I find the 1/4" extra an odd request. I think most finished lumber at the box stores add 1" of trim.
 
Well, out here, the margin is getting shorter.  I remember putting up a fence 30 years ago on our ranch.  Three rail 2x6.  If I messed up on a post (8' centers), I had 1" to 1-1/4" to play with.  A couple months ago I was helping my nephew put up a shed with 16' 2x8 rafters.  They were all within 1/4"! :o No fudge factor allowed on those!  You'd have to cut an awful lot of boards out of a really tall tree to have those 1" trims add up to a 8' board :D
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Offline John S

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2019, 10:06:47 AM »
Ditto WDH, hourly rate!
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2019, 04:56:57 PM »
I'm envisioning a skill saw on one end then a chop saw on the other.  The skill saw cuts one end square then the chop saw (with a stop for length) cuts the length.  If done right, the cutting is in the flow of boards as they come off the mill.  It could be done with "roller skate" type conveyors.  It is more labor no matter how you set it up.  Twenty five percent mark up ought to cover the costs.  I'd have to run it a little while to know.
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Offline Banjo picker

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2019, 09:29:01 PM »
I took them a partial load today as I had agreed to yesterday so they could get an order out.  What I did was figured the price per board foot as I had with other 2 x 8 s that they had bought and added $3.00 extra per board.  They didn't bat an eye.  I got out my old worm drive makita saw .... worked a lot better than using the miter saw.

I was told that this would be the only contract that they would need the cut to length on and it would not effect the other lumber they got from me, but he alluded to the fact that this was going to be a pretty big amount and that I might need to put a saw in line to help.
 
Here is what I have set up.  Kinda crude, but it works for me.  I have three of those in a row.  The slabs go on that one that is right behind the mill.  Then I have a space of a couple feet, then station #2 .... followed by station #3.  If I am cutting short stuff, that gives me a place for my slabs and 2 places to hold produce untill I get enough to load.  I could easily station a saw right after my slab station.  If I set it up just a tiny bit lower that the rollers, I could cut out the lifting, but I don't see how I could install stops so I don't have to measure without that impeding the path of the boards that will need to roll on down the line to go on the rack after they are cut.





 
When I am cutting long stuff, I can move the racks closer together or widen them out to accommodate what ever I am cutting.



 The idea of having two saws bolted down would be ok, if I was only dealing with one produce, but don't know about doing that with this set up.  Thanks for the ideas .... Banjo
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2019, 09:49:45 PM »
The main docker line here has a pop up saw, and paint markings for length, which is good enough for just regular keep them all the same +/- ľ" kind of work. Thing being with the pop up saw that theres no real guarantee that the board is 100% square to the saw anyway, but its quick and efficient and does the job it has to do.

The CTL stuff goes to my original docking line with a radial arm saw on it which is now in the drymill. As mentioned, we have blocks on hinges for the lengths we're doing all the time as CTL. For lengths other than that we have a stop that can be positioned across the line as required and held in place with a couple of G clamps: simple and effective so long as you arent banging big lumps of wood into it at speed. The swinging blocks I just tacked a door hinge in roughly the right place then screwed a block of hardwood too it at the right length.



 



Again... simple but effective. 

The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline Banjo picker

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Re: Cut to exact length, how much extra would you charge.
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2019, 10:00:48 PM »
Thanks longtime lurker, a picture is in deed worth a thousand words.  I read where you posted about the hinge earlier, but it just didn't click.  That will work.  Banjo
Never explain, your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you any way.


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