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Author Topic: Advice: what would you charge?  (Read 690 times)

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Offline OlJarhead

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Advice: what would you charge?
« on: July 30, 2021, 05:17:29 PM »
OK, as a sawyer I have no problem figuring out what to charge for my services but this is new for me!  

I have a guy who is looking for a counter 24" long, 16" wide made of English Walnut, dyed like my counter top and coated with epoxy resin.

I figure the finished product will be 1 3/4" x 16" x 24" (4.7bf) finished two sides, live edges.  I will be prepping it (planing, sanding, bow ties out of black walnut) which will take me 2-3hrs (depends on a number of factors), dyeing it (easy and quick but requires some prep work - tack cloth etc), then pouring it with Parks Super Glaze (I happen to have some handy and I think is about $28 ).

I am guessing I'll have no less than 4hrs into it, maybe as many as 6.  Materials not including the wood aren't much over $40 (sanding discs, dye, superglaze etc) and the wood is probably about $47 guessing a $10/bf for dried English Walnut (I don't sell it so I'm guessing based on past experience and I could be way off).

Would it be reasonable to charge something like $50/hr for my work plus materials and the walnut?

Finished 24"x16" counter top would then run something like $287 to $387

Do you think that's out of line?  Too much?  Not enough?

I may never do this again but am considering it as an aside to my sawmill jobs.
Thanks!


 
Not the best pic but this is the counter top that got him interested.  IN person it's beautiful, in the pic it's ok ;)

This one is finished in Stone Coat Counter Tops super hard heat resistant epoxy....but that's a lot more work ;) and he didn't want that.
2016 LT40HD26 and Mahindra 5010 W/FEL WM Hundred Thousand BF Club Member

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Advice: what would you charge?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2021, 05:28:09 PM »
Eric,

   What is your sawing rate if you are sawing lumber for a customer? I bet it's more that $50/hour so why would you charge less for this kind of work? 

    To be safe figure out what you are comfortable with as an hourly rate then offer to do the work at Time and Material and be sure to keep up with all your material costs including shop supplies and any specialty mileage. If the customer is not happy with that let him find someone else to do the work but I bet he jumps all over it. This is not an el-cheapo Wal Mart or dollar store item. For custom work people pay custom prices. 

   If you finish the job and feel you took too much time building it and should have used less you can always reduce your billable hours accordingly. 
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, 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"

Offline OlJarhead

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Re: Advice: what would you charge?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2021, 05:40:38 PM »
Good point.  I charge $100/hr to run my saw in remote locations
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Advice: what would you charge?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2021, 06:29:39 PM »
  Okay - next series of questions:

Is it significantly harder or easier to saw lumber or make counters?
Do you enjoy making counters more than you enjoy sawing lumber?
Are you not busy sawing lumber and looking for something to occupy your time?
Does it take more skill to make counters or saw lumber?
Do you get more personal satisfaction sawing lumber or making counters?

  I'd base my hourly rate on these and similar questions and offer accordingly.

  BTW - a 24" X 16" counter sure seems awful small.

  Good luck - keep us posted.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, 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"

Online trimguy

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Re: Advice: what would you charge?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2021, 07:03:19 PM »
Knowledge, know how and accumulation of tools are worth something. I would think that $50 an hour would be on the very low end.

Offline OlJarhead

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Re: Advice: what would you charge?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2021, 11:13:22 PM »
The counter is really Just a divider in a MIL suite with a max area of 20x24 inches.

I had to double check 
2016 LT40HD26 and Mahindra 5010 W/FEL WM Hundred Thousand BF Club Member

Offline Downstream

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Re: Advice: what would you charge?
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2021, 11:38:00 PM »
My perspective is that when I was doing both in the past I considered woodworking to be a higher value($) operation since it is farther down the overall value chain vs milling.  More risk/cost if you mess up the project closer to finishing.  On a smaller item like this I would normally market price more like a large cutting board with a premium epoxy finish vs oil/poly.  In my markets the upper end of the range you gave is where I would be in my markets.  If I'm pricing for a larger urban area price may be a little higher.
EZ Boardwalk Jr,  Split Second Kinetic logsplitter, Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill, Stihl 660 and 211, Logrite 60" cant hook, Dixie 32 Tongs

Offline OlJarhead

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Re: Advice: what would you charge?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2021, 09:48:21 AM »
Much appreciated.

This is new for me but something I've been contemplating.  I have the wood and this piece is part of a larger piece that checked badly and I needed to cut it down and decide what to do with it, so it works.

The customer is the guy who did our gutters and I'm looking for another section of gutter.  He does high end homes only but despite that the pricing seems pretty low (21 feet of gutter for about $350).  He saw my counter top, and some other things I've done and wondered if I could do this small 'counter' for him.  I left this out earlier as I wanted to look at it from a purely business point of view vs. a horse trading perspective.

I never timed myself on making anything nor kept any records, I just go to the shop and mess around until I'm finished (or at least can accept it as finished but probably like many of you I'm never fully happy and always think I can do more).  I'm no perfectionist nor professional woodworker but I do think I do nice work when I set my mind to it.

In any case, looking online, English Walnut can be spendy.  I saw a price of $104 for a 21x24 set (bookmatched but two pieces) and figure this piece which doesn't have quite the figure as those two, is probably worth a similar amount to the right buyer since it's one solid piece (2 1/8" thick).

It will take time to plane it down, sand it further, cut in the bow-tie, make the bow-tie even, dye, coat etc.

I think the $387 price sounds high but I realize what I think isn't relevant if the buyer thinks it sounds good ;)
2016 LT40HD26 and Mahindra 5010 W/FEL WM Hundred Thousand BF Club Member

Offline John357

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Re: Advice: what would you charge?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2021, 10:10:18 AM »
When finishing wood, you need to consider that the piece will be lying around many days between treatments (sanding, planing, coats of finish).  That might add to the overall cost as overhead. 

John
Woodland Mills HM126

Offline jimbarry

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Re: Advice: what would you charge?
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2021, 07:34:52 AM »
$100 sq ft for custom counter top/cutting boards is not pricey. A lot goes into making a woodworking project; time, supplies, tools and experience.

He may do high end homes, doesn't mean he charges high end prices. Maybe he doesn't know his work value either. Nothing wrong with bartering for that piece of gutter you are looking for, but be sure you value your time.

One of our services is selling kiln dried firewood and deliver it locally. I had a new customer who wanted a cord, it was a 9 hour round trip to deliver. I priced it per km for fuel, time there and back and future maintenance on the truck. Customer could either say yes or no. They said yes.

The price you come up with is what you are telling the world you are worth. Make it worth your while.
Jim
WoodchuckCanuck.com - Livin' the rural life in Nova Scotia.
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