You are here

50 posts / 0 new
Last post
Alex
Alex's picture
Hourly rate?
Alex
Alex's picture

Hello, I'm new to milling and also this forum, I was wondering what kind of hourly rate I should charge for a manual mill. I already have all kinds of people asking me to cut their lumber. I'm guessing hourly instead of by the board foot. Any opinions?

Bill
Bill's picture

Alex some split the wood they saw down the middle with the one supplying the logs. I prefer by the hr. because there are many things to consider when you cut customers logs size, length,how dirty & straight as well as the amount of iron
(nails extra),
Bill

Alex
Alex's picture

All good things to consider. Thanks Bill

LATHAM FARMS
LATHAM FARMS's picture

I charge 30 dollars per hour. that's 15 for me and 15 for the mill. seems fair enuf to me.

swampbuggy
swampbuggy's picture

I have one customer that I saw by the board foot. $.35. Mostly he wants 2x6x12 so it works out well for me. All others get an hourly rate or I don't cut and they pay for the blades if I hit metal. $50/hr. I try to talk them into bringing me the logs so I can use my forklift. Saves the back and saves them time. Plus they can take the lumber with them when they leave. Dan

eddiemac
eddiemac's picture

When I started sawing, I didn't figure it would be fair to charge people an hourly rate until I was fully competent with the saw so I either cut on shares or by the board foot. That way it didn't matter how fast I was. In fact, after ten years I'm still not fast (a manual saw with a 15HP motor and no edger) and don't really feel the need to be, so on the few custom sawing jobs I get I still charge the same way. I live in a poor rural farm area where price increases often mean people do without. Last year, I charged .25/bd ft, but will probably go to .30 this year. I charged $30 an hour once to cut and plane some gunstocks and the guy thought I was robbing him. I primarily mill for myself and consider outside jobs a service to the community. As far as I know, I'm not stealing business from professional sawyers and I don't advertise.

r.garrison1
r.garrison1's picture

Eddiemac,
If the guy thought you were robbing him, maybe post a sign on your saw with what it cost you per hour to operate. Don't need to be specific, can be as simple as total number of hours per year (a hobbs meter will be a help for this), number of off-saw hours spent (prep, hauling, etc., sharpening blades, etc.), cost of equipment (oil changes, fuel, repair/maintenance). I'll bet that comes up to about $20/hr at least; probably closer to $25/hr. If someone balks, refer to the chart, and see if they can work out something as a compromise; if they can't afford more, they may be able to leave you part of the lumber, so you can at least make a profit.

eddiemac
eddiemac's picture

The funny thing about it is the guy was a walnut logger scouring the local countryside to buy standing walnut suitable to be logged and shipped to Italy. He did great business throughout this area, went door to door. I found out he used my name to break the ice with some of my neighbors. They asked me how we knew each other and I told them I'd just met him when he came to my door, like everybody else. Because of his check I knew where he lived (50 miles away), but it was different from where he first told me and what he told other people. Apparently he did pay a good price for the walnut he bought. He told me he'd done well through the years utilizing crotches, burls, and short logs he couldn't otherwise market and making mantles and other things.

Bill
Bill's picture

Eddie you never have to justify your price to any customer when you are honest and do your best. There's always going to be those we don't please but the ones that are appreciative of your labour and service are the ones to be thankful for. I saw mainly for my own use but do have a few repeat customers that I'll saw for when they bring me a few logs they never complain and often pay me more than I ask for.You and I are acouple of the fortunate ones that don't have to rely on the mill for aliving giving us a lot more fredom on what we saw.

Cheers, Bill

eddiemac
eddiemac's picture

Dat true.

kcquick
kcquick's picture

i charge $.25 BF clean .35 dirty plus $30.00 a blade if I hit metal. If I move the mill to the customer I have a minimum $400.00 charge if they bring the logs to me I have no minimum. I charge $.10 to cut the trees down and $.10 to skid the logs I have an edger so my production is increased about %30. If the logs are less than 10 inches in diameter I charge 40 per hour. However there are exceptions to every rule. If the Amish have quoted a job I will under bid them a touch just to keep them out of my customers pockets. I also have a subcontractor that I use if the customer needs something built. I try to cover everything in the business to convince the customer to chose me and not the competitor. there are several mills around me and that has to be considered when setting your price.

eddiemac
eddiemac's picture

Are there a lot of Amish in New York? There currently seems to be a large influx into Cedar County, Missouri. I've wondered if its happening all over or just in areas with cheap land. Not that I mind - I respect their life-style and family values and the way they work together.

kcquick
kcquick's picture

cut and skid is as per doyle scale

eddiemac
eddiemac's picture

Can't get more generous than that. On the other hand, buying logs by Doyle is cutting yourself a margin, but I think that's the way it's done. My walnut logger friend said he bought on the Doyle scale.

kcquick
kcquick's picture

we have over 20 Amish mills within 30 miles of my home.

kcquick
kcquick's picture

if the logs are over 22 in diameter you do better with Doyle selling logs. if they are smaller Scribner scale is better.

kcquick
kcquick's picture

I have had Amish working for me in the woods in the past. I have found that as long as you don't give them free reign on what to cut you are ok. They don't typically log in a renewable way, I am not saying I don't appreciate there lifestyle but I am not impressed with there land management.

Post Oakie
Post Oakie's picture

Skill and care for the land vary from logger to logger, Amish or otherwise. Even with a horse, you can do a lot of damage, just not as fast, though the Amish around here use skidders. Even within a logging company, there can be a lot of variation in how careful they are. Sometimes it just depends on when the next payment for the skidder is due at the bank.

I charge $.28/bd ft if the logs are good, or $60 per hr. I have had some customers try to knock me down in price, and others who are glad to pay it. My wife keeps reminding me that the lumber is not a necessity and that I'm under no obligation to let the customer set the price. On the other hand, if you are milling your own logs and selling the lumber, then you are better off selling by the bd ft., because you are selling a product, instead of a service. There is a lot more to running a sawmill than most customers realize, and they can take one look at my old flatbed Chevy and know that I'm not making a killing with the mill.

QueBenz
QueBenz's picture

Out in west Texas, I am paying $70/hour for milling. That's with me delivering the logs to the sawyer.

swampbuggy
swampbuggy's picture

Dave, They can tell not by the truck, but by the cant hook!

kcquick
kcquick's picture

looks like my mill truck. I don't make millions but I sure do enjoy sawing. There is nothing like opening a log and seeing what is inside it is like Christmas every time.

Post Oakie
Post Oakie's picture
"Dave, They can tell not by the truck, but by the cant hook!"

I stick with what works!

sawwood
sawwood's picture

I have been reading this post and hear is what we have charged the past. We have been charging .45 cents bf
to mill. As we are stationary we just thought that a BF charge would be enough. But after last year we had
a lot of real short logs and some we had to split to fir the mill. So we are going to make up a price list
to show our rates. We are going to charge .55 cents BF for logs over 6' long and 18" or bigger. Any logs under
that will be by the hour at $65.00. That will be for short logs and splitting logs to fit the mill and if they
want us to kiln dry that charge will be for stacking the lumber to air dry and loading the kiln. Kiln drying
will be at .39 cents a bf. Also if we hit metal and the blade is no good that will be $25.00 per blade charge.

Now we don't tell any one we will pick up there logs but if we do then its $45.00 per load under 50 miles.
over the 50 miles we add $1.50 per mile. We have not had any one not pick up there lumber after milling
but if they don't pick up after 30 days we will charge $1.25 a day storage. We must start this as the cost
of running the mill and out time we need to make a little more. We are retired but still need to make it
worth our time for our service.

I also do woodworking in my shop and have set up a charge list for Jointing and Planning. That charge is
.35 cents bf. We also doing custom molding and we have a set up charge of $45.00 per hour.Then the molding
is .50 cents per linear foot. We also charge for the molding knife as what it cost us. So time we need to
rip the lumber down to what size molding they want and that charge is 15 cents per linear foot. I know that
each sawmill will have to charge what is best for them and what is charged in his area. Hope this help some
of you to set up your own charges.

Sawwood

Bill
Bill's picture

Nicely detailed list Sawwood should be very helpful for anyone wishing to have an idea for costs.

Bill

kcquick
kcquick's picture

sawwood if I were to charge prices like yours I would never be able to saw, you must not have any competition around you. I get 50 cents a foot for softwood lumber from my logs and the Amish are the same price as me. At the prices you are getting for custom sawing I could saw 2 days a week and make a heck of a living sawing 2500 ft a day. but hear in upstate NY at those prices I would only be sawing for myself. I am thinking I should move to MO or at least pull the mill there for a couple months a year LOL.

eddiemac
eddiemac's picture

I'm in Missouri and I'd go hungry if I had to rely on sawing to make a living (even at my prices). It's being near a big city that will put you in contact with those able and willing to pay the better prices.

sawwood
sawwood's picture

KC we do have a few sawyers around and they charge about $60. per hour. They are mobile and we are fixed.
We took a look at last year and we had only about 6 jobs and most of them where small jobs. They also where
short logs that took longer to mill then logs of good size. So we didn't make enough to cover the cost of
the mill and us. We also had a large log that we had to split to fit the mill and that took all day so we
sure didn't make any thing after milling the log at .55 cents bf. So that's why we are going to make up
a price list to show what we charge. I think we have in the pass for got about the extra charges and this
will help us and the customer know what the charges will be.

Sawwood

kcquick
kcquick's picture

my business is primarily barns and board and baton siding. 2000bft a day 5 days a week at this output level I am making a profit of 200 a day for me, 100 for my tail sawyer, 400 on logs and about 200 to the mill and edger. some days I don't make this much but it is pretty close to that amount. I used to cut my own logs and then mill them but I was losing money when the mill was not running so now I hire a crew to cut my logs or I buy from other local loggers. I saw %90 pine and hemlock. I could probably charge a bit more or pay my help a bit less but for now I am content with how things are going. I also cut and sell fire wood and my cutting crew also cuts hardwood for sale because I am not ready to get into the hardwood lumber production business yet. In the past I owned and operated a bigger circle mill and sawed primarily hardwood and I can tell you that you can lose a lot of money in a hurry in that market. The operational cost is far lass for a band mill for sure. the prices in that market are at the mercy of the hardwood lumber buyer and I can tell you this that I never made even $.20 a foot profit. So as I was saying I will for now stick with softwood.

eddiemac
eddiemac's picture

I applaud you, KC --- I applaud anyone who makes a living with a Norwood sawmill. Though apparently more difficult (than a LM2000) to operate, the new models must really produce. It's not the machine, though, that makes this possible. It's the mind, the motivating force behind the operation. Bless you. You are doing what many of us would wish we could do but, for innumerable reasons, are somehow unable to accomplish through focus of energy. That said, I wish I had softwood, even just a little bit.

J R in Missouri
J R in Missouri's picture

Readers and Contributors to this thread or topic should consider: I have watched as many sawyers fail the dream, lose sawmill, home and family. You can use whatever method you would like, but with a well thought pricing structure, you will find yourself really starting to understand your costs, because it breaks down where the money goes. In a lot of cases, many will be surprised that they are not charging enough.

This sounds high and you'll make very well on big jobs, but you have to mix that in with all the little, piddley non-productive stuff you end up doing that you make very little on. If someone needs a couple sticks of a particular profile, even with a $75 setup fee, you don't really make anything.

By consensus Sawwood and I have the following work up for the 2014 price schedule “subject to change” of course.
Millwork Shop Rate: $45.00 per hour
Shop Rate for the following:
All set ups of Edger, Gang saw, molding head and material handling.
Jointing and Planning: 35 cents per bf.
Ripping to width or for molding blanks: 15 cents per linear foot.
Molding run: 50 cents linear foot.
The charges are for customers lumber. Cost of lumber if we furnish lumber added to charges.

Sawmill Charges
Milling logs over 6' long and 18" width $.55 cents BF
Milling logs under 6' long and 18" dia. $65.00 per hour.
Mill charges $65.00 per hour for all other operations, including splitting logs , trimming logs, and stacking Any lumber for air drying or loading kiln.
Kiln Drying $.39 cents per bf.
Picking up customers logs and returning lumber with trailer $45.00 per load under 50 miles,
Over 50 mile there is a $1.50 per mile charge. Lumber not picked up in 30 days there will be a storage charge added $1.25 per day.
Lumber not picked up in 30 days there will be a storage charge added $1.25 per day.

One of a fellow sawyers has/had a nice wood sign posted at his mill shed engraved with the message; NOTICE All Completed Lumber Orders Left Over 30 Days Becomes Property of "xxxxxxx" To Be Sold AS Compensation For Time, Labor & Cost.
How many know of, or recall the sad saga of “Wanda and Arky”?

2000 Norwood Lumbermate Mark IV and Lester (Sawwood}

Pages