need help with pricing quandary

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Forum topic by Shawn Masterson posted 09-06-2013 02:09 AM 1234 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1975 days

09-06-2013 02:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question tip finishing milling joining pricing

I was contacted by the president of my local and asked to build something for my local union hall. I feel kind of special that out of 800 guys he called upon me to do it. That being said, what I am building is basically a 1/2 wall with raised panels. It will have a center section at 4’ x 4’ then on each side of that it will have a 42” x 5’ wall section and a 42” x 3’ wing off of that at a 45 degree angle. pretty basic stuff. They are not sure of the wood but that doesn’t really matter since My prices are as follows: R-O@$1 BF, W-O@$1.50BF, ash@$.75 BF, Cherry@$1 BF, and walnut @$1.25 BF. I figure the material Not to exceed $800, and I am not sure what to charge for labor. I want to give them a great price, but need to cover my time as well. I am figuring I can have it done in 90 hours with the finish. I know prices are subjective, but any input is greatly appreciated. I live in northern Indiana. I was hoping to use this as a calling card and have it lead to more work.

Thanks in advance for the advice.

9 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#1 posted 09-06-2013 02:14 AM

Well, you sure get your wood cheap.

Walnut is easy to sand and finish and people love to gush
over it. If you can get it cheap, I’d push for it.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1975 days

#2 posted 09-06-2013 02:25 AM

are those prices cheap. Thats all I have ever paid. I told my sawyer if he ever gave it up I would have to give up woodworking due to the prices of wood. Now keep in mind that is rough sawn, and not select perfect material so you have to plane it and work around the defects, also he compensates for defects in footage.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2998 days

#3 posted 09-06-2013 04:03 AM

Well, for a union job I’d have to get at least three times that for the wood and at least $25/hr for my labor.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1975 days

#4 posted 09-06-2013 12:15 PM


View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 2971 days

#5 posted 09-06-2013 02:09 PM

How can you not be sure what to charge for labor???

What is the hourly wage that you make as a union person? That is the number you multiply times your time estimate. Then add 10% for profit.

Did they ask you to make this because of your skill level or because they wanted it done cheap? If they selected you because of your skills, then you are not cheap to employ. If they did not ask for a donation of your time, then charge the full and fair price for your work.

It appears that you got a good price on the wood for them. You should charge a 10% up-charge on the wood for your time to procure it.

As far as a calling card. Make it a beautiful job and let people be aware of your wonderful skill level. Also let them know that to get the best person for the job isn’t cheap. Ask any professional who is the best in their field and I guarantee that person is making one of the highest wages in their field. Don’t be ashamed of charging a high price, be proud of it as you are worth every penny of it.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View danoaz's profile


223 posts in 2197 days

#6 posted 09-06-2013 02:28 PM

I don’t understand how you get wood that cheap. Cherry is $7 / bd. ft. in Phoenix. Jeez.

-- "Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art." Frank LLoyd Wright

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1975 days

#7 posted 09-06-2013 03:18 PM

go to a sawyer.

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 2140 days

#8 posted 09-06-2013 05:28 PM

I wouldn’t worry about giving a great price – get them a fair one based on the quality of work you provide.

As a stab in the dark without knowing all the little details I’d be around the $5900 mark (with your wood prices)- no install with everything of a very high quality with attention to detail.

+1 on the up charge of lumber.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2658 posts in 2949 days

#9 posted 09-06-2013 06:59 PM

You said ” I want to give them a great price…” So I would charge them the union rate and not mark anything up. That would be a great price and most union members will agree that that pricing is fair.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

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