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Hey everyone, I just did some serious woodwork for a customer and I'm having trouble billing it. I made a tub skirt, sink skirt and a bunch of trim. It took me a lot of time especially the finishing and installation. I just was wondering what you guys charged. If you want to PM me that's fine. I don't live near any of you so it's not like we're competition. Help a newbie out!
Thanks
Jodie
 

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I think that is going way out on a limb to build and install and not know what to charge. My question is what if you bill and your client doesn't like the price and says "I'm not paying" this leaves you really vulnerable.

What I usually do is discuss the project with the client. Have in mind the cost for materials, types of wood, plywood etc. Also have in mind what it cost for your time, electric, clean-up and dump fees. Do your home work and then quote before any of the work begins.

Example. Client A wants an alder entertainment center. He wants it to match existing cabinetry but would like a free standing unit.
Just looking before you design you fiqure you'll need approx. 200 bf alder for 5.60 a bd and 3 sheets 3/4 birch at 50.00 and 1 sheet 1/4 at 35.00 not to mention stain, finish, slides and hardware. This is your start for a ballpark price. Let the client make some decisions to narrow your price. When you both agree, ask for a 50% deposit down and a 50% completion. The half in the beginning allows you to buy material and components ie. bits and blades to match client's cabinets and pay your help. The check at the end is yours. You cover your suppliers and help in the beginning and pay yourself at the end. If the client defaults on the final payment, you don't owe anyone anything.

As for your project, I had a shop in Irwin, PA and was getting 300 to 500 a pop for custom tub skirts.

Hope this helps,

Nailgunner7
 

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The customer supplied the materials, I was really looking for an hourly rate. I think I was a bit low but not too low. I really spent a lot of time on this one. As far as going out on a limb, that's how we do most of our jobs. We get an idea of what the customer wants to spend and make sure we don't go over the limit.
 

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Hey everyone, I just did some serious woodwork ......
No, you just did some serious labor. Serious woodwork entails the business side also. I know I sound like a snob here but I am not going to tell you what you want to hear, but what I think you need to hear.

At the least, you have to figure your "serious woodwork" at your regional hourly rate plus or minus the extras or shortcuts. And never take shortcuts.

Based on your saying "We get an idea of what the customer wants to spend and make sure we don't go over the limit." tells me you are not paying enough attention to the business and marketing side of your time.

You need more than just an idea. You need to grow some brass balls before you commit yourself to this kind of project. Ideal customers want you to be in charge after they tell you what they want. It is your job to figure that out.

Talk to someone who has been down the road already. Maybe this guy?
 

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We call that a "while your here quote". We usually charge premium price for these. Usually the client wanted that work done as well but withheld that until you are on the job. I usually make a separate contract for that. If the client declines, I finish the original agreement and then proceed. I don't allow additional work orders to jepardize the payment from the original.
 

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It's called change order. I have made thousands of extra dollars with them. I love to hear a customer say "Do you have a minute?"
My contracts have the change order stipulation and I have never had a customer complain bout them come Friday draw.
 

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Change order..makes sense. I think I'll start making additional contracts for the extra work too. Normally when people ask me to do more work I start planning the next tool or fishing gear I'm going to buy with the additional money. When we do tile because of drying time it's normally only a few hours a day so I've already charged for a full day. I charge hourly for the additional work so it's like double time for us.
 

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Really? So you think this is alright to charge for drying time while you go home? Or worse yet, to double-bill, charging by the hour for an add-on job after you've already billed them for that same time for thinset to dry? You actually sound proud of it. Score. I call that a crook.

Most people get paid for the work they do. Going home while thinset dries is not working. What a joke. This is the kind of stuff that gives contractors a real bad rep.

Learn how to schedule your time and head to the next small job or next phase at another location to fill the day. If there isn't one, don't make your customer pay for your own slow schedule. Ask if there's something else they need done while that tile is setting -- since they're paying for your time till 5pm anyway! Do an honest day's work. What a novel idea.



....nevermind
 

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Jodie,

It sounds like you and I have opposite talents. I am on the novice end of the spectrum for wood working and carpentry, but I am starting to get a little more into the upper end of business.

I think what I would suggest for this is to maybe sit down and talk to a CPA or business consultant in your area. Not H&R Block or some other retail gig, but a real pro that can help you with your business. You need to understand your true cost of doing business (your burden rate) before you should look at determining your price schedule.

After that, I would put together a set price schedule that makes sense to both you and the average joe (since the average client is most likely an average joe). It will cover what is quoted (T&M, by the job, etc) and you can add clauses in there for change orders, additional job discounts, military discounts, etc.

The reality is that as soon as you get this hammered out, you can focus on your true passion and not have to stress quite as much about these issues.

Curtis
 

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Really? So you think this is alright to charge for drying time while you go home? Or worse yet, to double-bill, charging by the hour for an add-on job after you've already billed them for that same time for thinset to dry? You actually sound proud of it. Score. I call that a crook.

Most people get paid for the work they do. Going home while thinset dries is not working. What a joke. This is the kind of stuff that gives contractors a real bad rep.

Learn how to schedule your time and head to the next small job or next phase at another location to fill the day. If there isn't one, don't make your customer pay for your own slow schedule. Ask if there's something else they need done while that tile is setting -- since they're paying for your time till 5pm anyway! Do an honest day's work. What a novel idea.
That full day of labor charged includes finishing the job the next day. If you want something else done between setting tiles and cleaning the mess......you pay for that. It's not double billing, it's called being productive.
 

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Yeah, thanks Itchy....I missed that. Actually, I was responding to SS's post. But my cheerful, holiday spirit made me delete it.
 

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The customer supplied the materials, I was really looking for an hourly rate. I think I was a bit low but not too low. I really spent a lot of time on this one. As far as going out on a limb, that's how we do most of our jobs. We get an idea of what the customer wants to spend and make sure we don't go over the limit.
All I can say is WOW!!

I think that you are lucky that you are still in "business." Are you really in business or do you just do these types of jobs as a part time job.

You also say "that's how WE do most of OUR jobs. Is there more than one of you?

I think that you are asking for a LOT if trouble if you continue working this way. You have got to come up with a more formal way approaching this work.

George
 

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Change order..makes sense. I think I'll start making additional contracts for the extra work too. Normally when people ask me to do more work I start planning the next tool or fishing gear I'm going to buy with the additional money. When we do tile because of drying time it's normally only a few hours a day so I've already charged for a full day. I charge hourly for the additional work so it's like double time for us.
How long have you been in this "business?" With your lax policies I cannot see how you would get much repeat business.

George
 

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SS123 said:
Really? So you think this is alright to charge for drying time while you go home? Or worse yet, to double-bill, charging by the hour for an add-on job after you've already billed them for that same time for thinset to dry? You actually sound proud of it. Score. I call that a crook.

Most people get paid for the work they do. Going home while thinset dries is not working. What a joke. This is the kind of stuff that gives contractors a real bad rep.

Learn how to schedule your time and head to the next small job or next phase at another location to fill the day. If there isn't one, don't make your customer pay for your own slow schedule. Ask if there's something else they need done while that tile is setting -- since they're paying for your time till 5pm anyway! Do an honest day's work. What a novel idea.
Charging for drying time? I'd say you already have brass balls! C'mon, honest days pay for an honest days work. This is a policy that lets you look yourself in the eye when you shave.
 
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