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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Friend of mine has asked me to restore his front entry door. In short, the 77 year old house faces south, there was little of no protection for the entry door for a time, and nails in a brass kick plate caused checks to form. There are also areas where in the joint or the checked area the board has curled upward.

Pretty sure I know what to do. Clean out the checks sand down the raised areas, use a shellac & sawdust mix to fill, and re-finish the outside of the door with a stain & marine varnish. The question is time... In paticular... How much my time is worth.

I don't want to screw my friend over, but I don't want to screw myself either. For years I've heard "You don't charge enough!" in regards to what I built in the past. I know a square door 34" wide with a window is $1200.00 to $1500.00. Add a arched window and it goes up a bit more. To refinishing this door & the hardware, I'm guessing a pro would charge the same amount as to replace it. I don't want to do that.

If there are those out here who do this on the side or even full time, I would like to know what method you use to come up with your hourly rate, or more directly, what you would charge for a project like this. If it helps, there's a link to my website in my signature line. A Private Message or email would work as well. I just need to get a better sence of what to charge and what I'm worth. (BTW: This woodworking thing I do is on the side.)

Thank you for your time.

Tom
 

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Tom,
My point of view is this on pricing. No matter if you d something part time or full time you need to figure the same.
How much does it cost you to operate?, how much do you want or need to make as a profit for yourself?, how much do you want to grow your business (business profit)? Add these up and you will know what to charge. Operation costs include everything you have to pay out in order to operate. Sounds simple but takes some figuring. Your shop, tools, any insurance, fuel to drive your vehicle, anything and everything to do the work.
Only you can come up with these figures. Don't be afraid to charge what you are worth. Good customers are willing to pay for quality, bad customers you don't want. Favors can snow ball so be careful. Even friends don't mind paying. I they want something done well why wouldn't they rather give the business to a friend than a stranger?
Good luck and keep up the nice work.
 

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pricing

Jobs that are labor only, no material = $60.00 per hour on site. $45.00 per hour, my shop

Full fabrication jobs, three times the list price on all materials with consideration for special requirements.

Ed
 

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Cabinetmaker
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Unless this is a historically important home and this is an original door historically important' I dont believe it is worth touching. You have no way of checking all the joints, besides just looking. If you are set in ur mind to do it then FIRST THING!!! TAKE IT to a professional shop that makes doors for their examination, if they say it is solid then guesstimate what u want to do it, when you get that number, double it. That is probably the closet real number.NEVER FORGET THIS!!!! ONCE YOU TOUCH IT YOU ARE MARRIED TO IT FOREVER, EVERYTHING FROM THAT POINT ON IS NOW YOUR FAULT!!!!!!!!!!
JackM
 

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johnep
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Helping friends can be a minefield. I had an assistant once who always refused to help anyone. When I took this up with him at appraisal time he said, "If I help someone to the best of my ability and it goes wrong, I get the blame and maybe lose a friend. If I don't help, then I can't go wrong and I retain the friend".

I used to call him the Abominable No Man, but from personal experience he was unfortunately right in some circumstances.
johnep
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input... Let me clear a few things up...

I do understand construction and know pretty well the anatomy of a door. This door is solid and there are no failed joints. The problem is on the surface that faces out. The inside of the door is showing no seperated joints, no light comes thru the door, and it does not have any flex in the boards and the joints. It's a worthy canditate for restoration. Secondly, as I mentioned, this is on a house built in 1928. Although it is a square door (I have a round top on my house, which in my early days in that house has made contractors wet themselves if they think they have to work on it), it dose have features like stained glass half-round window, period hardware, and a unique look that is perfect for this house. You don't just get a Pella Door and slap it up there. It just won't work. (Nor will it fit... Size wise, I mean.) So the door is being restored. As for taking it to a re-finisher, I would tell my friend to do that if I didn't think I could do the work. My friend also doesn't trust some refinisher he doesn't know... He trust me.

Some have stated (here and other forums) never do work for friends. The hardest part is the bid, and that's the part I hate. However, once that is behind us (and it now is in this case) the work is no big deal. I keep then up to date on the progress, invite them to come and see how it's going, even tell them if they want to stop by my shop un-announce to do so. (If I'm in there's of course.) I've done work for several friends and they all have said the same thing. "I don't know this stuff... You do. I trust you!". I have yet to dissapoint my friends and/or customers. (And no, it's not luck... It's hard work and communication.) It's not a matter of what I want the piece to look like... It's what the customer wants. (Freind or not.) Honor that and it's all good IME.

Tom
 

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Forgotten but not gone
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I don't see the big problem. If you are competent enough to restore the door then quote a price and if he likes it then do the job.
If he doesn't like it tell him you understand.

Sounds like you already shot him a price. Did he like it? Do you like it? Great. No problems.

If you know in the back of your mind that you aren't experienced enough to resotre the door with a near zero percent of screwing it up (after all it is an antique door and you can't replace it in his mind) and are doing this as a "favor" anyway because he is a freind and you have never learned to say no to a friend, then do yourself a favor and kindly back outof the deal before you screw up more than the door.

Otherwise, post some progress pictures if you don't mind.
 

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Hi Tommy

If both you, and your friend feel that the quote is fair, and you feel confident to do the work, then you are set. You have a good attitude, and you obviously are a competent cabinet maker[looked at your gallery]. It should all go well.

Regards

Gerry
 

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I do computer work and have the same problems. Usually I figure if people aren't going to pay me and industry bill rate 75/100 per hour then its doing something for them is opening the door to trouble. My solution has been to just not charge friends for work. They feel guilty enough about it that they don't ask me anymore. Of course, this can back fire!!
 
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