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Old 02-02-2014, 12:01 AM   #1
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Finish carpentry labor cost


Hello everyone. Im a finish carpenter and i would like too do a labor cost check. Im trying to get an idea of what others are charging for finish work so i can be sure im in the same ballpark. For example how much for installing base, casing, doors ( interior and exterior) window sills, stair skirts and so on. Thanks in advance

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Old 02-02-2014, 01:19 AM   #2
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This might help some- but ultimately it's what you think you should charge to make a living at it or what you value your skills at. Not what the lowballer charges
"How much will it cost?" Asking for price estimates here.

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Old 02-02-2014, 05:27 AM   #3
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Boy, it would be nice if there was a 'going rate' book---

However--the 'going rate' seldom works---You need to learn to estimate the time involved with every phase of your work---including sales---

I bid one crown molding job----cheap-o customer---she kept telling me a neighbor
paid $3.50 a foot and wanted my 'per foot' rate.

I could not help her--I bid the job and did my math---then divided the number by the number of corners---that's a better way than 'per foot' in my experience.

I did not get the job---nor would I have taken it if she accepted my price---

Learn to bid by--labor--material--overhead and profit.---there is no magic 'going rate' book.----sorry
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:07 AM   #4
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Finish carpentry labor cost


Craftsman books has some programs that are pretty good as far as getting you in the ballpark. The thing is there are so many regional differences in pricing nobody can really give you a number.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:26 AM   #5
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Finish carpentry labor cost


Quote:
Originally Posted by logan91077 View Post
I'm a finish carpenter and i would like too do a labor cost check.
Sell jobs not hours.
Or are you looking to hire onto a crew?
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:50 AM   #6
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Finish carpentry labor cost


There are a few guys on here that are professional contractors but, most people on here are DIY homeowners so some of the answers you get might not be real helpful.

As was mentioned, there is no "Going Rate" that is a one size fits all. If you truly are a contractor, and I am not questioning this, then you should know a few things about you and your business that should help you determine the rate to charge for jobs. Things like liability insurance cost, workman's comp insurance, vehicle insurance, tool cost and depreciation, vehicle cost and depreciation, wages, taxes, retirement plans and all of the other components that make up your total overhead. This overhead number is what ultimately will make up your hourly rate.

I have met too many guys over the years who price themselves based on the price their competition charges. Or to be more precise, just under what their competition charges. All this does is attract themselves to the type of customer that only price shops and does not quality shop. You need to determine what type of customer you want to attract, and not worry about the price shoppers.

I have two friends in the contractor trades. One has a nice home, cottage on the lake, a boat and a waiting list of customers that goes out at least a year. The other one, although he has a nice house, is eyeball deep in debt, struggling to pay bills and is always chasing customers for payment, and is constantly jumping from job to job. Who do you think has a better handle on how to run a business?
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:11 AM   #7
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Finish carpentry labor cost


As we all know there's lots of factors that come into play when pricing a job.
If it's A trim job in an older home you can count on nothing being square, flat, plumb, and having to deal with plaster walls, odd ball stud placement.
Floors being at different heights due to someone adding a different type flooring over old flooring.
Painted or stained trim.
Sometimes having to make jamb extensions.
Has someone started the job and it has to be redone?
Some times you can also get a since of what it's going to be like to work with some people. I call it the aggregation factor that needs to be taken into account.
If I go to look at a job and see some things half done I always ask why, reason being it just may be someone else has been there and there was some issues.
New construction? Ask the builder how they where to work with.
If you since trouble pass on the job. Do not price it just so you can get the job.
If your not going to make money on the job it's cheaper to stay home.
I've had customers start out by saying things like I want to help to save money, often times that just adds more time for you to do the job. Things like I'll do the demo often end up with more wall damage, there not having the time to do it so your stuck doing there job and there not expecting to pay you for it.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:43 AM   #8
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You have gotten some really good answers. I will tell a little story I have told before.
When the building boom ended here in Fla. there were a lot of guys who worked for builders that was looking for work. I hired one, big mistake. We would go to do something and he would have a fit, saying things like "we have to tear this out and rebuild it, it's not square." I tried to explain to him in my world after years of settling nothing would be square, plumb, or straight. It is our job to give it the appearance of straight level and plumb. He never got it.
You don't say what your experience or skill level is so maybe I'm preaching to the choir. If you have experience working in the trade you should have an idea of estimating the time and materials factor. So the only variables are your overhead and expenses. And only you can figure those out. Good Luck
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:57 AM   #9
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That customer helping to save money winds up costing you big time. The rates in Tennessee vary from east to west. In the Memphis area most places it was priced by the cut and by the door/window, here is east Tennessee they pay by the square foot of the house, which don't fly in my book.

The price is different if people live in the house also, moving furniture, having to walk a long way to cut etc., having to protect everything.

As has been said, some houses are just worse built than others. Just because the house is in a high dollar area doesn't mean it is built better so you need to look carefully at the house before giving a cost. Try building stairs to a upper floor 1 1/2 - 2 inches out of level in 4 or 5 feet. (pass that job)

Or like one house I was called in to trim for a contractor buddy, I think they installed 2X12 with 2X10 mixed in for upstairs floor joists, the worse wavy ceiling I have ever seen in my life. Had to let my buddy do that one himself, and this was a million dollar house back in the early 90s. How they did that I don't know.

So you see there are many things that will cause the cost to fluctuate. By the hour is not even in the equation, if you are fast and good the customer really makes out like a champ, if you are slow and bad then you make out like a champ, neither is fair.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:58 AM   #10
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Good point, without exception any time I hired someone that had only worked in new construction I'd have to let them most often by the end of the day.
They would be trying to do a simple job like framing up a new closet door and cut the jack studs the same length without checking how out of level the floor was before cutting.
Trying to use modern one base boards in a plaster wall home, there's a reason they used to use 1 X 6's and base cap moulding, it's to help hide the gaps because the walls not flat.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:10 AM   #11
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Brand new house and the customer wants me to just install the hand rails on the new steps and he wants to do the treads himself.
First thing I notice is the builder never installed a 2 X 4 behind the stringer against the wall. The owner insisted it was not needed.
All he had to cut the treads with was a cheap 10" compound miter saw so he had to flip every board over to complete the cuts leaving a step.
It was so bad he ended up using 2 of the biggest can of Durhams water putty you can buy for fill all the gaps.
I was so embarrassed by what he was doing I parked my truck behind the house so no one would see me there.
He had also installed different trim in every room, installed his vinyl triple vent soffit in one long piece instead of short sections at right angles to the house so that was all falling down.
Pored his own walk way using nothing but a rake and shovel to level it out.
But think of all the money he saved.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:21 AM   #12
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Yea gotta love the cheapies. LOL
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:41 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the replies, some good stuff for sure. And i should have been more specific with my question. Of course a remodel on an older home will cost more than a new construction job. And even new homes will very depending on how well the other work was done. Ok here are a couple examples of how i bid. Trim out a window=$75. Set an int door, trim, knob etc.= $100. Base=$22 per cut. Stair skirts= $100 for a pair. And so on. These are only labor costs on new construction. I guess im just trying to find out how others bid there jobs. Now with all that said no 2 jobs are the same and i do adjust accordingly, up or down when the situation warrants it. So how are others bidding? By the hour, by the square foot, liner foot etc...
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:49 AM   #14
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R.S. Means
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logan91077 View Post
Thanks everyone for the replies, some good stuff for sure. And i should have been more specific with my question. Of course a remodel on an older home will cost more than a new construction job. And even new homes will very depending on how well the other work was done. Ok here are a couple examples of how i bid. Trim out a window=$75. Set an int door, trim, knob etc.= $100. Base=$22 per cut. Stair skirts= $100 for a pair. And so on. These are only labor costs on new construction. I guess im just trying to find out how others bid there jobs. Now with all that said no 2 jobs are the same and i do adjust accordingly, up or down when the situation warrants it. So how are others bidding? By the hour, by the square foot, liner foot etc...
Man if you are getting that much I wouldn't worry.

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