Pricing Lineal Moulding

Tips and advice on setting a per-foot price for custom moulding runs. July 23, 2007

I am an estimator at a high end millwork company. I am looking at price comparisons for lineal mouldings and was wondering how some or most people price it. We have our method but who's to say if it fits in the industry standard?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor L:
Setup charge - we have one for basic ($65 – five-head molder) and use an add-on for difficult setups. This covers the time and test material.

Lineal foot charge - the only time we vary this is for very heavy cuts (bar rail) where we have to slow the feed rate. If the customer wants a lot of molding and doesn’t like to see the setup charge, bury it in the lineal foot price and stipulate a minimum run. (All costs must be covered!) Material cost is a separate issue and will depend on expected yields. The killer here is when the customer demands no sap or wants all clear matched long boards in a lumber that is only available in short lengths with a high rate of defect (character!)! So there must be a good deal of experience on the part of the estimator or he must consult with people in the shop that have used the material and the PIA setups.

Profile grinding to customer's requirements - a basic cost to cut, balance, template and set up the grinder, plus a price per lineal inch of knife based on the size of the bar stock required. There will be occasions when there is a very difficult grind requiring changing of the grinding wheel face (4mm, 2mm or V) deep nearly straight in cuts, difficult blends, copes, etc. Even with CNC templating, some of these will remain time consuming and require money to cover their costs. You can't use averages or you will get the difficult jobs and someone else will do the quick buck jobs!

From contributor J:
Contributor L sounds very experienced, and he is really accurate about the pricing. I also make a lot of moulding on a 5 head moulder. To estimate, I like to price the lumber first, making sure there is 25% more footage than actually required (for the waste factor). I take the actual cost of the material and break it down to see what it costs per inch, like the way contributor L prices the knives. If the blanks cost 1.50 per lft, I add a 118% markup + setup = $100.00. And knife cost, which I calculate by the inch also.

From contributor L:

I should add that I've got an old HP 12C calculator that I've programmed so all I have to enter is the $/bd ft material cost and the width of the molding. Instantly I've got the $/LF. To that I add the variables. I've got the same thing in an Excel spreadsheet with cells linked to my quote form. Quick and easy with all costs covered. (I hope!) The custom molding business has been good to us. Not big bucks but consistent decent return. The curved moldings yield a better return, have a slightly higher risk of failure, and measurement problems and time with customer add to cost.