When portable sawing, I charge $0.20 per bf. I'm wondering what a fair offset in price might be for a mill that stays in one place, where customers bring logs to the mill.
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
500 brd ft x .20 = $100 - $20 blade sounds fair if I was your kind neighbor. You have a machine most people don't. 40-60 an hour unless you have a manual mill. I have a mill I built myself - hydraulic operated, but no log handling. I can cut 750 brd ft in eight hours max. The handling of the cut wood is wear on me. Even though I don't sell my wood, if I was to charge, it would be $45/hr or .46 cents/brd ft.
I get $40 an hour. Charging by the foot is okay if you always have nice logs. When you get small, crooked logs, you will spend a lot of time for not much money if you saw by the foot.
Whenever possible, we ask the customer to leave the trailer with the logs still on it and we take care of getting the logs unloaded, turned into lumber and back onto their trailer.
As a practice, we never let a customer handle anything around the log yard or in the mill house. We’d like it if kids and pets stay in the truck and the adults stay well back while we are handling the material. If we’re sawing and someone drops in and steps inside the sawshed, we shut everything down.
If I am sawing at my shop, I have to deal with the sawdust, slabs and trimmings. If at their site, they have to deal with it or pay me more to clean up for them. It balances out.
At my shop, customers are allowed to watch but can't be closer to the mill than the imaginary line (crack in the slab) unless I ask them for input.
At their site, customers are asked to sign a hold harmless and for extra measure, asked to stay away from the mill and out of the way of my offbearer - I always bring my cousin/junior partner to offbear unless the customer is a personal friend that I am totally comfortable with.
"It is understood by the Customer that log handling and cutting may be hazardous. Customer shall be responsible for conduct of his/her helpers and observers and agrees to hold Sawyer and the sawmill manufacturer harmless for any injury or damage whatsoever to helpers or observers arising out of operation of the mill and the handling of logs and lumber. It shall be Customer’s duty and obligation to keep all children and observers out of the work area. Customer represents that he is the owner of the logs and/or has the authority to enter into this Agreement on behalf of all interested parties."
This may or may not hold up in court but certainly acts as a deterrent against suit.