Charging for Trim Work

      Pricing advice for a cabinetmaker looking into residential trim installation work. August 31, 2009

I'm thinking of starting to do trim work again as well as cabinets. I've been doing cabinets only but it seems like this slow-down is here to stay for a while. I am curious what others charge for trimwork (paintgrade)? Previously I was always working for someone else and getting paid by the hour for this type work. Do you find it better to charge by the foot? By the hour? Base, crown, doors/windows? Please include your general location also.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor A:
If you are good at what you do, then I believe that by the foot is almost better for the installer for 90% of what we do. We have a base foot price plus add-ons for heights over 8", $xx for each cope/miter, and fixed dollar amounts for setting interior doors, and I also include a DJF line item. I'm located in SW Florida.

From contributor B:
Basic, stool, base, doors, .40 per qrft
2000 square ft house = $800

For this you are also expected to do lock out (install all door hardware), base to cabinets , make the exterior doors work (installed by the framer) and lock correctly. That is life in the "spec" and volume builder world.

From the original questioner:
How can you afford to charge for doors by the square footage of a house? Some may have 10 doors, some may have 20 w/same square footage.
40 cents sounds low to me.

From contributor C:
Like you, I am a cabinet guy, but occassionally, a client will ask me to trim out a room while I'm on site doing install. My rule of thumb is material (with markup) and labor at 70% of my shop rate. Not the cheapest in town, but my clients know that up front. As a recent example, 120 l.f. of 4" curtis crown for $464.00.

From contributor D:
I`m located in CT and we do cabinets and some trim as fill-in work and here are our prices:
Windows: casing with stool,$95.00 each
Doors: pre-hang, casing both sides and hardware, $135.00 each.
Baseboard with shoe: $3.50 lf.
Crown up to 7-1/2": $7.50 lf.

From contributor E:
I'm a millwork contractor from the Northeast. 98% of my work is large commercial trim ups. I rarely touch anything residential anymore. When I am bidding on a project I base my pricing on paint grade and stain grade (which is slightly higher) sampling. However, there are a lot of factors that can change the pricing depending on architectural specs and if job is AWI standards.

Base Paint grade 2.50 lft / Stain 3.00 lft
Casing Paint 2.00 lft / Stain 2.75 lft
Crown 5.00 - 7.00 lft depending on size of crown.
Standard Site built 3'0 Jamb w/Sidelight or Transom stain grade, cased 2 side 400.00-600.00 / door install BO
Window sill w/apron on drywall cased opening 2' w-4' w 30.00 ea, 4'-6' 50.00 ea

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