Unit Pricing for Production Trim Carpentry

      Pros discuss the ballpark price of trimming production homes, and throw a tip or two for making time on the job. November 19, 2005

I'm a self-employed finish carpenter in Hawaii. I am pricing a job consisting of a 104 unit tract of townhomes, with four basic floor plans. I would be doing two units a week, for one year. The casing is 2-1/4 colonial, with no wrap on the windows, only sills. There would be no radiused drywall corners, no crown on the uppers, and postformed tops. The homes have 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and average kitchen. Would $1.20/sf. be a fair price to charge? Does anyone have any other advice?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor A:
From the information you given I'd say go for it. I get approximately the same here in NY. The bonus for you is that windows are only stool and apron. With two units a week, you’d better hire a helper or two. Check into some production tips also to speed things along. If you have to cut all of the casing, make a tick mark on the wall, at 83" for example, and stand all the legs up against a wall. Then mark all your rights and lefts. For all the head pieces, make up a board with all of the different door sizes on it, for example 2/4, 2/6 etc. This may speed things up a bit for you. Another suggestion would be to attach casing to one side of door before you install it. Then install door, shim from backside, then trim.

From contributor B:
Considering baseboards, doors, window stools, kitchen cabinets, kitchen counter tops, 2 bathroom vanities, that charge sounds low for Nashville, TN much less for Hawaii or NY

From contributor C:
I agree with contributor B. Hire two helpers and add $1.00 p/f. By the time you guys do 3-4 houses you’ll be flying and possibly finish ahead of schedule which obviously means more profit for you. But definitely price it up! An oak tread costs me $6.00 to make and I can get $60.00 for it in MA.

From contributor D:
I agree with contributor A. That’s how I do it and I average right at 13.5 min. per interior door.

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