Pricing custom kiln drying services

How to determine what to charge when kiln drying lumber for others. January 3, 2001

We are considering purchasing a DH kiln from Nyle, which will dry up to 4000 bf. Can anyone relate their experience in doing custom drying of other peoplesí lumber? What do you charge per BF and is it a viable source of income?

Forum Responses
I charge .20 to .25 per bf to dry lumber for others. This is for small quantities in the DH kiln. Larger quantities in my steam kiln are a little lower. This includes sticking and unsticking. To plane is extra.

You should also figure in the time to dry, and charge accordingly. For instance, I can dry pine or cedar in about a week, but oak takes 3-4 weeks. On the other hand, the kiln can dry about twice as much hardwood as it can softwood.

I usually suggest that small kilns charge by the day in the kiln rather than by the board foot. If a customer gives you 2000 BF to dry, it will take as long as if he gave you 4000 BF and cost you nearly as much to do. I find most people who dry for others charge more like 35-36 cents.