I'd like to vet an idea that came to me recently. I'm posting here,
because I know there are many professionals like myself, who read or
search in this group from time to time.
I have a friend and former employer who is semi-retired from a
management career in furniture production. I turn to him for help with
estimates because when he works now, that is what he does -- for a
large millwork shop in my area.
It occurred to me that this is a professional service we could offer,
over the web, to other professional woodworkers who are either
struggling with the problem of estimating, or would like to get a
reality check against their own process.
I'm aware, of course, that there is a tremendous variety in both the
ways that people do things and the rates they charge. I think,however,
that millwork and cabinets lend themselves more to standardization
than some other things. Such a service would need to include
telephone consultations about process and technical capacity.
Adjusting for varying labor charges would be the easy part.
Two things prompt me to explore this. First, I've become aware how
helpful an outside appraisal can be in the struggle to get paid a fair
rate for what I do. On a small job, I'v always found it fairly easy to
take a risk, because it's a small risk. If I lose a day here or there
it doesn't kill me. On larger jobs, though, unless I can get paid by
the hour, relying on my own estimate is both seductive and a sure way
to get screwed.
Second, I'm looking to find a way out of woodworking. Between us, my
friend and I have over 80 years experience in the field. If we could
put it to work in other ways, we could stay involved but life would be
easier for us as we get older.
What would we charge? Probably start at $75 and increase with the
complexity of the project.
What kind of feedback am I looking for? Is this a service that would
appeal to other professionals? What would you be willing to pay for
it? What would you add to it?
You can see some of my own work at
If you want to email me directly put service1 in the subject line to
get by my filter.