how to price labor for stair rail instal
I am about to bid on a job installing 120 LF. of cherry bending rail for the arc’d stair and balcony of a high end home. My experience with this exact installation is very limited but I am confident I can complete it with quality. However I am struggling with how long it may take to complete the job and therefore how to bid the job at aprice that will be fair to me as well as the homeowner. If any one has ideas or suggestions I would sure appreciate it. thanks
Does it have to be a bid? We are working on a curved rail right now... time and materials. I told the owner it would take a bunch of time and cost a lot, and that I would do it by the hour. First T&M job over $1000 in quite a while, but to do it fixed price I'd have to pad it too much. Unless you do curved rail all the time and can bid reliably, you're going to be very lucky to bid accurately... so I wouldn't.
Depends on a few things, but I generally price labor for bent stair rail at $20 a foot (final installed length, not before install). Additional charges, of course, for joinery to newel posts, goosenecks, etc., and a very tight radius might be a factor. T&M may be a good idea if your client is alright with it, bent rail goes a lot quicker after the third or fourth time and isn't a real money maker even at $20 a foot if you struggle.
Your $20 per foot price doesn't make any sense, especially if the rail is short. Let's say it's only ten feet long. That's $200 total. I don't know about you, but I have to charge about $70 per hour to cover my rate and overhead. That leaves me with a bit less then three hours to do the work. That means I gotta move really fast! Boy-howdee, I just can't do that any more. Actually, I never could..... the glue won't even dry that fast.
You can make that argument for any situation. Installing two roof rafters is a loosing proposition if you charge the same per piece as you would a whole roof. A whole roof and you achieve economies of scale. Same thing with ten feet of bent rail, which by itself is not a job worth doing. 120 feet is a different story, and $2,400 for bent rail with additional charges for the installation of additional stair parts would leave me a nice profit over my hourly labor and overhead expectations. But as I said, bent stair rail goes quickly after you've done a few and if you're a good finish carpenter. If you don't think you can make good money at it, well, maybe that says something.
Your pricing makes sense to me, I,m kind of thinking of $30 a foot + fee for each newel and I also need to install the finished treads. the customer is purchasing all material though. This is foyer with a circular stair on your right and left as you walk into the house. they lead up to a balcony or bridge over the great room that also has a curved hand rail on both sides. The baluster system is actually a custom built iron system that has already been installed according to homeowner. I am going to job site tomorrow. I am worried how I am going to clamp the bending rail over the center of the balustrade if the iron balustrade is already installed? what do you think, Juan?
About a thousand installs later, maybe half of them curved, I figure by the day. Full days only, 8 hours in a day. If it's 9 I'll call it one. If it's 10, it's 2.
If this is your first crack at it, figure out how long YOU THINK it will take, then double it.