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Thread: Pricing question

  1. #1

    Pricing question

    Nora kitchen 2d.jpg

    I'm putting a bid in on this kitchen. This will be the 4th full kitchen I've ever done but the first that isn't for family or a friends so it's actually for a fee. The problem is figuring out what that fee should be. the short leg is 143 inches and the long leg is 174 inches with a 6 foot bar in the middle (4 drawers and 3 doors are in the bar). There's 22 doors, 11 drawers overall and 6 pullout drawers in the pantry. They did not want a lazy susan in the corner. I actually listed every single part to be cut out based on the Sketchup drawing (yep that took a while) and there is 360 pieces of wood to produce total (less than I thought there would be actually). Material cost without the corbels and the legs (customer is providing) comes out to be right at 2K dollars including drawer and door hardware but not including pulls or knobs. I'm of the opinion that it will take about 200 hours with the tools I have to produce this kitchen and I'm proposing $21 an hour shop time for the bid which comes to $4,200 labor. Remember I'm not in an area of rich folks by any stretch but also don't want to give up my shop time for peanuts - does this sound like a reasonable number to the folks that actually do this for a living for real? I know there are some truly gifted folks on here that could produce some much more elaborate work for a lot more money but the market for this job is modest to say the least. Oak faces, UV ply insides.
    Last edited by Rick Alexander; 10-20-2017 at 2:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Elizabeth City, NC
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    190
    Rick, I cannot help with pricing, but you might want to the name of the area you live.
    There is going to be a wide variation in pricing on location alone.
    I am not saying go kill all the stupid people......
    I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

  3. #3
    I too operate in a rural area and (just my personal opinion) but I think your numbers are pretty low. I wouldnt say horribly low, but pretty low.

    $21/Hr can in no way shape or form cover the cost of your shop and yourself (a salary), consumables, sand paper, glue, fasteners, etc. Beyond that if your just one man I think 200 hours is a major undershot. You dont say whether your feeding this unfinshed or finished. If you are doing the finishing I will hire you tomorrow if you can single handedly blow this kitchen out in 200 hours. If you can, in a well equipped shop, cnc, you'd be knocking out one of these every two to three weeks.. alone.

    Dont underbid yourself. 6400.00 is a very small kitchen. And of course these number are all with no installation right?

    Id personally easily double your $21 number and you'll probably still beat the home center.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  4. #4
    Well - yes I guess that does matter doesn't it. I live in the outskirts of the Atlanta Area. The houses in this neighborhood where the kitchen is I would guess are in the 240's range - older neighborhood but pretty nice area with no really large houses in the neighborhood. Oak is still king for cabinet faces here.

  5. #5
    I do this part time so I've never actually calculated the total hours on a kitchen like this - but I know it's north of 200 hours. Heck I've spent north of 200 hours on a bedroom suite for my grandkids which I consider a smaller job. I won't do the tear-out or wall prep but I will install the boxes. How many hours do you estimate on this one - without taking too much of your time for accuracy - just a rough number?

    The biggest one I ever did was for a contractor friend that we traded out work for (he remodeled my house / I built his kitchen) and I felt I got a good deal out of that but it did take some 5 months total to complete at my time schedule. That one was every bit of 2 x's the size of this one however. I don't have to make a living out of this but it is a tremendous amount of work and my time is valuable to me. I'm figuring with my shop time available I'll finish in about 12 weeks total and the customer knows this. I'm nearing retirement from my regular job (Chemist for CDC) and want to do some cabinet work on the side after retirement - then I'll be much faster for sure. I've got to get this pricing stuff figured out if I'm going to do that then however but I'll never have to make a living at this - thank god - just play money.
    Last edited by Rick Alexander; 10-20-2017 at 2:46 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Location
    Boston
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    1,548
    If you have some time go by HD and price out cabinets based on your drawing. It may help you price out your job.
    Don

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Jarvie View Post
    If you have some time go by HD and price out cabinets based on your drawing. It may help you price out your job.
    I dont mean any offense by this but if you in any way, shape, or form, try to derive your pricing for locally built, hand crafted, cabinets (even if your going to build to big box low quality standards) you are doomed. There is simply no way you will compete with those numbers in a modest shop at even 1/3 of the 21/hr number.

    Even considering looking at the home center for a reference its a walk away.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Alexander View Post
    I won't do the tear-out or wall prep but I will install the boxes
    Yikes. I thought your number was cabinet fab only and install by others and hoped the price was for "finished on site".

    Go with your gut I guess. We are 3 guys, no install, CNC, and I would be calling your 200 hours close with finishing. I know the drawing isnt complete but there are finished paneled ends on all cabs, assuming sink gap as well, and so on.

    On the quick read it would seem your delivering a kitchen at a far higher level than your billing for.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    mid-coast Maine and deep space
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    Yikes. I thought your number was cabinet fab only and install by others and hoped the price was for "finished on site".

    Go with your gut I guess. We are 3 guys, no install, CNC, and I would be calling your 200 hours close with finishing. I know the drawing isnt complete but there are finished paneled ends on all cabs, assuming sink gap as well, and so on.

    On the quick read it would seem your delivering a kitchen at a far higher level than your billing for.

    This is my take too. Delivery and installing by yourself will be more work that your labor budget allows. Without "install tools" for a one man show, e.g. a cabinet lift, a laser, you could be looking at 5 days possibly 6 days with no helper. If you design this to be built in group components that can be installed in runs rather than 1 or 2 cabinets at a time you might ease up on the install labor but that work still needs to be done in the shop. It could take the better part of a day just to put on the knobs and pulls and adjust the doors after install. Speaking of knobs and pulls, are you specifying that those are to be provided by the HO?

    Attaching corbels and legs that you aren't providing means that you will likely be winging the install of those in the field. Appliance panels? Could be 30 minutes, could be 4 hours (each) depending on the brand & models. Some companies have this figured all out - others - not so much.

    Counter tops? Vented range hood? Are those potentially on your to do lists - "while you are here"?

    Finishing too could be a bust depending on your level of prep work.

    If you just want the work go with your numbers but shake off the idea that your time is valuable. You are working for the joy of the project. Sadly your client's won't appreciate your sacrifice. Next time you will be more savvy on all counts - process and value. Having said all that - adding another $ 2,000.00 to the project still seems like a bargain to me.

    I'm not trying to discourage you, rather boost your confidence that once you start, this will all be worth while.
    Last edited by Sam Murdoch; 10-20-2017 at 6:39 PM.
    "... for when we become in heart completely poor, we at once are the treasurers & disbursers of enormous riches."
    WQJudge

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Jarvie View Post
    If you have some time go by HD and price out cabinets based on your drawing. It may help you price out your job.
    I agree with this. It won't give you a real answer, but it will give you some guidance as to a price floor for the area (since you are building custom, you should be well above that floor). Last time I priced out a full height pantry style cabinet (i.e. the one cabinet next to the fridge), it was over $1,000 at Home Depot (this had 4 or 5 pull out shelves). At a mid range cabinet grade, I'd guess the design you have there would run $3,500-$5,000 at Home Depot WITHOUT INSTALLATION.

    Raise your price.

  11. #11
    There is a rule of thumb I have used which is hard material costs x3= total bid, plus installation. This would be for a basic job, not highly elaborate. Your estimate is in that ballpark. Of course I would not formulate a hard bid using this rough rule of thumb, instead I always used it as a secondary check.

    Also, make sure hard cost includes little stuff like consumable shop materials you will use specific to this job, glue, fasteners, shelf pins, finishing supplies.

    I'd have to dig around to lay my hands on it, but I recall a lineal foot unit price for kitchen cabinetry that you could use as a gut check also.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    There is a rule of thumb I have used which is hard material costs x3= total bid, plus installation. This would be for a basic job, not highly elaborate.

    Ive heard this for 30 years in the trade. It use to be double your material cost and your doing good. This is an extremely flawed business philosophy. Your material costs have absolutely NOTHING to do with your final price. This is a misguided philosophy that barely applies to deck building in todays world. Your final price should be made up from your actual material costs, your labor costs, your overhead costs, and your profit margin.

    Whether you are talking about basic or elaborate has zero relevance. In even a basic kitchen, hinge and drawer slide selection, carcass material, face and back species, can vary wildly while having absolutely nothing to do with your construction costs. Say you price the same kitchen with Blum undermounts and Blum soft close hinges. The same kitchen uses import undermounts and hinges. Slides and hinges in an average kitchen with a lot of pullouts can be $1500 easy. Your customer is willing to roll the dice on imports? Way less. But your labor costs remain the same. So your material cost drop, but your labor stays the same, but you were foolish enough you use a material cost multiplier for your price so not only did you reduce your material cost to the cheaper import slides and hinges... but you ALSO cut your labor to install the slides and hinges that take the SAME amount of labor as the higher cost hardware? Makes no sense. Lower grades of carcass material? Your construction costs remain the same (may go up for headache).

    The real issue is that the cheaper options may cause you more headache with call backs and customer complaints yet you used a cost of material multiplier to reduce your cost and shoot yourself in the foot.

    Your labor costs are the same for clear coat oak, maple, maybe even cherry, but your material costs vary wildly. Why would material costs factor into your labor costs? Your clear coat costs for all of them are the same? So you price a clear maple kitchen with a cost of material factor and the other guy prices it at the actual cost of the clear coat and you lose the job? Not good business.

    Price your work based on the actual costs. Do the math. Dont rely on some materials X-X factor.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  13. #13
    Mark,
    Thank you for the impassioned lecture. Perhaps you missed the sentence in my post right after the one you quoted - "Of course I would not formulate a hard bid using this rough rule of thumb, instead I always used it as a secondary check." I think I also refer to this guideline as a "gut check".

    Believe me, I have some experience with cost accounting. What you're promoting is absolutely appropriate in a business situation where comprehensive cost accounting principles can be utilized i.e where overhead costs are known, profit margins goals are established, preferably in the context of a detailed operating and cash flow budget, capitalized equipment costs have been scheduled and amortized into overhead, a factor for consumable shop supplies has been established, working capital and cost of receivable carry has been budgeted, some bidding experience has created a sense of the local market pricing conditions, etc, etc.

    However, the OP makes it clear that he is doing this on the side and does not have any of that data (yet). This would be his first arm's length job so you have to recognize that he has limited data, In fact, the only real data he has that he can use is the hard direct cost of the materials required for this job. What I hear him seeking is a way to put a stake in the ground where he won't get hurt. Luckily he doesn't have the risk of employee costs, rent or fixed overhead specific to his shop, so for these reasons I still say using a crude multiple of his material costs as a "secondary" gut check at this stage in his endeavor is appropriate. If he evolves into a going concern business, that's a different story.
    Last edited by Edwin Santos; 10-20-2017 at 8:37 PM.

  14. #14
    Ballpark guess looking at the drawing. Around $13-15k with no finishing or install. About 120 hours to build.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    42,323
    I also think you are short-changing for how you may be looking at pricing this. Your time is worth a lot more than the rate you propose for sure and this is custom cabinetry work where you are designing, building, finishing and installing to spec. I think that Martin's dollar range is more in tune with the market for that, even if you require more time because you're a single, part-time operator.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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