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Thread: Kitchen Cabinet Cost per Lineal Foot?

  1. #1
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    Kitchen Cabinet Cost per Lineal Foot?

    Hi,

    I was reading a thread today about the value of a kitchen cabinet installation…

    Several posts in that thread mentioned lineal foot prices for Cabinet installation. I assume that would include the base cabinet in the upper cabinets above it (and not the counter top). But I don’t know!

    I seem to recall the price of $300 per lineal foot as being considered extremely cheap. Is this truly the case? I assume that is for custom cabinets of some type. As compared to the box store type of cabinet.

    I’m really curious about what these costs represent. Would cabinets made from plywood boxes, with solid doors and drawer fronts command more than $300 per lineal foot? I assume so, because in the other thread I read people seemed to laugh at the $300 Per lineal price (my impression right or wrong ).

    I know now the answer is “ it depends”. But in the general sense, for plywood cabinets faced with basic wood like cherry, red oak or ash, maybe maple, what would one expect to pay?

    Is there a general basic charge per lineal foot, on top of which the cost of exotic materials would be added?

    I suppose this is just intellectual curiosity, I build my own cabinets and what it costs other people to install them doesn’t really matter to me. But I’m really curious about it! I only have two houses to worry about anyway…

    i just feel feel like I need educated!

    Bill
    Too much to do...Not enough time...life is too short!

  2. #2
    I'm about $700/ft for bases, and about $350 for wall cabinets. Those are quick and dirty numbers that don't include finishing or installation, and can end up wildly different depending on options and specie.

    I charge per foot for the different sized cabinet. That's just the cabinet and the standard amount of shelves. Everything adds something. Door, drawer, paneled end, finished end, then an upgrade percentage depending on the specie, which is weighed out by yield, cost, and workability of the specie.

  3. #3
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    Never understood the per foot pricing thing...

    As long as we’ve been in the cabinet business (early 70’s) we’ve priced as a job. I price the boxes, guts (drawers and trays, any specialty hardware like euro garbage, special corners, etc) doors and fronts, finishing panels, slides, hinges, decorative hardware, any lighting, trim, etc.

    Then there is materials and style... is it a melamine boxed frameless? Or wood face frame (specie makes a huge cost difference) or hybrid? Stained and clear coat or solid colour/paint grade?

    So many options, per foot price is meaningless.
    Andrew J. Coholic

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew J. Coholic View Post
    Never understood the per foot pricing thing...

    As long as we’ve been in the cabinet business (early 70’s) we’ve priced as a job. I price the boxes, guts (drawers and trays, any specialty hardware like euro garbage, special corners, etc) doors and fronts, finishing panels, slides, hinges, decorative hardware, any lighting, trim, etc.

    Then there is materials and style... is it a melamine boxed frameless? Or wood face frame (specie makes a huge cost difference) or hybrid? Stained and clear coat or solid colour/paint grade?

    So many options, per foot price is meaningless.
    The only thing that 'per foot' pricing could possibly do is provide a ball park number to weed out people that don't want to spend what it cost to remodel a kitchen so you don't waste time working on a real quote.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Milito View Post
    The only thing that 'per foot' pricing could possibly do is provide a ball park number to weed out people that don't want to spend what it cost to remodel a kitchen so you don't waste time working on a real quote.
    I understand that, but if you’ve been in the business a while you should be able to estimate within several grand just by seeing the space and getting an idea what they are after. Guesstimate I guess would be more accurate. I get a pretty good feel for people after 20+ yrs at the helm of our business, and can usually gauge how serious people are by talking initially to them. We don’t get every job, but I feel if they are shopping around, they should have a reasonably accurate estimate (without going into great detail) to compare to the other shops.

    I’ve worked out the per foot price on several completed kitchens we’ve made ( just for fun) and they are all over the place. Too broad a spread for me to use as an estimate in my case. On the kitchen were currently just completing, that would be about $650/ft not including the counters. But we’ve been twice that, and cheaper too.

    In my case sometimes its as simple as asking what their budget is... if in my head its already much lower than what I think it will cost, I turn down the opportunity or just say we cannot accommodate the schedule, etc.
    Andrew J. Coholic

  6. #6
    I price by the foot... In commercial bidding by the foot is common..
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    Last edited by jack duren; 12-03-2017 at 3:33 PM.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the replies guys!

    I posted this question because until I read, in a recent thread, about pricing cabinets per lineal foot, it had not occurred to me that one would do that. But it seemed like it could be a logical approach.

    I mean, if one were to analyze costs involved with producing cabinets, it seems like the labor would be about the same regardless if low or high end materials were used. And the board feet of materials would be about the same. And so on. Granted the number of drawers and doors would differ in each case. And hardware costs could differ significantly. But baselines could be established it appears.

    Anyway, none of this matters to me because I am never going to be doing any of this as a way to make money. Being retired and doing what I like as a hobby suits me perfectly.

    My impression from the input above is, if one were to use a dollars per lineal foot number, that $500 per lineal foot of cabinets (upper and lower) installed would be a very low end installation. I do understand the amount of generalization included in such a statement!

    Glad my labor is free and I have a nice amount of kiln dried ash that I harvested from a tree on my property, for a net cost per board foot that many would consider as being free!

    Thanks again for your input!

    Bill
    Too much to do...Not enough time...life is too short!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Space View Post
    Thanks for the replies guys!

    I posted this question because until I read, in a recent thread, about pricing cabinets per lineal foot, it had not occurred to me that one would do that. But it seemed like it could be a logical approach.

    I mean, if one were to analyze costs involved with producing cabinets, it seems like the labor would be about the same regardless if low or high end materials were used. And the board feet of materials would be about the same. And so on. Granted the number of drawers and doors would differ in each case. And hardware costs could differ significantly. But baselines could be established it appears.

    Anyway, none of this matters to me because I am never going to be doing any of this as a way to make money. Being retired and doing what I like as a hobby suits me perfectly.

    My impression from the input above is, if one were to use a dollars per lineal foot number, that $500 per lineal foot of cabinets (upper and lower) installed would be a very low end installation. I do understand the amount of generalization included in such a statement!

    Glad my labor is free and I have a nice amount of kiln dried ash that I harvested from a tree on my property, for a net cost per board foot that many would consider as being free!

    Thanks again for your input!

    Bill
    This would all depend on the what and where your bidding on and the price...Every cabinet or commercial has it's way of bidding. A successful shop doen't care if anyone approves of there method of bidding, only that it is profitable. Commercial shops bid and must be in the middle between 1-10. If your not between 3-7 your already out..

    Different set of rules and equipment for commercial and residential...

  9. #9
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    I asked a friend over 20 years ago, who did cabinets as a second job, what he charged. I was interested because I had recently finished my own kitchen. He said he did about one kitchen a month, and charged $200 a foot for them. That seemed to me at the time as pretty cheap, and a lot of work for a side job, so he explained how he did it.

    He used all Red Oak, no particle board. When I asked why not, he said it was too heavy for one man. He used plywood cases, face frame construction, standard hinges, and only a few stains to choose from, shot with polyurethane finish. Insides were unfinished. He had only two sets of shaper cutters to choose from, and made raised panel traditional style doors. They looked good, and were much better made than the ready to buy cabinets at the home centers.

    His price did not include installation (had an installer available), or counter tops. He had stacks of pre-made rails, stiles, and door parts which he could cut to needed size quickly which he made in his spare time. His 16 year old son did some of this work for him. I got some lumber through him at the local hardwood supplier, at a discount. This work was all done in his garage.

    He always seemed to have work. He made money at it because he standardized with two styles of cabinets in only a few colors of stain. Like I said, nice cabinets, but absolutely no bells or whistles.

    Like I said, it was over 20 years ago.
    Last edited by Rick Potter; 12-04-2017 at 5:41 AM.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jack duren View Post

    Different set of rules and equipment for commercial and residential...
    This has been my experience also on the commercial side. There is far less in the way of variables when compared to residential. Unless there is a project spec that calls out for something exotic, you can safely assume the requirements will be standard dimensions for uppers and lowers, p-lam (cabinets and countertops), euro hinges, wire pulls, full extension side mount slides and shelves/pins in the cabinets. Especially in medical and standard office installations. All the architect ever cares about is the p-lam selections. When you know those are the conditions, you can price by the foot with a few disclaimers, like Jack probably does.

    I've heard of sophisticated residential contractors who have a sales process that is rather like "building" a car purchase online where you start with the base model and add options, each at a cost, and sometimes deduct features for credit also. Naturally, the final price comes only after a meeting or two where all these options are selected and finalized. The starting point could be on a price/foot guideline and modified from there. I guess there are lots of ways to skin the cat.

    I'm not sure any of this answers what the OP was seeking. If you're doing it for yourself for fun, satisfaction, personal savings, then it's a radically different perspective altogether from a business owner doing it professionally.
    Last edited by Edwin Santos; 12-04-2017 at 1:40 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Santos View Post
    I've heard of sophisticated residential contractors who have a sales process that is rather like "building" a car purchase online where you start with the base model and add options, each at a cost, and sometimes deduct features for credit also. Naturally, the final price comes only after a meeting or two where all these options are selected and finalized. The starting point could be on a price/foot guideline and modified from there. I guess there are lots of ways to skin the cat.

    That's pretty much how I do it. Each cabinet comes out of my software with a number. From there I just fill in cells in a spreadsheet to get my final price for that cabinet and it totals up the cost of that cabinet, and then all of the cabinets combined. It's been modified and tuned a zillion times over to get it dialed in, or make things easier. A per foot is just getting you in the ballpark, and like Andrew said you can usually walk into a room and know it'll be X amount give or take.

    I try not to get put on the spot and spit out a number though. I hate being way off, and that happens. I usually say "Let me get back to you" Then my number is dead on for what is drawn. If the price changes, that's because something changed.

    I used to just clump everything together, but most of my builders want a break down of what each individual room costs. Sometimes if there's actually a budget involved, they'll want separate pricing of something specific that they know will be expensive and their client might not have the funds. Like doing a $1800 curved hood enclosure, vs a $600 square box for the hood liner. Most of the time they want things broken down by room. Not a big deal with a few rooms. A small pain in the rear when there's close to 20 rooms with cabinets in them on a really big project.


    I envy the commercial world as a business owner. It's a bit more cut throat, but a whole lot more straight forward. I've got nothing to base this on, but I feel like the margins are way better. You certainly can get away with far less equipment. The nicest shops/buildings around here are commercial. With a few exceptions, most of the residential are dirty, poorly lit, run down buildings.
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  12. #12
    Commercial...Bidding comes and goes on a fax machine. Now disks or downloads are available for inspection and bidding on the net. A job worth serious bidding you'll have prints made. I think they were $10 a sheet. Detail,detail,details...

    Residential...Your my first bid but I like you. You get the job....Take a personal recorder and record the conversation...

    Word of advise....Never assume anything...........
    Last edited by jack duren; 12-04-2017 at 2:17 PM.

  13. #13
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    The numbers you all post makes me drool.

    The only time my numbers get above $300/LF is with moldings and finish included.

    I know my material is less expensive here, but not to the tune of 100% difference in pricing.


    Everyone here asks: "How much are cabinets?" And I just want to punch myself in the face. "How much is a truck," I reply? And then I have to explain that analogy to them. Even the builders want a LF price. I ballpark, but my pricing is based like Andrew's. Cabinet Vision takes care of it for me because I have every material cost and mark up input into the program.
    -Lud

  14. #14
    It's all in who you work for. I got lucky where some things fell into place where I don't work for broke schmucks like you and I. It was luck that got me in with my first contractor in the area I work, and luck that got me the others. Right place, right time. For every gained opportunity, I've probably missed a thousand though, some because I declined, others because I screwed something up.


    We've got a little kitchen rolling through the shop right now. The smallest kitchen I've done in a long time. 21' of wall, $8,955.11, no finishing or install. It's about as bare bones as you can get with four drawers in the whole kitchen, and no options really. That works out to basically $420/ft for base and upper combined. I didn't figure the oven space, dishwasher, or windows out of that either. Just wall measurements.

    Two kitchens ago was fairly loaded up, nothing crazy, but all paint grade so no expensive lumber. 42.6' of wall, $19,093.61. That is $449/ft and there's 7' of window with no uppers, 4' for a cased opening missing out of that, and a dishwasher. Also no finishing, no installation. Take that other stuff out, that's $614/ft for bases and uppers combined.


    What's going to make you cry Justin, is that's wholesale pricing. If I'm dealing directly with the homeowner, I mark everything up 25% It also costs me $7k a month to keep this beast afloat not including payroll.

    I wish we had a professional forum to discuss things like this. I'd pay for that. The woodweb interface is tiresome. I hadn't taken a look at a per/ft cost in quite some time I guess, and what I previously stated was incorrect and must've been numbers rattling around from looking at some really expensive job I did or had finishing figured in as well. I haven't done much bonkers work in a while. It doesn't take much to wildly skew the numbers. Add a 3' hood that's curved and $1800, or something like walnut where the cost and waste are high and things get thrown outta whack pretty quickly.
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  15. #15
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    IMG_5491.jpgIMG_5492.jpgIMG_5490.jpgIMG_5493.jpgIMG_5494.jpgIMG_5495.jpg

    This kitchen, wine/butler room, and a master bath not pictured were $26,600, installed - not finished. Mitered doors, Blum hardware. I don't remember the lineal footage, but the whole house was over 130LF. The whole house ended up being just over $42k for all cabinets, installed, unfinished. That equals about $310/lineal foot.

    I guess it's all relative, right? I wouldn't get any work around here at anyone's price mentioned.

    IMG_7993.jpg I think I charged this home owner +$500 on their island to do these custom sides. IMG_7991.jpg $1000 for this vent hood. That whole house was beaded inset, distressed, french-mitered doors, and dovetailed drawers. Came out to $450/LF if I remember correctly. The homeowner and I became pretty good friends. He told me the next closet bid to mine was $25k higher - but the company was 6 hours away. That made me sick. No one around here will even attempt the custom work I do - and I think my stuff is just "ok" when I look at the work of some of you.
    Last edited by Justin Ludwig; 12-05-2017 at 1:14 PM.
    -Lud

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