The drawings are submitted, I give it time, a watched pot never boils.
Finally there’s something other than tool promotions in my inbox ”Have just taken a look at these now – LOVE the second style in particular and love the configuration of drawers/hanging space inside.”
YES! This is encouraging. The way we left it after the meeting was I would provide drawings for this project, see how they felt about it and then work out a price, too many variables otherwise. I wouldn’t normally do it this way, but in this instance it made sense.
Now they want to know how much it’s going to cost. It’s so much easier to work out a price when you’re looking at a drawing, you can see how many pieces are going to come out of a plank, how many panels, shelves, tops, bottoms out of a sheet. Hinges, knobs, drawer runners, rails. They all add up. Make a list, grab the telephone. Find out who’s got what and how much they are charging.
It looks like there’s 14 cu ft of sapele in this job – that’s 168 bd ft. Whether that’s a lot or not isn’t important, according to the drawing, that’s what it needs. But I don’t just want any old sapele. I don’t want the orangey crap, it needs to be the right colour to match the veneered sheets that are going into it. I have the telephone conversation with my local Timber Suppliers, they have it in 4/4, 8/4, 12/4 and 16/6 – he assures me that it’s dark apart from the 2”, which is more orangey than the inch. €44 + Vat a cube, that’s $4.51 a bd ft in American money.
If only Brooks hadn’t shut down, a builders merchant that carried hardwoods for a lot less, just up the road… I make another telephone call, only thing is, this place is another 40 miles away, let’s see if any savings can justify the extra time getting there and diesel. The guy I’m talking to assures me that it’s all dark and gives me the trade rate of €30.38 + Vat per cube, or $3.11 a bd ft. It’s a no brainer – for the sake of another hour and half in the van and a tenners worth of diesel, I can save €235/$310. That’s only the solid, I nearly fall off the chair after I get thru speaking to the clowns at one place about the bevelled mirrors. I spend about an hour on the phone, it’s worth it though. By going here and going there, I can bring the cost of materials down to around €2250 – 3000 of your American dollars – there’s leeway in that in case of negotiations.
By now, my spreadsheet is filling up. One blank space stares out at me. Labour. This is an unknown quantity. I mentioned earlier that this is an old Estate House. Huge, magnificent. I have a problem with people who base the cost of a job on the perceived wealth of the clients. It’s tempting to bump the cost up, but I resist. If this job comes to fruition, I will be glad of the the work. I also appreciate that this has come from a client I respect, I’m also thinking that it would be good to be in there, for future work, and there could well be a lot of that.
Back to labour. Still an unknown quantity. It comes down to working out how much can be done in a day, the doors, the drawers, carcases, crown, finishing, fitting. It’s going to take this long to do if the Gods are smiling, at this much an hour, I add in a field for sundries/workshop/diesel and click autosum.
Compose another email, hit send. It’s out of my hands now…
The title of the next instalment will either be ‘Failure to launch’ or ‘Materials’, and I don’t know when it’s coming.
-- Do or do not, there is no try