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View Sparky977's profile

Cabinet Pricing

by Sparky977
posted 05-31-2008 04:28 AM

30 replies so far

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3869 days

#1 posted 05-31-2008 06:20 AM

Ouch, $3-8k really hurts! There’s been a lot of discussion about pricing around here. You might try a search for older conversations. I only give rough estimates by the foot – my bids are based on a bunch of factors, and I’m still working out the formula. You’re in a different part of the country, so the market might be pretty different, but given the info you provided, I’d rough guess around $300-350 a foot.

-- -- --

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3888 days

#2 posted 05-31-2008 06:33 AM

1K + per foot

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 3842 days

#3 posted 05-31-2008 06:40 AM

$150 to 175 per foot and you need to seperate out the crown molding and raised panels, set your base box or cabinet with simple A&C style door and solid drawer fronts with no pulls needed made from oak and 3 coats of sprayed on deft. Painting is an extra, door/drawer pulls, lazy susan corners tall, raised panel different wood types. You can estimate the add’s roughly by taking the material cost difference and multiple by 3. now this is just the boxes, no rough tops, no counter tops no base molding, I do however cover the kicks.

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3888 days

#4 posted 05-31-2008 07:09 AM

motion guide in canada bought one at a time is around 25 bucks a “pop”

you can fit 4 or more guides per foot so thats 100 a foot right off the bat

add the price of each drawer carcass being drawer fronts, backs, bottoms be it melamine, veneer or solids, perhaps the drawer has a carcass and and add on drawer front and all that material and hardware fits into another cabinet…..................and you havent even touched a tool yet, not sanded it or finished each and every drawer or cabinet, not hung the drawer

just the guides are 100 a foot…...............?

my my my my my… much to think about and so little time.

the best lessons are so very expensive. Funny how you can make the same mistake again and again on anothers dime but when its your dime the memory can last a lifetime.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3888 days

#5 posted 05-31-2008 07:13 AM

I forgot… are you joining the drawer parts, do you have to buy iron on tape, do you have to tape it, each part or are you going to dove tail the parts?

How long does one drawer take to make?

How long does it take to sand

to finish

to re-install the hardware

to adjust the hardware

to install the cabinet?

how much are you worth an hour?

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3888 days

#6 posted 05-31-2008 07:17 AM

one thousand dollars a foot…............any less and your compeating against the chinese…...kidding?

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 3842 days

#7 posted 05-31-2008 08:23 AM

peter made an excellent point, the area will dictate the base price. Cabinetmaking is very competive, very, very, very. with time you will come up with standard/common cuts and pieces, you will stop thinking and you will just build. I am sure somebody locally can give you a ballpark number that cabinets go for, just call around…..but don’t be surprised if one or more of these numbers come in little more than what you can get at the big box stores for thier standard box. With building tightening up alittle many of these shops will be putting a very fine tip on thier pencil….

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3835 days

#8 posted 05-31-2008 01:43 PM

If your trying to beat prices of the big box stores on cabinets forget it!!
Your talking custom vs garbage
Read Romans posts!!
Even a Big box store will charge way over 150-175
Think about it. Id you dont know what your talking about, don’t hand out the advise.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Sparky977's profile


59 posts in 3714 days

#9 posted 05-31-2008 04:05 PM

Thank you all so much for the advice! This is definitely a hard lesson learned. Right now, I’ve figured these cabinets are at less than $300 per linear foot. Just another $100 a foot would be amazingly helpful, as this house has 105 feet of cabinets! I know I’m not worth $1K per foot yet, I’m just not at that level yet. But at the same time, I’m not building junk cabinets that anyone could get at Home Depot. So I’m thinking $400-$500 per foot is about right. Now I just need to get the contractor to see it. He is not real bright, to put it bluntly. Much of the problems on this job are because he is trying to handle all the materials and not getting things to me when I need them. That HAS to change. Its impossible to work this way. The hard thing is, I knew all this going in, but I gave in because I didn’t want to push the issue and possibly lose the job. When you have a young family to take care of, its tough to think about losing work, you know? But I just ended up putting myself in a much more difficult position trying to dig out of this mess. Ahhh, the school of hard knocks. . .will I ever graduate?



View Sparky977's profile


59 posts in 3714 days

#10 posted 05-31-2008 04:10 PM

Oh, I just thought of something else. When you guys figure a cost per linear foot, does that include upper and lower cabinets? Or is it per foot of wall cabs and per foot of base cabs?


View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3869 days

#11 posted 05-31-2008 05:37 PM

Sparky, I want to say again: LF pricing is just rough estimate … but to arrive at that estimate, I take LF of base cabs plus LF of wall cabs. Full height cabinets (pantry, etc) are LFx3, so a 30” wide pantry is 7½ feet.

Roman makes some great points about all the details you have to consider, and I think he’s just scraping the surface. There are hundereds or thousands of details in every job.

Also, think about your standards and allow the customer to request (and pay extra for) upgrades. For instance, with drawers … the standard slides around here are those white, vinyl roller, ¾ extension kind. I decided from the start that I wasn’t putting that junk on my cabinets. I found a good, ball bearing, full extension side-mount slide that I can get for about $8 a pair. That affects my pricing a bit, but doesn’t put me out of the ballpark. If someone wants Blumotion or some other really great glide, I am very happy to provide them, but the customer pays for the upgrade. If you want top of the line hardware to be your standard, then you have to charge for it in your standard price, and sell your customers on the added value/price.

I’m also feeding a young family (although the little one in your picture is younger than any of mine!). One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is that I feed them by turning down work just as much as I feed them by taking work. If you take work that doesn’t pay (or worse, costs you money), it’s harder to feed the family than if you don’t take work and have to do some odd jobs to make ends meet. I spent my first year baning my head against a wall trying to get jobs with contractors and meet their pricing – I figured they’d be repeat business and I wouldn’t have to do so much selling. But I realized that the contractor wanted the cabinets to look great until the house was sold, and they didn’t care about quality after the closing date. I was competing with Lowes. I’ve totally shifted my focus to the homeowner. I do more remodels than new builds that way, but then I’m working with someone who cares about the long-term quality and not just the price.

-- -- --

View Harold's profile


310 posts in 3842 days

#12 posted 05-31-2008 05:42 PM

price your bases and uppers seperately..

-- If knowledge is not shared, it is forgotten.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4309 days

#13 posted 05-31-2008 05:55 PM

...I beat the big box store prices lots of the time. No not with the build yourself crap from china, but with many of their midrange packages they tend to be expensive.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3869 days

#14 posted 05-31-2008 06:13 PM

Dennis, you are right. The BORG have dirt cheap stuff, but their prices go up steeply from there. When I know I’m bidding against a box, I remind the client that my price includes crown, toe kicks, filler strips, end panels, trim, installation, etc. Those things are not usually included in the box’s pricing, and can really add a lot to the cost.

What really amazes me is when I go into a ¾ million dollar house and see cheap junk cabinets. They’ll set heavy granite countertops on cabinets with 3/8” paper-coated particle board sides that are held together with hot glue and brads!

-- -- --

View acanthuscarver's profile


268 posts in 3706 days

#15 posted 05-31-2008 07:36 PM


I think to some extent Jarrod is right. I don’t do kitchens often but when I do, I price them exactly the same way I do furniture. I figure all my materials, add in a waste factor, estimate time to do the work and all the other things Roman was pointing out and then add a small percentage for things I forgot plus add something for profit. If you check out other posts concerning pricing, you’ll see that it seems to be the hardest thing for woodworkers to figure out. Hopefully, your 3 – 8k shortage is just shorting your pay and profit and not cash out of your pocket to finish the job. The lesson you learn from working for $4 an hour is still better than being better off paying someone 2k not to do a job.

As to the lesson learned by hating to loose a job because you have a young family, every time I take on a job where I think I really NEED to do the job, I regret it later. The worst ones are when I give in and work for a customer that I just know is going to be a PIA throughout the entire project. Every single time, without exception, I have found it was not worth dealing with that kind of customer because I felt I “needed” the job for whatever reason it was at the time. In short, price it out, give them a price and hope they go for it. You’ve found out what happens when you try to undercut what you “think” is your competition.

Looked over your “project” page. Your work looks very good. Don’t sell yourself short. Good luck and keep up the great work.

-- Chuck Bender, period furniture maker, woodworking instructor

View Sparky977's profile


59 posts in 3714 days

#16 posted 05-31-2008 10:25 PM

Thanks again all. Your input is very helpful. I don’t plan on using a per foot price for charging. I’m just trying to figure out the ballpark I need to be in.


View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3817 days

#17 posted 06-01-2008 01:09 AM

I can feel you pain and most of the jocks around here have been their and done that…with that said mistake at a early career level is bound to happen but this will only toughen the skin…evolution on the job will in deed equal out I can see that your real serious about making it and my advise is to find a real general contractor who looks out for his subs. stay away from the one’s who are always complaning about expensives there only out to get over…if your work is good and your reliable you can make a better than average living may thing work out and may god bless your family…Blkcherry

View woodnut's profile


393 posts in 4046 days

#18 posted 06-01-2008 05:15 AM

Sparky I can fill your pain. I just finished a cabinet job. My error did not come with the pricing of materials or hardware, but with my time. I guess that as I do more cabinet jobs I will have a better understanding of the time involved in the project. I did not use a per foot method just add the meterial, time, shop cost and a profit, but I’d say I was off on the time by at least 40 hours. A lesson I will not forget, better to figure to much time than not enough, I know that I did not help with your question but thought I would let you know that you are not the only one to do this.

-- F.Little

View Luke's profile


2 posts in 3657 days

#19 posted 06-02-2008 08:42 PM

Sparky I can relate,
I am in the middle of a project (kitchen) and being it was my first I totally messed up the estimate on time and everything else for that matter…. The only good thing is I don’t depend on the income I am getting for this project. The only advice I can give for now is: make sure you have everything accounted for on your estimates before you close a deal… I’m learning the hard way!


View Joe Dusel's profile

Joe Dusel

22 posts in 3725 days

#20 posted 06-14-2008 11:53 PM

If I were coming up with a very rough estimate or doing a sanity check on my figures I might do a per foot calculation. Otherwise I run the job through my cabinet design software (eCabinet Systems) to give me an accurate estimate on my materials, then I plug this value into a spreadsheet. To this I add all the other material costs for the job such as finish and glass. My time is estimated per task with every category I can think of from design, to purchasing materials, to panel processing all the way to installation. I have the spreadsheet calculate taxes, profit and markups on materials. I’ve also got a field for milling costs if I outsource parts. The bottom line from the spreadsheet should be fairly accurate if I’ve done my job right. This value can then be bounced against the per-foot cost as a check.


-- Joe,

View Sawdustonmyshoulder's profile


475 posts in 3622 days

#21 posted 06-28-2008 03:46 AM

I know about under pricing. I think I made somewhere between McDonalds fry person and a kid at the grocery store on some of my projects.

I am trying the concept of pricing my work as a price per liner foot, uppers and lowers separate because they are different in the amount of labor it takes to make them, PLUS the materials. I spec the job as a price per foot that gets you a paint grade slab drawer fronts, and paint grade flat panel doors with frameless construction and lock rabbeted drawer construction. This way if the customer wants birch plywood boxes or MDF boxes, no problem. If they want full extension slides or 3/4 slides, no problem. They pay for the materials that they want. Of course, if they want face frames, raised panel doors, special mouldings, columns, dovetail drawer construction, special finishes and techniques, etc. the price goes up by a cost per foot as the labor goes up.

I think if we play games with trying to make money on materials, we run the risk of getting burned. Big time! I want to make money on my time and not materials and think the customer feels that they will have some control over all aspects of the construction of their kitchen. You just need to either keep detail records of material used if you are buying the materials or give your customer a detail on how much materials you need and let me provide.

Let’s hear what you all think. I am totally wacked here? Thanks for you response.

-- The more skilled you are at something, the worse you are at it when someone is watching.

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 3835 days

#22 posted 07-12-2008 07:52 PM

by the sounds of it you want either the customer to buy you the material or sell it to them for your cost? If thats the case don’t quit your day job!
If you go and take your car to be repaired do you think the mechanic is selling you the parts needed at his cost and only charging you for his time doing the repair? Not likly, there is no buisness that ill survive on your math.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View Loren's profile (online now)


10376 posts in 3642 days

#23 posted 07-13-2008 06:33 PM

$1k per foot is a ballsy estimate. Good work if you can get it.
You’ll only get that kind of work from the affluent – who you
should be targeting anyway.

Finish grade or paint grade?

Inset doors or overlay doors?

Face-frame or frameless?

For nice but simples paint-grade work I charged about $400 a foot
for labor, and I marked up my materials within reason. If you double
the price of a $700 pull-out you may raise eyebrows. It’s easier
to double your price on hinges and other small items because if
you buy them properly you’ll get them for a tiny fraction of what people
would pay at a hardware store or even woodworking catalogs.

If they are asking you to build cabinets and install appliances in tight
areas you need to get more because you should be making 1/2
scale drawings at minimum. Drawing… and thinking about ergonomics
is time-consuming.

It sounds like you are getting started at cabinet-work, which is the
hardest part because you dopn’t have a waiting list and you are
hopping from job to job. As soon as you get some confidence and
a bit of a portfolio go out there and SELL you services to people with
serious money. That’s the way to go unless you want to run a
production shop and have a lot of employees.

View edp's profile


109 posts in 3955 days

#24 posted 07-18-2008 07:05 PM

Even though my estimates are not formulated this way, they nearly all come out at $350.00 to $400.00 a linear foot. This is inclusive of uppers and lowers as well as floor to ceiling pantries etc. This range includes crown and shoe molding but no countertops. To clarify a bit, if a wall run of uppers and lowers was 10’, the price would propably be somewhere in the $3,500.00 to $4,000.00 range. I should say that all my estimates state “room to be empty, walls prepped for reciept of cabinetry. No plumbing or electrical connections will be made” in addition to a few other particulars.


-- Come on in, the beer is cold and the wood is dry.

View design's profile


1 post in 3541 days

#25 posted 11-10-2012 11:07 PM

Informative thread. I developed SketchList 3D design software and have a question for the group. I appreciate any opinions and input.

The question is: If I could tell you the cost of materials, and the amount of time each part (side, shelf, rail) took on every machine that is used on that piece (and totaled the time) – would that help you price a job?

I understand there are more steps – but this is a beginning.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3541 days

#26 posted 11-11-2012 01:38 AM

We are a young custom cabinet shop, about 2 years old now. I have learned a great deal since starting this adventure. It has been both fun and very challenging and satisfying.

Pricing our work has been a continual learning curve. I try to begin my base cabinet at around 160.00 LF, which would equate to 160.00 for 1’ of base and 160.00 for 1’ of upper. I probably should separate my uppers and lower prices more. If I did separate my upper from lowers, it would be something like 180 for base, 130 for upper… My base cabinet features ball bearing glide, flat panel doors, UV finish plywood, end panels, installation, clear finish. Bells and whistles are added as upgrade such as dovetail, pull outs, lazy suzan, raised panels, stain, paint, any usage of unfinished plywood (cost of finishing out interior of cabinets are costly), various molding, glass, etc… I utilize an Excel document.

Based on your description I would have been looking for around 450.00 and 500.00 LF that would include both upper and lower. I never agree to anything where the customer or GC is in control of my materials. If something like that were to take place, I would likely only credit 1/2 what my cost of the material is. So I would do the full bid including all materials. If they had cut down some walnut trees and had is setting in a barn. I likely would give them .85 BF credit and charge the bid for new planer blades. If they supplied the plywood, I might credit them 20.00 per sheet for UV finished and 6.00 per sheet for unfinished. These numbers are mostly hypothetical and purely geustamations, but my point is, I would only provide a customer a fraction of wholesale cost for materials supplied. In other words, they would do the math and find out it is cheaper just to have me purchase my own materials.

-- .

View waho6o9's profile


8187 posts in 2571 days

#27 posted 11-11-2012 02:58 AM

You’re doing custom work at a production price.
Lesson learned.
Going forward, you’ll receive recommendations and you
will be in demand.

May you have continued success Sparky.

View Al Killian's profile

Al Killian

85 posts in 2620 days

#28 posted 11-13-2012 02:17 AM

My base price for cabinets is $150 per lineal foot with shaker panels 1 coat of stain and three coats of stain. This for a 3/4” box w/ maple boxes dt minus install and delivery.. I charge extra for lazy susan pull outs hinges and raised panel doors. Painting cabinets marks up the price. Crown molding always price by the lineal foot and install is based on hours of install. After you do it awhile you will get better at knowing your prices. I do not even try to compete with other shops. I do most of my work for interior designers so I dont worry to much about people being cheap.

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View getlostinwood's profile


224 posts in 2597 days

#29 posted 11-13-2012 03:40 AM

This all brings to mind some advise I recieved when starting out in sales; Any whore can give it away, it’s the Madam that knows how to make money and once upon a time she was just a whore. The point was to say you’ll lose money sometimes being smart means eventually limiting that. I have been considering selling some projects and this is the area that scares me to death.

-- The basis for optimism is shear terror

View Brian's profile


180 posts in 2026 days

#30 posted 04-16-2015 07:55 PM

Good read even though an old topic. I’ve got to hand it to getlostinwood for ending the topic 2 1/2 years ago on an awesome note. Good advise none the less!

-- “Always take a banana to a party, bananas are good!” - Tenth Doctor

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