professional pricing help needed for commercial cabinets

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Forum topic by , posted 08-11-2011 03:02 AM 10310 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2387 posts in 3720 days

08-11-2011 03:02 AM

I need some help with a commercial bid. Im a bit of a rookie here. Ive been doing custom work for hire since 2008 and we opened shop full time 14 months ago so im still on a huge learning curve here.

Mostly do residential jobs and im more used to being too high for a persons budget. As a small shop we do whatever we get. We did have great success on a large commercial job in the recent past, it was about 170 lf of laminate melamine cabinets slab doors and frameless const and we did all of the counter tops also they and they were square edge.

A guy contacted me, througb a phone campaign efferts, where i just call numbers on signs/billboards. They are looking for a new cabinet guy. Stated their guy has other priorities and is very “independent”.

The job us really small, about 40 lf of cabinet and 100 sf of laminate square edge counter tops. My last lam job i sold for 130 lf and the tops sold at 15 sf installed. So this bid i quoted 140 lf and 20 sf tops installed. The guy was really nice to me, gave me a good preaching to, and in a nut shell told me my numbers were too low and i needee to give this another look and provide him with new numbers.

I hate guessing games, never any good at sherades. I just want to provide a fair bid.

I do plan to go back to the drawing boards and run more detailed numbers and i will certainly increase my numbers while figuring my exact costs related to this job.

What i would love to know is a general ball park figure commercial guys are getting for their custom cabinets. I know it will differ from region to region. Hut who knows, maybe i can learn something from the more exp.

Thanks for any adv.

Loren, if you read this, chime in, you seem to always have a nugget i can use here and there.

-- .

8 replies so far

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2387 posts in 3720 days

#1 posted 08-11-2011 03:09 AM

On a side note, whenever im on this web site and do posts, u am always using a htc evo smart phone and typing on this small keyboard, thus the small grammer issues i have. Im a really good writer, just hindered some.with my phones keyboard, which is probably good as it gets.

-- .

View Binn's profile


93 posts in 3127 days

#2 posted 08-11-2011 03:39 AM


My cost is $500.00 LF. for upper and lower cabinets. Laminated tops are extra , $12.00 sqft with underlayment plywood. That is the going rate around Louisiana.

-- Barry, Louisiana

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2387 posts in 3720 days

#3 posted 08-11-2011 03:44 AM

Oh wow that is really good money. With my pricing i would be at 280 lf for uppers and lowers. I am sure i am way under where i need to be so i have a lot to learn from a business man perspective.

-- .

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4067 days

#4 posted 08-11-2011 03:55 AM

Occasionally I ask technical questions, kinda like methodology questions, …………I sometimes think that if you have to ask how to price something, then dont price it. ……….

Have you ever done “motion time” studies. break down the processes of manufacturing product,………into general groups like “pricing/estimating………engineering……….breaking down sheets……..machining……..laminating…….sanding….assembly………..housekeeping”……….give them a number and fill in the time spent on each subject. You should have a materials breakdown too.

Over time, by collecting the data, by comparing the actual cost to the estimated cost, you should come up with a number, per lineal foot, for estimating purposes.

given enough time…………….in theory. You can control the cost, the profit, tweek, adjust, live and learn.

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

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3821 days

#5 posted 08-11-2011 04:04 AM

You really have to get specific about what the client wants. A series
of rather detail oriented questions can tell you how important real
quality is to them and if they are willing to pay for quality.

I just had a guy call me in desperation because he had some guys
doing some laminate cabinets and they’d screwed it up so bad
he was saying he wanted them to stand down and give it to another
shop. I’m pretty sure it’s a guy I quoted several months ago, but
in his ignorance he just went with the cheap guys and they screwed
it up real good. Live and learn, for him. Ouch.

You need to offer value, and get specific about the quality the client
is getting. Many folks who’ve been around are scared to hire a
cheap guy, because well:

”when you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3849 days

#6 posted 08-11-2011 06:45 AM

I know nothing about cabinet work, but the first few years I was in business, I kept detailed time and material records and analyzed every job for future reference. Might be a good idea to try???

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2827 days

#7 posted 08-12-2011 03:32 AM

I use a very detailed spreadsheet that is fed by my cabinet design software to do estimates. I’ve never been a linear foot pricing type of guy. I price the job.

My spreadsheet figures everything required to build and install cabinets. This includes the time and material for things like:

Time to go get materials
Time to go the job to measure it out
Drill hinge holes
Edgeband parts
  1. of screws required for a cabinet
    Amount of glue needed for a cabinet
    CNC time to cut the parts

I can do this because over the years I’ve had my wife time me to do each of these tasks over say 10 cabinets and average the time to get the per cabinet rate. I also have a change order process that is all in writing. I charge $25 to submit a CO and if it is approved by me and the customer the $25 is waived, otherwise they will pay the $25 on the final invoice. This keeps the “let’s see if this will work” change orders at bay.

Each job I bid is different depending on the options/upgrades they want (either commercial or residential)

I don’t do countertops – I have a sub come in to do those and I get the bid from them. They give me a wholesale price that I can add to for my needs.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4067 days

#8 posted 08-12-2011 04:42 AM

Sure as $#it happy I don’t have to deal with it anymore

Done with the nickel and dime crap……………

looking back, I wouldnt be where I am at, without risk. Its a great way to make a living now but it wasnt always that way

I might add and in the words of Donald Trump “You dont have to be smart to be successful, you just have to surround yourself with smart people”

jus sayn

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

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