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Finding Your Niche

Posted: Thu, Mar 13 2008, 6:20AM
by David Coleman
E-Cab community,

I've mentioned on a couple of posts about a large job I'm bidding on currently. There are 100+ doors along with the various appliance garages, glass doors with mullions. For me it's a big opportunity to break out for a big project. I've been in construction for 20+ years and have been making cabinets part-time for the past 8 both at a 9-5 and on the side. My problem is I work in a 20x20 garage and I [i]know[i] I will have to outsource the case parts as well as the doors. How do I go about outsourcing using production sharing?

The other question I have is how does one go about finding their niche and how have you guys handled it? I would like to build smaller pieces (I enjoy the finer work of matching to existing cabinetry or building one-of-a-kinds), built-in cabinetry or the like. There are at least 25-30 different cabinet shops in my area of SW MO and they all do the same thing: build cheap, that is their costs are very low. (I look at some of what you guys are doing and I say, "Whoa..."). There's one company here that is proud of the fact that they can roll out the cabs like Wal-Mart (There are 4 SuperCenters here in Joplin). I should also mention that we are planning on moving an hour north of Chicago in the next few months and I know there is a bigger market there :D

You advice will be greatly appreciated.

David Coleman
Shaker Works

Re: Finding Your Niche

Posted: Thu, Mar 13 2008, 7:54AM
by Francis Samson
Hi David, i had the same problem has you a short while ago with 4 Duplex to do! Since my shop is only 1200 sq/ft and i'm alone with my wife to do every thing, i started to look around for CIE that works with a Thermwood CNC machine, makes it easier to share the CutList, and had some estimate done by them for my needs! Found one 50 min. from where i am and turned out to be cheaper for me to have all modules cut and assemble by them then me to do the job!
There is the "Members exchange map" that you can look in to see who as the service offer to you and they will be glad to help you with your problem! If it is one!

As per the "doors", the member store would be the best way to find your doors!
I'm in Canada and there is cabinet makers every square miles, and believe me, it's not easier here to find work then where you are and to top it all, those big shopping center offering kitchens and other services are so "cheap" that most of the population rely on them for there low pricing, that, it is getting ridiculous to compete against them!
So, if i could say so, and most of the guys in here would probably agree, the only way you will make your product stand out, will be with the quality of your craftsmanship and personalized service! As per the pricing, i found out that customers are more interested in cheap price then anything else but when it comes down to longevity and quality,,,, they all start to think!

Anyway i guess that after 20+ years in the field, there is nothing that you haven't seen!
Hopefully we have eCab to support us and to make our work way much easier! Customers love to see what it will look like, so, this is your first selling strenght as per what they need!
Has the proverb say, a picture is worth a thousand words!
Hope it help a bit and i wish you good luck in you project! :wink:
(Just sold another kitchen yesterday with this sketch in made in 45 min!)


Re: Finding Your Niche

Posted: Sun, Mar 16 2008, 7:31PM
by Mark Taylor
Hi David,

We would be happy to quote or help you with your job.

I would guess you could find someone closer with a router for machining the boxes, but if we could help you with your door order we would be happy to do that.

Send me an email with any specifications you're interested in and we can go from there.


Re: Finding Your Niche

Posted: Thu, Mar 27 2008, 7:48PM
by David Coleman
Thanks Mark,

It turns out that I didn't get the bid. In a way I'm kind of relieved. It seems the customer was working within a tight budget (wanted granite tops) and someone else beat me out of it by around $2000. It is interesting living in this part of the world. As we live in and area with 4 Super Centers customers want as much as they can get without having to pay for it. I am definitely interested in outsourcing my box and door parts. Thanks for the offer. I will stay in contact.

David Coleman
Shaker Works

Re: Finding Your Niche

Posted: Thu, Mar 27 2008, 8:48PM
by Mark Taylor
Hi David...

Sorry you didn't get the bid...
We would be happy to help anytime - just let us know.

If you would like a price list send me an email. We're trying to finish up an excel worksheet for product pricing. I'd be happy to send one out as soon as it's finished.