Need advice/input

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Lamar Horton
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Need advice/input

Postby Lamar Horton » Sat, Dec 09 2006, 10:51AM

I was just told that my price for this job was almost twice as high as the \"other bids\". Normally I am not bothered by this as it does happen from time to time. But I really wanted this job and had a good feeling about the customer. My question is, how many hours would you estimate for this job. I am a one man shop with no router. I ask for hours because I know material prices and labor rates vary from region to region. BTW my price for this was $7,475. Not shown in the drawing is the rope molding on the sides of the base and uppers and the round legs of the desk will be rope as well.
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Brian Shannon
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Postby Brian Shannon » Sat, Dec 09 2006, 11:33AM

What Material? I would not do this in ANY stain grade mt'l. for less than your price.


Brian

Lamar Horton
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Postby Lamar Horton » Sat, Dec 09 2006, 11:42AM

All red oak. I can't see how anyone can do it for half my price either.

DaleKern
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Postby DaleKern » Sat, Dec 09 2006, 3:23PM

Lamar,

I'm guessing the project is between 8 and 10 feet wide, and if so you price
is right on for a high quality built in project.

I always want to know if a customer is comparing another shop's definition of quality (1/8\" furniture board, hotglue, plastic corner clips and RTA connectors) or the material I usually spec (hardwood and hardwood plywood only- 3/4\" for everything except the back of a bookcase)

Urge your customers to compare apples to apples regarding material and craftmenship - not just price. Then hold your line: Build it right and charge accordingly so you can stay off of the welfare roles.


Dale
I have no business being in this business...

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Postby Mike Seisser » Sat, Dec 09 2006, 4:01PM

Lamar,

Suburban Chicago here, I wouldn't touch it for under $7000. Don't ya just love the tire-kickers?

Mike
Proper Planning Prevents Poor Production.

Lamar Horton
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Postby Lamar Horton » Sat, Dec 09 2006, 4:54PM

Dale, your right, it's 10 feet wide and 8'-6\" tall. I specified all 3/4 hardwood plywood and solid lumber with no particalboard or MDF. During our meeting he said he had another cabinetmaker scheduled to deliver the same project but he never showed and come to find out he had not even started on it. Needless to say he was fired. He lives in an affluent neighborhood and didn't make the all to common remark \"I'm trying to keep costs down\" so I figured he was willing to pay for a quality product. I was wrong. Material alone will run between $2500 and $3000, unless they go the particleboard route and even then the savings won't be that much. I am tempted to contact him after the 1st of the year to see if I can look at what he ended up with.

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Postby Patrick Toomey » Sat, Dec 09 2006, 6:11PM

I'm in central Florida and I also wouldn't do it for less than you quoted, even with a router. In fact, I would probably be close to $1,000 higher installed. I have also run into this type of customer (everyone has I would assume) I just did a bid on a small kitchen for 14,000 and even that was lower than I would normally do it for but it's a side job and it's a neighbor so I figured I'd cut him a break. He came back and said that he could do it for 7,000 to 8,000. I told him best of luck but be careful to check the materials. What he ended up with was Home Depot type particle board cabs installed and stained in place with a brush, brush strokes showing and all. I gave him fair warning but you can't convince some people and they have to learn the hard way. When they fall apart in a few years I'll probably get a chance to bid it again. Should I be generous on the next bid? :wink:

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Postby Rick Palechuk » Sun, Dec 10 2006, 2:13AM

I think it's obvious that the guy is comparing apples to oranges. The client needs to get a third price from a reputable shop to really see how outta whack this wood butcher is.

We all suffer from hacks like that. :fire:

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Brian Bauer
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Postby Brian Bauer » Sun, Dec 10 2006, 1:25PM

Lamar

your price might even seem a little low with all of that detail. But you are right people are getting cheaper and cheaper, Imports and Ikea and Big Box are setting the prices and were having to compete with that.
It is hard to let those jobs go cause they are getting fewer and farther between.

Let me guess this guy is a lawyer or doctor, everybody says that they can get it for a lot less, and they usually get a lot less as well, and when you point that out after the fact they get all pissy about it.

If material prices keep going up we won't have any money left to live on soon. If quantity takes over quality i think i will go to work for walmart. :cry:

Brian
Wood is wood , Particle Board is just dust !

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DanEpps
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Re:

Postby DanEpps » Sun, Dec 10 2006, 3:17PM

Brian Bauer wrote:...your price might even seem a little low with all of that detail. But you are right people are getting cheaper and cheaper, Imports and Ikea and Big Box are setting the prices and were having to compete with that.
It is hard to let those jobs go cause they are getting fewer and farther between...


I have to disagree a bit here--people have ALWAYS been cheap and always will be.

The others are setting the prices only because they are allowed to get away with it. Why are they allowed to get away with it? Because the vast majority (99.99% ?) of independent cabinet shops are in the business of making cabinets, not marketing.

Independent shops "can't compete" because they are equipped to compete through either lack of knowledge or lack of will.

As I said, most lack the knowledge and marketing skills to compete with the huge multi-nationals. This is not derogatory--these companies have multi-million dollar Madison Avenue agencies contracted to create marketing campaigns for them. These marketing campaigns put (and keep) their products in front of potential customers and repeatedly tell them that "we are the best."

The public is a gullible lot and believes anything they see on television or in print, so they must be the best. Since these companies produce the best cabinets, anyone with higher prices must be overpriced.

It is not hard to compete with that if you recognize that you are competing with a marketing company and not a cabinet company. All you have to do is create your own marketing campaign that offers the truth about CUSTOM CABINETRY and what the customer is getting for their money.

You have to let the public know that YOU, not them are the best. The problem is, most independent shops are not equipped to do this on their own and marketing is EXPENSIVE!

These jobs are not getting fewer and farther between. They are going to the shops that know how to compete and put and keep their name in front of customers.

There is a way you can compete on a level playing field without spending the amount of money the big box companies do.

If you are interested in learning how, email me at depps@ecabworld.com

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Peter Walsh
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Postby Peter Walsh » Mon, Dec 18 2006, 11:16AM

Lamar,
I am with the rest of the guys. When you figure out your man-hours and come up with a price, that's it. I would not do this job for less than you have quoted or you reduce your wage/hour.
I have lost some jobs like this as well, and every time it happens to me, another one comes along that was better, at the profit level I wish to work. Hang in there.
I do like your idea of asking to see what he landed up with, but strongly suggest you use the visit to inform yourself and not criticize the customer's choice. You can use the info for the next competitive engagement.
regards,

Rolf Bergstrom
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Postby Rolf Bergstrom » Mon, Dec 18 2006, 12:01PM

Lamar,
Just out of curiosity as I am designing a very similar (so similar it is scary in fact) unit right now, did your price include the table as well?

Lamar Horton
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Postby Lamar Horton » Mon, Dec 18 2006, 6:28PM

Rolf, yes my price did include the table. The top was going to be solid oak and the legs were going to be purchased and have a rope twist to them.

Peter your absolutely right about not criticizing the other guys work. I think the quickest way to turn a customer off is to insult them by trying to show how they got ripped off or come off as arrogant and spout off something to the effect of \"I could have done better than that.\" When I visit a customer and the previous guys work is good, I tell them, if not, I keep quiet. Even if they criticize the other guys work I just smile and nod.

Thanks everyone for the support.

Derek Kruzner
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Re: Need advice/input

Postby Derek Kruzner » Fri, Feb 08 2008, 6:07PM

Lamar,

How ya doing brother!! Watch out for Rolf, he may be the 1/2 priced competitor... just kidding.

I won't repeat what everyone else is saying, but I have to remind myself often when doing estimates, that my price reflects my quality. I even have to double check my estimates sometimes 'cuz frankly, they seem high to me. But after I check my costs, labor, material, overhead, profit, I am satisfied that I have given a fair price. The ones that want it cheaper are the ones that more concerned with price than quality. Remember, if you are winning 10 out of 10 bids, your bidding too low.

By the way...I think your price is right on.

Derek
DK Cabinets
http://www.dkcabinets.net
derek@dkcabinets.net

Derek Kruzner
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Re: Need advice/input

Postby Derek Kruzner » Fri, Feb 08 2008, 6:26PM

Somehow, I didn't see the date on the original post. Lamar, I hope you got that job after a whole year.
hahaha


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