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Fine Tuning My Pricing (again)7/25
I don't think I'm alone in this, but even after years in business I often find myself tinkering with pricing methodology. Long ago I settled on a "labor factor" model that is basically a multiplier applied to materials costs for a given job, adjusted up or down depending on the relative difficulty of the project. This approach has worked well, but may not be yielding competitive quotes in some cases. For example, if a job is loaded with high end slides/hinges, pricey pre-manufactured pantry pull outs, etc., why subject these to the multiplier (as opposed to a simple percentage markup) when they are no harder to install than cheaper alternatives? I'm starting to think that the labor factor should apply to raw materials only, with hardware and similar purchased items figured in with a straightforward (linear) markup. Anyone else thought this through?
Like you. I find myself tweaking the pricing formula every now and then.These days it's only minor changes not a full overhaul.
I personally think the BEST pricing method is cost of materials + cost of labor. The only problem with this method is it's generally more time consuming then lineal or square metre rates.
I have created a hybrid system of which I enter the "runs of cabinets", how many cabinets in the run and height depth width.
Same goes for front materials.
I then have a table of all the costs for each different sheet of material we might use. Or a square metre rate for painted or routered doors.
I spot check this occasionally and it's always within about 5% which makes minimal difference over a job and I tweaked it to always be on the higher side so I'm covered.
Then I punch in hinge quantity fixed price. The 4 different types of drawers we use are pre priced in the spreadsheet so I just need to enter quantity.
Now I have an accurate material price.
Next I enter labor broken down as
There is a bit of voodoo to the labour component but generally I allow a few hours on each cabinet depending on complexity and customer history or general vibe I'm getting off the customer
Then a few incidental items like
I can quote a reasonably basic mid sized kitchen in 15 minutes to get my figure.
Thanks for the insight, chipbored. Looks like we have similar methods (with my multiplier representing labor costs), although I probably don't pay enough attention to the front end (design) labor component.
Since posting the original question, I've gotten feedback from a customer who was comparing my bid to 2 others from direct competitors. She said that my quote was solidly in the midrange of the 3. I still need more evidence than just the one bid, but it looks like my decision to NOT subject pricey pullouts, etc. (there were several in the specs for this project) to the raw materials labor factor is being validated.
I'm finding that I'm allowing more and more time towards the front end design/labor component. It seems to take a lot of time to get a job off the ground these days. People are very particular about what they want yet very uneducated in the details of joinery. Gone are the days of "You did my friends kitchen, I liked that and want you to do it for me". Now it's "here are 11 photos from pinterest/facebook/instagram, I like this bit from that one, that bit from this one and I want you to make up the rest of it and then I will look at you like you are crazy because of the way you designed the ambiguous part using your professional experience as a guide.
I find myself using the term "open for interpretation" more and more when dealing with design vs implementation issues.
anyway that veered right off topic. sorry!
In the past I have looked at plans with expensive unnecessary design features and gone back and forth with client or builder to offer alternatives in the attempt at coming in at a cheaper price. It takes time and can be a thankless job.
I am now positioning us in the market as a premium supplier, high attention to detail and customer service over price.
In effect I work in reverse to the old adage of price low and pump it up with options and extras.
I price it as I see it, leave plenty of fat in the price and state "priced as per plans" letting them know there are small design changes that can make big cost savings.
It leaves the communication lines open for them to contact you rather than having to chase them up and essentially being on the back foot.