Pricing Feedback on a Built-In Entertainment Center

      Cabinetmakers offer their guesstimates on a reasonable price for a typical built-in. April 21, 2008

Question
This is a unit I already built. I did it for under 6 grand. Felt like I lost my butt on it. Am I too slow or too cheap?


Click here for higher quality, full size image

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor J:
Without any details, it's difficult to put an estimate on a piece. What materials, construction method, area (market), paint included? I will say, however, it's most likely a combination of the two. For myself it's almost always a question of being too slow. Luckily I'm at a point where I can charge enough to make a profit, even when it takes a little longer than expected. And from what I've seen in the past pricing questions, there will be some here who could do it for half as much, and some for three times as much. So basically raise your prices so you can afford more coffee to work faster :)



From the original questioner:
Ha! Thanks for the input. But I already drink two pots in the morning... Now what? I do have a tendency to nitpick a lot. I'm my biggest critic.


From contributor B:
If you provided it installed and painted, I'd say you were too cheap. If it was just cabinets of MDF with someone else doing the installation and paint, it would work for me.


From contributor M:
Do you know how many hours it really took? That's the only way to know if you were too slow or cheap. I built a similar unit to yours last year, and tracked all my hours - planning, ordering, building, spraying, installing, filling nail holes, etc., and I had 105 man hours in mine. The only difference was mine had curved fronts on the shelves and countertops, which I cannot tell if yours does or not. I also made my own crown molding on my W&H.

So I try to get 55 per man hour, which would be 5750 for labor, plus materials, which would be maybe 2000 max, plus a little profit, so I would charge about 8500 for something like you are showing, painted and installed. That would be for about 14 lineal feet, which was my project. I cannot tell how many feet yours is, but I would guess it is about that much.

It is really important to track all your time on these jobs to truly know your costs. It is the only way to be sure you charge enough for your work.



From contributor T:
$6500, fabrication only, no delivery, no installation, good design with basic drawings supplied. I'm in a big city (Toronto) Canadian market that is very hot right now. Your location can make a big difference. If you install, try to get away from those jobs. It took me quite a while. Now half my business has their own trucks and installers. Hardly use the van anymore. I'm considered "very competitive" by my clients and am fussy about quality too. I'm also fussy about my production process and am getting faster all the time. Last several months have been record highs. Wish I started this when I was a teenager, as I'd be way ahead today. Wasted my youth. Coming up to 15 years clean and sober next month. I'm 51 and should be slowing down, but I need to catch up.

Beautiful work and keep at it. It's fun when you're winning. My grandfather used to say that guys like us could make more money sitting at our desks than in the shop. In other words, do your calculations!



From contributor A:
Nice design. Price was way too low. Depending on how busy, I would price that in the $8k-$10k range. That's pre-primed, installed. I hope you didn't finish it. That's a lot of painting.


From contributor S:
It's very hard for me to tell. Depends upon how it was built. My gut tells me based upon how I would build it, that you're about $1500 too low, but that's my shoot from the hip price based on how I would do it, and shouldn't be your price, except by chance. One thing we've recently started considering is that if you're going to do a nice white painted project of any size, the finishing costs more. White is such a pain, especially in open shelf bookcases where every stinking joint seems to show a black line where any two pieces of wood come together. I'm not talking about FF joints as much as where the back and sides join, etc. Although FF joints do get special attention compared to a stained or darker colored paint job. We've even joked that it would be better for us to "roll it on and brush it out" than to spray, because at least then all the joints wouldn't scream. On a project like that one, I'd figure roughly one more day due strictly to it being painted white.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork: Millwork Installer

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: Installation


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article