Face-Frame Versus Frameless Cabinetry
Have we had that discussion yet on the relative merits of face-frame and frameless construction? August 15, 2006
I’m thinking about going frameless. What are the pros and cons of this method? I am a one man shop that does mostly high end homes. The problem I run into is the time factor – the time it takes me to build a kitchen by myself. Milling lumber and building face frames takes a lot of time. What type of edgebander should I be looking for? I have never used one and will be green at this method. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
From contributor A:
It could go either way, and I think you will get varied responses. Check out the knowledge base, there are a lot of resources already archived on this topic and one to get you started below. Related Article: Face Frame Versus Frameless
From contributor B:
Once you've done the journey doing frameless, you'll never go back. Everything is very precise and all the components fall into place. I can assemble six frameless, complete with doors and drawers, in the time it takes to do ONE framed. Doing a framed cab makes me feel like I have lead weights attached to my arms. I just can't move fast enough!
I do admit a beaded-inset cabinet is very pretty. I charge a lot more for them. But If I explain price and functionality to the client, he almost always goes with the frameless. A hardware rep said about 90% of this large metro area cabinetmakers do framed. That leaves plenty of business for my frameless shop. Cut, band and bore. Why do more?
From contributor C:
It depends on where you are. In my market the words frameless and high end are not spoken in the same sentence. The exception might be someone doing a modern theme with some exotic veneers.
From contributor D:
Around here, the high end homes are split close to half and half - probably a little more framed. There is more of a tendency to go painted than wood. I personally detest the look of frameless. They look too cheap to me.
From contributor E:
All the shops I know that do frameless full time make tons of money. And I'm in an area that prefers framed cabinets. It comes down to your market and your ability to make the sale. Also the ones I know of are great salesmen and they are also one-man or one-man-and-some-help shops.
For a bander, get one that you can get parts for and service in your area, and not get overcharged for parts. There’s one very large company that overcharges for parts and service. Check out the other forums for advice. The best way to go if there's a market in your area is to go the software to CNC to Bander to Assembly method. Done right it's a great system.
From the original questioner:
Thanks for the input. I am still contemplating what to do. I too prefer the look of the face frame, but what I am finding out is that the customers generally do not realize the difference as long as they look good and have a great finish on them. Most customers do not know what they want. They look in a magazine and say "That looks nice". Most of the cabinets in the kitchen magazines I am looking at are frameless.
From contributor G:
I haven't been making cabinets for long, but when the frameless versus face frame conversation has come up, I never have had a customer who knew the difference. Once I explain it they are all happy with frameless. I build framed only for entertainment centers.
From contributor H:
If you want to get your feet wet, buy a little benchtop mounted hot air bander and the hand trimmers from Woodworkers Supply. You will have to consider what type of tape you will use. If you use wood tape, you will have to figure out how to finish the tape to match your doors and trim. An easier method would be to find a PVC match for your finish colors. You must also consider which case material to use. Many frameless builders use melamine. I do not. Regardless how you try to phrase it, melamine is particleboard. It is unmercifully heavy, it chips out, bows when you cut it and a freshly cut edge will slice skin like butter. Even with the slight variances in thickness, prefinished plywood is a superior product and is easy to sell.
There is a definite learning curve to building frameless cabinets. The first time I tried it I gave up for a while. Like any new production process, the devil is in the details. Get the details worked out and you will be successful with it.
From contributor I:
I’m sure I can install a 12ft face frame cabinet faster than anyone can install three 4ft frameless cabinets. With face frames you can build very long cabinets. I don’t know why so many people are building face frame modular boxes and seem to be stuck on frameless sizes. Frameless can be just as nice, and as strong as needed. You can have a very nice face frame shop for 25K in tools, but what does a very nice CNC cost? 100K and it would probably pay for itself quickly. Builders are looking for cheap prices and I could never compete with a Euro shop on price. I love my face frame cabinet shop, and I am sure I would love a Euro shop just as much.
From contributor J:
Melamine is not necessarily particle board. Similarly, prefinished ply is not necessarily veneer core. If you are considering doing frameless I would suggest paying the extra dollar and getting everything MDF core. It cuts better than PB or veneer core, it is much flatter (very few variations in thickness), glues the best, accepts pocket screws, dadoes or dowels. I’ve never had any problems with edgebanding adhesion. Frameless is all about knowing your materials, what to use where. Most lumber suppliers (Roseberg, Columbia Forest, Georgia Pacific) all have descriptions of the core materials and the inherent qualities and recommended applications. I like melamine with MDF core, and I prefer prefinished ply with MDF core. You have to order way in advance and you will pay extra, and still have to comply with a minimum order, usually 20 sheets. We do whatever the customer wants, but when left to our own devices we prefer frameless (no, we don't have a CNC) but there are some applications that just scream for a face frame, like country style kitchens or any material that is rustic like knotty pine or alder.
As far as the 12 foot cabinet, you’re right, but then again who would make three four footers? I would make two sixers or one 8 and one 4. We just installed one 47"x 86" - all 3/4 material. That's one unit, two guys. Bottom line is, do what you like, and if you make money then you have nothing to complain about.
From contributor K:
A twelve foot cabinet? Really? Do you buy 12' material? Is your assembly bench 12'? Do your carts hold 12' material with ease? You may be right, you may be able to install a 12' cabinet faster than I can install 4 3' cabinets but I am sure I can draw, cut, mill, band, assemble, finish, mount doors, load, unload, and install four 3' cabinets faster than you can do all of those things to build one 12' cabinet.
As for face frame versus frameless, there is no comparison. In my opinion frameless is far superior in every way. I have yet to hear an argument that from the frame side that was anything more than "we build high end cabinets and all others are junk" or "our method takes longer so it is better" As for the look, when I see face frame cabinets I think cheap. Maybe it is because that is what I am used to looking at and what I have gotten used to. These are my opinions. I know I will have lots of posts saying how poor my craftsmanship is because I don't build a frame. I made $10,000 gross profit this week so I don't care.
From contributor L:
As far as high end goes, I'd like to see someone actually make a high end cabinet that isn't furniture. High end these days means expensive home, cheap cabinetry. As far as frame versus frameless goes, frame has the advantage if they are made correctly. They help keep the case square on the front and also give a better surface for mounting hinge hardware. Sure you can drill out your screw holes and put wood plugs in your melamine to accommodate the screws. Time is money. It also gives you an area to nail the crown to without having to build up. Frankly though, we build most of our face frame cabinets with melamine interiors so take the frame off and voila - it would make a case for edgeband. If you edgeband it correctly and ease all the edges it works well - otherwise it will get ripped. I've seen a ton of cabinets that didn't have the edge banding on them very well due to not enough heat while gluing, not enough pressure etc. Also if there is dirt or a rough spot on your material you will see it in the edge band since in reality all it is is veneer - which leads to the machinery. If you are set up with line boring machines, scoring saws or CNC, good pneumatic pocket boring machine, $10,000 edgebander, and a good pair of safety glasses to keep those razor sharp melamine chips out of your eyes you're ready to go. But for those of us who don't have $100,000 for high end equipment speed is not the deal breaker. In fact, quality should be and will lead to more work. Not speed. Who cares how fast you can build a cabinet? Is it good quality? Do you make money? Are you referred? If not, you are losing money.
From contributor M:
I also am a one man shop, and do frame cabinets. In my area and market the words frameless and melamine are not going to cut it. I sell high end and make good profit. I love what I do and am building a very good reputation which is turning into sales in the same market. Customer service and high quality are what works best for me. Time is an issue that I am dealing with, but most people don't mind waiting.
If you are thinking about going frameless I would think about it very carefully. Look at your market, look at the equipment that you have to buy to get started and try it on a test basis with some trial equipment. I don't think that it is all bad, and there is definitely a market for it. If all looks good to you, go for it.
From contributor B:
It sounds like cabinetmaking is a lot like religion; once you pick the way you want to go, close your mind to any original thought! When I went full time with my own shop, I struggled with setting the hinges right, getting drawers to work without being racked, etc. If I was ever going to make money (that is, not spend a lifetime on each job) I had to find the rosetta stone that crunched the numbers and made sense of all of this - and got the job out and the money in.
The January '04 issue of Cabinetmaker arrived with Ed Curtis on the cover and the story of how this one man shop bills $240,000 a year! How in the hell can he do that? I found my direction - the 32mm system. I invested into lineboring and edgebanding, hinge insertion and assembly techniques. In my first year I grossed $224,000. I don't have to re-invent the wheel each time. I'm always looking for the weak spots; the places that hold me back, and I make improvements.
I always use the best materials (3/4 UV ply, not melamine) the best assembly system, and the best hardware. I would put my work side by side with anyone else’s. I make the sale, I get the referrals. What I don't get are callbacks! And I'm always looking to improve on what I have. But it has to be more precise and faster. I'm open to suggestions. I, of course, kept that issue of Cabinetmaker.
From contributor N:
If you are considering frameless you must go to www.true32.com and talk to them about a true system manufacturing process from bid to design to assembly - the same one that Ed Curtis and lots of others use also - including myself. Go to Atlanta and talk to them.
From contributor H:
True32 is a great system, but many of their main ideas of the system take simple things and make them over complicated. As much as they try to make me use the cabinet hangers, plastic levelers and melamine, I just can't. If there is anything that makes a cabinet look and feel cheap, it is those three things.
From contributor O:
As a one man shop mainly geared toward face frame cabinets, I'm trying to lean more toward commercial / retail which is mostly frameless. For now, until I can afford the machinery I am using a local company called cabinetoutsource, average cost is $85.00 lin ft and $35.00 a box assembly, includes drawers and doors and drilling for pulls. And they deliver to the job. Ii can't build these at that price. They do ship nationwide also, and they make a good quality cabinet.
From contributor J:
When you talk Home Depot or Lowes cabinets you are talking face frame. When you buy them off the shelf in a homestore you are talking face frame. As a matter of fact the only mass produced cheap cabinets I have seen are face frames. Kratfmaid - face frame. You name it - the big manufacturers produce face frame cabinets. The real craftsman produces cabinets that meet the requirements of the client and offer maximum space utilization, ergonomics and aesthetics, with the appropriate materials. You only get that with frameless. I have never had to drill out hinge holes and fill them with dowels. For most applications there is a specific hinge that will fit the bill.
From contributor P:
How much does the True32 system cost? If you don't know the current price, please tell us what you paid.
From contributor H:
Let’s take another look at the original post. If you are doing mostly higher end homes, you can most certainly do frameless. We make frameless cabinets with the highest quality materials and finishes. As far as an edgebander, like I said before, try a little hot air benchtop model and hand trimmers to get started. If you decide to take the plunge, an automatic machine with a glue pot or cartridge glue is a necessity.
From contributor Q:
I started my shop building FF cabinets in 1997. I became aware of frameless and True 32 on this very site and in 2000 I decided to go through the True 32 training. To this day, I think it has been the best business decision I have ever made. The training was not a magical solution to all my problems, but simply a tool, a very critical tool. I don't think I am right and the face frame people are wrong, to each his own. All I've got to ask is this: what is the ratio of frameless people that switch to face frame versus the other way around?
I would build a face frame set if I wasn't booked until September and they paid me a premium for the trouble. There is nothing wrong with that, given the business conditions. As a matter of fact, last year I bought the Hoffman beaded frame system to be able to do the beaded frames to enhance our product offerings but nobody has asked and we are too busy to promote it at this time. My web site has but a small portion of the sample of the frameless work that we do. It may look cheap to some, but it does not to our clients and that is all that matters.
It is great to start an $8700 commercial job on Thursday and have it finished, including doors an drawers with a laminate face (pre-laid up) and edgebanding, delivered and installed by 12 noon on Friday.
From contributor E:
Frameless is all about money, and making more of it. The cabinetmakers here are proud of the work they do, the product they sell, and the craftsmanship they put into their product. My point is that a well made face frame cabinet is still a better box than a five piece Melamine box. Other than that, go for it - you make more money. Cabinets rarely last 20 years before new appliances come out and create problems with opening sizes, etc. I'm going to tell a builder that the next 30 homes he wants from me will be frameless and not face frame - it's the only way I can speed things up and make a decent income at the prices he wants me to drop down to. They will be nice, well made, and even the True32 guys would be proud of the construction and care I will put into these boxes. But all said and done a Melamine box isn't as good as a face frame cabinet any day. I like them both, but it's an engineering issue.
From contributor P:
I think you are missing the point. Not all frameless are melamine, and many are not stapled. In my area, face frames are made of particleboard and are nailed or screwed. No glue, no dados, no backs on the bases. I don't even think this passes AWI's Economy grade. In reality, I believe that the Big Box offers better quality than these custom cabinets.
Many people cut corners and phrase some term that includes “value” in it - value engineered, value added, etc. This is garbage and an abuse of the concept. Outlaw frameless cabinets and these guys would find another way to put a spin on cost cutting. It seems like your beef is with poor construction and poor materials. Please don't start building frameless and use poor construction techniques and poor material. That is not the benefit of frameless.
The advantages of frameless construction are:
- There is a system that is routine and also very flexible.
- It is easier for 1 man to hang cabinets.
- Depending on your method, it is quicker and easier to assemble frameless.
The disadvantages of frameless are:
- There is a steep learning curve. There are many systems. You must learn one and it requires you to learn a lot of facts.
- To machine frameless efficiently you must invest in different machinery. This is often quite expensive.
- Many people have found that it takes longer to hang frameless.
And yes, there are other advantages and disadvantages, but I have not found structural issues to be one of those, given the use of quality materials, solid construction methods, and proper installation.
For me, I bought the equipment and I prefer building frameless. I can tell you that someone who buys their tools from Big Box and works out of his garage cannot work at the same level as me. Having started that way, I realize that I could not build with the same accuracy and efficiency without the equipment. I like the system but hate the payments. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but please don't knock the quality of frameless because some hack out there is building a shoddy box.
From contributor E:
I've done frameless before, and I have all the equipment to build frameless, going back to the 80's. The only point I'm really making is that a well made (not a big box retail box) face frame cabinet is better in construction than a Melamine box, or for that matter a Pre-finished nice ply core frameless box. 4 pieces of wood tape don't count as a face frame. Other than that I like frameless cabinets. Doweled is better by far. I heard that training goes for about $20,000, and with that you get all the software and support. Most Cabinetmakers wing it on their own, and those who commit to there system do very, very well. I wonder about those who bought into it and didn't make it?
From contributor R:
In my mind you guys are arguing about too many variables. The amount of money is not specifically based on what you are building or how. I make more money by charging the correct price. Frameless makes you more money if you are competing against a face frame guy over the same kitchen. In today’s world the customer rarely knows the difference anyways. Now are we talking Euro partial overlay face frame or traditional/semi traditional hinges?
I prefer to make inset face frame cabinets with nice looking hinges. It makes me feel like a woodworker rather than an edgebander. I know for the most part I am not competing against frameless because the difference is so obvious. At the end of the day any construction method has longevity as long as you aren't using duct tape and cardboard.
From contributor S:
I've been following this thread closely and reading the posts and being that I don't have a lot of experience in either, as I do mostly furniture, I've drawn myself a pretty clear conclusion. Neither of you are wrong in any way, but I've seen that both sides are finding systems and methods that work for them. But isn't that what woodworking is all about? To the original poster I have to say, no matter how convinced someone may have you in either situation, I think you might have to dip into both if you are unsure, see what works for you, your financial situation, your suppliers, and most importantly your market. Most people don't know the difference between the two types of cabinetry so that difference is usually dependant on variables only pertaining to you and your shop. Do you want to do A or B, but A requires certain things as does B. Find a system and a method to the madness and stick to it. If frameless is faster so be it, but if you have a way of making face frame cabinetry just as fast and it WORKS than do that. Like I said, it might help to get yourself knee deep in frameless and compare it to face frame before figuring out which one is the best for you and your business.
After all, customers just want an end result that looks good, works and fits in their budget. Most don't really care how you do it, and if they are that picky or that experienced to know what you are doing, than they are probably just as smart enough to go get a drill gun, a kreg jig and to take a trip with their pickup/van to the local lumber supplier.
From contributor Q:
When I went through the True 32 training, it was something like $8500 but it was for the training only, and a year of support, although I placed two or three calls after training. No software of any kind was being offered then. What they offer now is a more bulletproof system. The program and prices are described in their web site. I must say that the technical information was very helpful but it was more than that. I got a lot of other business information as well. There is no question that I was struggling at the time. I managed to send payments over time and when I had about half paid, I went through the training and finished paying after that. That is the advantage of getting in on the ground floor. I would think that is not done now, I don't know.
From contributor T:
I build both, but after 25 years of doing it, I am tired of making excuses for the frameless jobs. I think I make a pretty good cabinet in either case. Dado construction on face frame, blind dado on frameless. Yes, I have all of the equipment one could wish for. My market is not super high end and I do not want it to be. I enjoy working for people that appreciate good quality for a fair price. My experience with high end is the customer is too worried about getting ripped off and low end is too worried about getting ripped off. My work feeds me with more work which tells me I must be doing something right and although I am not rich, even my kids don't complain which tells me I must be doing something right. The hell with everything else, do what you want to do, if it is right you will know and probably will not have time to ask if it isn't.
From contributor H:
Anyone who has to make excuses for frameless cabinets needs to get a better designer. Take a look at the Neff Kitchens website or the Wood-Mode website for some ideas as to what high-end frameless should look like.
From contributor T:
I work for a handful of contractors (18-20) and have for some time now. They all have me work directly with the homeowner as most are custom build jobs. When a customer requests a frameless set or look, we do what they ask. I don't know of a single customer that has not been pleased with what they got, however it seems like everytime I do I get comments back from either the contractor, finish carpenter (one of which does the install). We also tend to hear from other tradespeople who work on the homes, having some exposure to our work. A lot of these other tradespeople end up becoming customers when it becomes their time to build or remodel. Usually, when face frames are involved, comments are nothing but positive. However it seems like everytime we do frameless I get comments like "I sure hope you are not going to become one of those frameless shops”, or “when did you start buying your cabinets from Home Depot” or “don't people realize what they are asking for when they request frameless", etc., etc., etc. It seems like I talk myself blue in the face trying to educate people. A lot of the problem comes from the fact that we do not install so other people are affected by the construction technique. I am located in an area that has not accepted frameless yet. In the level of homes I prefer to work in I would venture to say that frameless only accounts for 3-5% of cabinets and custom, whether framed or frameless is 90-95%.
I prefer framed, my employees prefer framed, and it seems my customers prefer framed. There are times I wish I could make the switch to frameless but everytime it feels like swimming upstream. I really try to keep an open mind and every piece of equipment purchased the last 10 years has been made with the balanced benefits towards frame and frameless.
One comment worth mentioning, we build all of our own doors, mill all of our own mouldings and ff stock, and have found over the years that we get excellent yield by being able to filter materials keeping the priority on door faces and trim details and being able to use a lot of the rest in the face frames. Early on in this thread the comment was was made that frameless shops make a lot of money and seem to do better than framed shops. I don't think frameless leads to higher profits - it does lead an owner down a path that forces or tends to force a standardized "System" approach to building cabinets. This is probably the biggest step towards organization which every successful business person knows is a key to their success. My point here is that applying this same organization can be applied to either construction method. That’s what accounts for profit - not necessarily the type of box you build.
From contributor U:
I suppose I am the best person to answer your question on how much the True32 Training Workshops cost, and since the cost has repeatedly been quoted incorrectly, then hopefully this post will clarify any confusion.
The entry level True32 Training involves estimating, design, engineer and cutlisting software, and two supporting elements (technical drawings and operations manual). It includes 16 hours of online training, and the total cost is $12,136.00.
Our full True32 Training Workshop, which includes all the items above, plus three days of onsite training at our LaVergne, TN facility, and some other proprietary components, is priced at $15,710.85. This package is for those that will be using manual equipment, and certifies the participant as a True32 Custom Cabinetry Manufacturer.
The third package varies in price because it includes our True32 Nested Based CNC Router, and the cost is dependant on the size of the router, vacuum pump and the electrical requirements. The package starts at approximately $86,000.00, includes an 8' X 4' router, installed, and all the items listed in the other packages, along with the CNC upgrades of each of the software programs.
Hopefully this will answer what has seemed to be an elusive questions for some (we do not show the cost on our website because the QuickBooks solution we use to produce our webstore does not allow service items as part of an assembly price, and the training time is all service items), we do however show an 800 number for anyone to call if they would like to know the cost, and anyone who was interested in the cost could have called instead of misquoting the cost.
Now back to the original questions, "Thinking about going frameless. What are the pros and cons of this method? I am a one man shop that does mostly high end homes. The problem I run into is the time factor it takes me to build a kitchen by myself. Milling lumber and building face frames takes up a lot of time."
I personally do not think one construction method is necessarily better than the other, having done both (one element missing from some of the cabinetmakers posting strong opinions), I prefer frameless cabinetry for several reasons.
The first and foremost is that it is more conducive to utilizing Flow Manufacturing, Lean, etc. methodologies, working in small process and transfer batches. This was not completely clear to me before I made the switch, but it did play a part in my decision process. My personal experience has been that working in small process and transfer batches removes the vast majority of confusion that comes with a job shop (build to order) manufactured product line and multiple employees.
The second item, but the one that was the primary factor in my conversion was the fact that finishing was my primary constraint, and frameless cabinetry would allow me to not only outsource my doors (which face frame also allowed me to do), but it would also allow me to outsource those doors pre-finished (I am sure some face frame companies do this, but it seemed to me to be a very tricky thing to do in the face frame world, but a natural thing to do in the frameless world).
Over the first 6 years of my cabinet manufacturing experience, I learned that one of the toughest parts of this industry is managing the schedule; it seemed that everyone needed cabinets at the same time, or no one needed cabinets when I needed to build some cabinets. What I needed was a systematic approach that was less dependent on skilled labor, and that could produce reliable profit levels in low sales months, and in high sales months - a system that would allow me to make money at my minimum sales level, but to also be able to manage it at twice that level or more. My best analogy to view this is a manufacturing system that operates like a rubber band, and allows me with the same number of employees to be effective at a fairly wide range of sales levels (no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the building community to cooperate with me, and just build the right amount of projects so my sales would be the same each month). I found that I needed to sell at least $32,000.00 per month to be profitable, but I also needed to be able to produce as much as $80,000.00 per month to satisfy my client base on a consistent level. Frameless cabinetry has allowed me to do this for right at ten years now, and we are profitable at every level between these numbers, and never have to add people to buffer our high sales months.
So one method is not superior to the other to me, just better able to suit my rubber band production level. I can build any level of quality of either method, and I personally think I can do almost anything with frameless that I could do with face frame (we do still use frames on SOME of our bookcases), but I can also do quite a few things with frameless cabinetry that I could not do with face frame cabinetry.
The question was also asked: “What type of edgebander should I be looking for? I have never used one and will be green at this method. Any suggestions would be appreciated.”
I personally tried one of the hot air machines myself as an entry level method to frameless (I owned a Virutex machine many, many years ago), and my experience was that I was better off to keep making face frame cabinetry until I had ALL the proper equipment to manufacture frameless cabinetry, at least that was my experience as it related to profitability. I would encourage you to look at a bander that is able to apply the material with a hot glue system, trim the top, bottom and both ends, and then scrape and buff the parts. In other words, a bander that puts out finished parts (no trimming, cleaning, filing or touching up required).
I made an excellent living manufacturing face frame cabinetry for over 6 years, and I have made an even better living manufacturing frameless cabinetry for the last 10 years, but in both cases, I was well equipped to do what I was attempting to do, and I had a good systematic approach to both methods. In my experience, your business management systems are equally important, and are your best bet to not allowing your business to manage you and your time.
One last comment, although I have never operated as a one man shop myself, I do believe that frameless is more single man shop friendly, we routinely have one person deliver our projects (not always, but on a regular basis, we do send out one person to deliver cabinetry projects). Our installations are almost always done as a single man crew, and I could never do either in a face frame environment profitably, and painlessly. I hope that clears up a few misconceptions about the True32 Training Workshop cost, and answers a few questions.
From contributor V:
For one for one reason or another I have not been able to acquire all of the necessary equipment to do true32 the right way. I have invented my own system for the time being that I call the UNTRUE32. I find that building frameless cabinets has been very satisfying and that they are so much easier to install and delivery. I am a one man shop and I do it all myself. I do not necessarily think that it is faster to build a frameless cabinet considering all of the smaller units you have to build but you cut the whole milling process out of the picture and on the occasion that I have to deliver and install the boxes before the doors and drawers are done it is so nice to walk in roll the drawers into the box and snap the doors on and make the smallest of adjustments. It is a great thing and it my personal opinion that the frameless cabinets when trimmed out and installed look just as good as any framed cabinet. In my opinion they look better without the entire frame showing. I also can build any quality of cabinet that my customers want or any type. When it comes down to it my body is less sore and I am more satisfied with the final product.
From contributor N:
To contributor U: Being one of the charter True32 nerds (I actually saw the very first post on True32.com), nice post, as usual - brief, concise and to the point. I like your presentation that takes all the argument out of face frame versus frameless - to each his own. Thanks to you and the True32 team for making it possible for my wife and I to actually face our retirement years with some confidence.
From contributor P:
To contributor U: I am glad that you took the time to respond, especially why you do not publish your prices. So the entry level is your estimating software and how to use it? And the full training is the details of manufacturing in the True32 style? Have you considered publishing the ROI for your training? It seems like many of our students would be happy to share this.
From contributor U:
The entry level True32 Training includes all of our software, not just our estimating software. Here is what I posted the first time:
"The entry level True32 Training involves estimating, design, engineer and cutlisting software, and two supporting elements (technical drawings and operations manual). It includes 16 hours of online training, and the total cost is $12,136.00."
Our estimating software is a little different than all our other software programs; although it is part of our training packages, it is the only software program we sell that we do not require to be a part of a training package, and we sell it to face frame manufacturers as well as frameless (everything else we sell is specifically for frameless manufacturers only).
True32 Custom Cabinetry is not a franchise type program. We treat the True32 Training Workshop as an educational opportunity that includes supporting products and services, so our clients are more like authorized or certified dealers rather than franchisees. They do not pay any type of monthly, quarterly or yearly fees, and are not required in any way to report anything to us, so we have no way to report their return on investment.
You could however make a post on our general forum asking them to tell you what their return on investment is. You need to keep in mind that everyone that posts on our general forum is NOT a true32 client. There are quite a few people that post on our general forum that have never done anything past reading my book (many have never done that), and do not practice any part of our system; there are others that have never done anything but read my book and do an excellent job of practicing our system.
Just yesterday, I replicated a set of drawings for a potential project in Slidell Louisiana that was originally produced by a cabinetmaker in Southern Mississippi, who several years ago read my book, but has never taken any of our training programs, and does not own our software programs. But his drawings were exactly what any of our clients would have done in cabinet depth and height (a portion of our Operations Manual is in the back of the book, and I think quite a few of our readers prefer to utilize that information rather than experimenting with other variations), and I will not have to vary a single functional hardware or molding product to replicate what he did (he does purchase all his functional hardware and molding from us). The reason we are doing this project is that he is swamped with work, and cannot get to this couples cabinetry for months, so he suggested to the couple that they have me build it since it would be identical to what he did originally (before the hurricane), and they would be able to re-use their granite tops.
One last thing, I think a lot of our clients would rather quantify their return on investment in effort, time away from their plants, hours worked, etc. rather than in dollars. I could be wrong, but when I listen to their concerns before training, and during training, many are looking to improve their operations in ways that allow them to work a reasonable amount of hours, take vacations, have a hobby (besides woodworking) and spend time with their families. Most of what we teach is not rocket science, I think there is more content in what not to do than there is in what to do. Far too many cabinetmakers work themselves to death, and have little to show for it, not because they do not work hard, but we all have a tendency to concentrate on the urgent things, and ignore the important things. We attempt to help our clients see this, and make changes towards doing the right things, putting emphasis on the important things (many of the good practices our clients utilize are simply the by-product of following the instructions in the Operations Manual and Technical Drawings, and do not require them to actually think about whether something is the right thing to do, or not). NOT doing WRONG things produces additional dollars and hours to be utilized as each cabinetmaker sees fit.
The key indicators of doing wrong things are as follows, but not limited to these things:
Having to expedite products coming to your plant.
Expediting or red labeling orders you are producing.
Designated plunder area (area for all the doors, drawer fronts, drawer boxes and cabinets that were built wrong).
Lack of cash flow.
Excessive work in progress.
Long lead times.
Poorly maintained equipment and facilities (this includes a dirty plant).
My primary point being that when we are doing the wrong things, we do not have time to do the right things. I think our clients see and understand this, and rate their success as much on how many right things they are doing as they do on dollars.