P-lam Price Check


From original questioner:

I do mostly residential, but have been asked several times recently to bid on small commercial p-lam casework jobs. My first bid was way too high, so I have adjusted to match the winning bids I've seen. Here are the numbers I've got in order to match the winning bids (not including install): $115/LF for uppers, $130/LF for lowers. Add in $50/drawer, $25/FE. I'm posting here because I have too small a sample to know if I'm bidding against garage shops or legit ones. Thanks.

From contributor La

Sounds like you are bidding residential cabinets when you price by the foot. Commercial work usually involves things other than basic box cabinets. Price using your costs + desired profit. What someone else prices shouldn't be considered. A lot depends on the specs. If you are bidding purely based on price, what they are asking for is the cheapest way you can do it and get away with it. If your history with the contractor/customer gives them something else to consider (service, on time, free of call backs, happy customers etc.) most likely you can get the job even @ a higher price. Those things have a value & a cost. If the customer doesn't value them then you have to cut them out of what you provide and make sure the customer understands that going in. They won't like it but if it is low ball they are after that's the game. It doesn't take long to become associated with the level of work/service you provide. There are a lot of games played by GCs to cut their costs that can affect your costs. Know your contractor! Try to become the preferred vendor for both the contractor and the architect. Get listed that way on the architects specs. Have a specialty that you can make and get it into the specs. It can cut the competition. Ours happens to be curved work. Just about any curved work the architect wants and we provide help to them in establishing the design. Try not to compete on an equal footing! Its just the way life is, don't see anything wrong with it.

From contributor Ni

I understand the benefit of understanding how others determine their price, especially in regards to Millwork since there's more than a few variables...

What bothers me is the approach you're taking here. Personally, I never have and never will adjust my price to compete with another quote. If there's no money in it, and it's not for family, then why shouldn't you be paid for it. Your contractor is in a position to make more money off of you then you'll make in wages just by marking up your quote 10 points.

Maybe someone can help me, but I don't think there's a way to compete with low prices... As you buy more machinery to speed up production, your costs go up almost proportionately, and whatever is left is put towards the larger staff to manage the larger workload.

From contributor Ke

Just looking for numbers here. I've shared mine and am interested if others would share theirs.

I understand all the other business stuff. I do plenty of radius work myself, but that doesn't apply here.

From contributor AJ

The prices you listed are pretty much exactly what mine averaged out to back 10 years ago when I did that type of work....I always priced the jobs long hand and then to check myself I would do the pricing by LF and pretty much ended up with the same numbers....I would hope that the guys do commercial Plam stuff these days are getting better money then that!

From contributor Ro

We are a medium sized shop in the Midwest (Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska). I have a 5x12 CNC and a decent edgebander. I have 7 guys in the shop, and three in the office. We do exclusively commercial plastic laminate casework. We still price by the lineal foot. However, I noticed a big difference in price. Looks like we charge the same per drawer, but the LF prices are quite a bit different. We have established a good reputation with 2 of the larger contractors in the area by delivering on time, and delivering complete. We have even had local architects add us to the approved bidders list. But if we price cabinets anywhere north of $75 a foot on base, and $70 a foot on uppers we will not be awarded the project. Yes, we manage to make money at those prices. But, not even close to the kind if I could charge more than $100 a foot.

What part of the country are you in? Maybe I should move my shop....

From contributor Ke

Sounds like you've got the volume to justify those prices. Were you ever a smaller shop doing smaller jobs? And if so, were your LF prices higher?

From contributor Sh

Kevin, We are a small (8 employees) commercial casework shop in the Atlanta market, and we are right on the edge of competitive at $90/lf for base cabinets $70/lf for wall cabinets and $30/lf for countertops. This does not include delivery and installation, and of coarse there are a ton of variables with hardware, laminate selection, design, repetition, etc. This is our base that we start from.

Hope this helps

From contributor Ra

The trick to commercial case work is chain accounts. Get the work done on time and done right. We are not large and not small 160k sq ft with 93 employees. 3 routers, 4 beam saws, three edgebanders and still can not keep up. Prices? 130+lf on uppers, 150+lf base cabinets more if it's a one time deal. Custom portions of each build are bid accordingly. Price to make money and don't be the lowballer in your town. We are in the Midwest

From contributor Gr

Ralph, could you elaborate on what you mean by chain accounts?

I want to be able to set some of these up with the GC's that we work for.

From contributor es

That sounds reasonable for basic laminate cabinets with melamine interiors, BUT be very, very careful! Plastic laminate pricing can get insane depending on brand, I priced a job last month where the laminate chosen by the architect cost $600 per 4x8' sheet, and they wanted it on every surface. Just the laminate cost alone exceeded the value of all other factors (materials labor, overhead) in the job.