Bedroom built-ins and mantle/cabinet project - This project featured an extensive array of built-ins, all done in a white paint finish. They included cabinets, drawers and shelves on adjoining walls of a bedroom plus a mantelpiece with space for a television plus cabinets and display area next to it.
All of the upheaval in the economy over the last few years has thrown a huge monkey wrench into the not-so-smooth-running machine that was the process of estimating, pricing, and bidding custom woodworking projects. If custom shops were confused and frustrated about pricing before the economy tanked, they were doubly so as they tried to keep above water in the depths of the recession. That makes participation in this year’s Pricing Survey especially important.
How do you make sure your prices are both competitive and profitable? How can you get some idea about what other shops charge for similar work? These are the kinds of questions that the Pricing Survey helps you to answer. And participation also helps inform your own estimating process.
How it works
Since 1997, the Pricing Survey has been the only tool in the industry to try to compare pricing for custom woodworking projects such as kitchens, built-ins, custom furniture, and commercial cabinetry. The survey uses real projects done by real shops and makes the bidding specifications available to professional woodworking businesses all across the country. They “bid” on the projects as if they were real jobs in their own shops. Then we print the itemized results in the magazine so you can compare.
Itemized categories in the survey include shop rates, construction hours, finishing rates, finishing hours, install rates, and install hours. We ask about materials costs and design fees. There’s also information about software and CNC use that helps you see what technology does to pricing. And all of this information is organized with state or province locations, so you can try to draw some regional conclusions if applicable.
Lighted bar cabinet - This nice bar cabinet project brings the new technology of LED lighting to the forefront to provide a distinctive custom look. The original shop made this for an existing customer and did not have to compete in a bidding process, so they anxious to hear what other shops would charge for such work.
But all of that information is meaningless unless there is maximum participation from shops across North America. Certainly it takes some time to study the bid package, calculate your numbers and submit your bids, but virtually every shop that has participated in the past has reported it was a valuable exercise that further informed their own pricing process.
You can download the 2012 Pricing Survey Bid Package from www.cabinetmakerfdm.com or we are happy to mail a hard copy to you at your request. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 203.207.0025. You can return your bids by email, standard mail or fax.
But don’t delay: The deadline for bids is August 24. And check out the six great projects in this year’s survey.
Q: We are having a problem with shrinkage. We make furniture, but someone else sells and delivers it. This person claims he did everything correctly, including opening the furniture wrapping (we wrapped the furniture with shrink-wrap and it was fairly well sealed) and letting it acclimate to the house climate. When the customer moved in, they said the furniture looked really wonderful, but within a week, it started to warp, open joints and crack in a few places. We are so careful to keep our plant at 40 percent RH and check the MC of the lumber. This is frustrating! Can you help?
Realizing the dream of being able to economically build custom furniture on a mass scale.
CNC router manufacturer Thermwood set up a furniture-making operation in its own plant to test its cell manufacturing techniques.
Additional images of finished work in the Boston area.
Association’s first design contest shows breadth of talent in membership.
This year's NeoCon was an affirming experience.
Delivering benefits rather than features and staying ahead of design trends has helped a custom cabinet manufacturer improve.
Kansas manufacturer is winning market share by balancing customization and lead times.
Senior center community room -This was an extensive commercial cabinet project involving all four walls of a senior center community room. There are all sorts of built-in cabinets, shelves and even window seats that all are designed to provide an inviting atmosphere for social activities and events. While it’s a commercial project, it has more of the feel of a residential library, and shops that do residential work might be interested in pricing this job to see how they compare with more commercial-oriented shops.
Dorm furniture - As work for new home construction disappeared in the recession, many shops explored other areas for work. This is one such example involving a project to produce dorm furniture. It involves a desk, wardrobe and captain’s bed. And when bidding think about the opportunities for multiples and scaling the work for this and other projects.
Board room table - This is a corporate showpiece project that would challenge many a shop. The circular sectioned table was designed for corporate board room and was built in maple solids and veneer. Figure the angles while you figure your price.
Contemporary kitchen - Kitchens are always popular in the pricing survey, and this one has a lot of interesting features that we hope attract bidders. The contemporary design was done as a frameless project, but face-frame shops could achieve a similar look with full-overlay doors. A very interesting feature is a pass-through section that has cabinets and counters on both sides as sort of a butler’s service area.
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