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Charge for drawings10/5/18
Does anyone charge for shop drawings?
It's not like the old days where they pick a color, drawers here, doors there, oven there etc. and leave the rest to you. Everyone expects detailed drawings.
The job drags out and you end up on the phone begging the customer to tell you what color they want and which handle so you can start the job so your guys aren't standing around twiddling their thumbs.
So I'm thinking of putting a cost item in for design and detailing.
If someone comes in with no plans or architectural basic drafts I'll put a note in the contract that 4 hours of design time are covered (or whatever is ample time to get the job to the shop floor) and then anything above that is an hourly cost.
I see this making people more conscious of this factor and more decisive. At worst if they fluff around and what to sit down for hours designing I'll get paid for it.
to be honest I would prefer them to just come in with "almost there" drawings from an interior designer or architect. More accurate quote and quicker to get the job to the shop floor. I think insisting on this would turn a lot of customers off though.
We called it ( I do not do residential anymore) "Skin in the Game" Upfront drawing cost, Cost is applied to contract.
That market has moved to 2020 where you can draw a kitchen in a half hour.
IOW it is now what people expect.
Not that you can get manufacturing info from 2020...
give an estimate off the crappy drawings known as a "budget number" once under contract, then spend your time on drawings
seriously, tire kickers and leaches will take your time and flush your life into the abyss
Typically I go to the jobsite if they have no plan, within an hour or 2 I can come up with a basic floor plan with enough details to formulate a price. When the potential client asks for a drawing if you have a program spit out a sketch but without measurements , or I offer them one with numbers for $200 that will be taken off the job .
I bid everything through CV. I have a meeting, design, nesting and material order percentage. I only get this if the job goes through. We our networked with builders and designers so the one off customer I will send them a price only. If they express interest then a drawing charge of 200 dollars apply.
I don't think I have spent more than an hour, with 90% being 20 minutes or less, to bid a job in years. You give me the info, I give you a bid. Otherwise someone else can have you. If a client can't tell you in one email with floor plans, a description and some pictures what they want imagine how much fun it will be to pull that information from them.
I'll visit a jobsite before giving a bid if you are a contractor that gives me half a dozen or more jobs a year and only uses my shop exclusively...otherwise you give me the information via email. Any changes and variations from original discussion email indicate a change in price. I can't image spending hours visiting a jobsite, selecting materials and design, drawing plans for a job that has not been given to me. I don't understand running a business that way. I work once I'm hired & paid and not before.
In my opinion, bidding should be very simple and straightforward. If you can't print a single sheet of paper that states your rates for X, Y & Z and hand it to them with the bid you gave them for their basic drawings so that they know what any changes are going to cost them you are wasting time and money.
How many jobs a month are you running through your shop? How many hours do you spend bidding, doing drawings, etc for these jobs you are bidding? What is your closure rate? At the end of the day my time is way to valuable and in short supply to run around and try to extract information from someone before they are paying me.
These posts are always interesting. Never fails that I find myself thinking I'd need to be mainlining if I ever thought I was in familymans business environment.
There isnt a job we have done in 30 years where I would build to a set of supplied drawings unless I was providing factory cabs with fillers and plenty of molding and corner bead. On a complex (hate the phrase but...) high end job the headaches alleviated by a site visit for a good customer (contractor or otherwise) are well worth it if the mileage is within reason.
There is not a price list I could think of that I could hand a customer that would allow them to quantify what my line item expense for their project would be and furthermore there is no lending institution backing their mortgage that is going to release a check to me based on a number they came up with from a list of rates I provided them lol.
We dont draw for free but we dont charge as a line item for drawings either. I will give a ball park estimate based on initial conversations and perhaps some very quick sketches. Once the project is on deposit and a lock we will dig in as deeply as required. The depth you will have to go is pretty much obvious in the first few meetings with contractors, designers, end-users. And then there is coverage in the contract for changes.
I can imagine if you are competing with a bunch of factory cab re-sellers whether it be the home centers or the myriad of other kitchen centers that have zero facilities other than a showroom, your going to be stuck because any homeowner can walk into a big box and waste several hours of their time on drawings and revisions and never intend to buy the first box. We cant operate in that world but our market is squarely in that territory.
Every one of these threads has the shop that supposedly storms through their market kicking the doors off the hinges and taking bags money left and right, naming their own game... Id love to be in that world but in 30 years Ive yet to come in contact with a single shop from coast to coast (US) that actually operates that way. It sure would be nice though. It usually seems to wind up a balance between every option mentioned by the time the thread dies.
Who says we don't do a site visit? Or that our jobs are not complex?
I just stated I don't do them before we have the job. If you want to pay for my design knowledge you have to lock me up as your cabinet builder.
But we don't advertise. Every single job we get is word of mouth and we still turn a great many of those away. The vast majority of our clients are ours before I have ever spoke to them. If you are out slugging it out to close an industry average of 30% of potential clients then perhaps you have to approach things differently. I've never wanted to be in that situation.
Thanks for the great response. Some interest and polarizing thoughts.
People often mention the "plan without dimensions" thing as being a clever way to give potential customers a plan without them being able to use it to shop around.
I agree with family man. In a magical land where we all did the same thing and didn't go to site or start any work on the job before we had it. It would be a better world for all of us.
Also same point. I'm not expecting a drawing that we can work off. Just something with all of the details so I don't have to constantly go back to customer for minor details that stop the job from starting or progressing. colors and materials chosen. Design layed out. Then I can site measure. Make some shop drawings that pick up any discrepancies and off we go.
So chipboard, what takes your closure rate where you want it? What takes you from clients selecting you to you selecting clients? You have three variables- cost, quality and service. What has to change so that you don't have to waste that time? Because you have the job if you want it and they provide all the information needed so you don't do the run around. And is the cost in capital and effort to get to that point worth what you are gaining? That last point is where most get sidetracked- the cost is too great upfront, they'd rather pay the monthly installments payment of misery at 30% and battle for customers.
Hi family man. They are some really good points you make. I have reflected on them and it seems as follows.
The predominant factor that dictates my closure rate is pricing. I feel like everything else I offer would satisfy a customer.
I'm not sure what the answer is to what takes me BEING selected to SELECTING.
It seems like either sacrificing service would be the element that has to give to get my time back or going in the opposite direction of SERVICE overdrive by creating a system that allows customers to select without me. I do believe the cost of that is too great and I don't have the resources to accommodate that. Current social climate feels like people have an expectation you will be there to hold their hand beyond the scope of your offering.
I don't see the potential reward associated with the risk of going down that path as worth-it.
Chipboard, it's hard to know if that is an accurate assessment without knowing your quality, service and margins. But in the half dozen shops I've tried collaborating with over the years I could easily knock 20% off their operating costs through cleaning up their shop, cleaning up their procedures, organizing their schedule and paperwork. It is almost shocking how much waste is in the average cabinet shop- wastes of time, square footage, manpower and even material. If you sell a 20,000 dollar job how much do you and the shop make off of it? And how long does it take you to produce?