By-the-Foot Price Guesstimates as a Sales Technique

Nobody can really price by the foot without more information. But suggesting a range of by-the-foot prices, depending on the details, can be a way to help start a sales conversation. September 6, 2012

I keep running into that annoying question of “how much a foot”? I could understand if I was bidding mouldings or even had an idea of what the customer wanted for casework. The uninformed public maybe, but GC's asking that without any plan.

It's along the lines of “I'd like some cabinets or a new kitchen and before I show you what I have in mind, can you give a ballpark of what you charge per foot”? Is there a way to answer these folks without getting so frustrated? Should you just throw out a number and what should that be?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor G:
Give them a range. $100-$400 lin feet.

From contributor K:
When a GC asks that question he is just trying to find a less expensive price than he is paying now. Most of them don't care much about quality. They already have a cabinet budget for the project. If they get them less expensive, they get to keep the difference.

From contributor M:
You can make money off these jobs but you have to treat them differently. Come up with you average linear foot pricing on some previous jobs and give them that number. Do not be surprised when they tell you they are getting cabinets at 150 a foot! These are the real fly-by-night operations. Better cabinets go for 300 a foot. I do not price by the foot, I think it is a bad way to price work for a complicated item like cabinetry. So instead I just tell them a number that they might agree to and then we design with that budget in mind.

From contributor S:
I wonder what their reaction would be to a quote of 1k per foot. I would offer a price per foot for something generic, and mundane. I might break it down with a separate price for uppers, and base cabinets. This is provided they want multiples of the same two-three boxes. Commercial work could be a good application where you have might have a 20' long span of the same box along a wall. If you make pricing easy in this regard they might find more work for you to do within a project. For anything remotely custom however I would not do this.

From contributor D:
I ask what kind of cabinets and how many feet? Paint grade Melamine interiors slab fronts unfinished is pretty low in comparison to say cherry frame and panel with a glazed finish. Often the price they are comparing to may not be installed or come with all the moldings for the job. I prefer to quote the job if they let me and give them the real price.

From contributor F:
Many reputable GC's want to know so they can provide a preliminary budget when all they have is a space plan or a preliminary meeting with the customer. Turn the call into an opportunity to sell or meet and provide a budget.

From contributor L:
I'm with Contributor F on this one. We get requests for budget numbers fairly often. It helps to know the GC and the client, and also that the GC knows what we provide. Give them a generalized price range for several different types of work based on what kind of a job it is. This most often seems to come up on office building remodels for us.