Cost of Shop Drawings

Pros consider perspectives on drafting's share of the cost of a kitchen job. November 26, 2007

We do not have a CNC, but need shop drawings for the production of cabinets and for approval by the builders we work for. I have been paying one of my older carpenters to do the drawings on AutoCAD, and am paying $25/hour. Any suggestions on getting this done any cheaper and/or easier would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor T:
When you ask for suggestions to make it easier, it makes me wonder if there is something about your current arrangement which you do not like?

From contributor J:
It can't get any easier for you - someone else is doing it, and unless they're dragging their feet, $25 an hour is a base wage for someone proficient in AutoCAD.

From the original questioner:
The price works out to be about 5 to 8% of the job. Sounds high to me, but I wanted to get some other opinions. Are most of you doing the drawings in house, yourselves, or outsourcing to an independent? What do you pay to have an average 12 x 12 L shaped kitchen drawn?

From contributor M:
I do both - work for someone doing shop drawings every day, and subcontract. I make 60,000 a year plus benefits. I use both AutoCAD and Cabinet Vision, depending on how complex the details need to be.

$25.00 is the lowball, as someone else said. Ask yourself, would you work for less than $25.00 an hour doing drafting? If so, you might want to hire someone in house and then you could maybe pay $20.00 an hour, then add on the taxes and benefits and there goes the amount per hour.

While we all look to find ways to save money, there are times we need to bite the bullet and adjust the way our business works. Charge the customer a few more dollars.

From contributor J:
Your cost is on the high side, I think. Maybe you're providing too much detail. I looked at a couple of typical kitchen remodels and 4% seemed to be a close average. I do all of my drawings in CabinetVision, so included with drawings I automatically get pricing info and cutlists. The 4% includes this too.

From contributor B:
A 12 x 12 L shaped kitchen would take me about an hour to draw and cost out. Your arrangement at $25.00 seems okay. I wouldn't do it for any less.

From contributor T:
If it works out to be about 8% or so for every job, why not just add this onto each job as a design, drafting, and/or engineering fee?

From contributor V:
1. Never do drawings for someone unless they pay for them or deposit on the job first. Otherwise they will take your drawings and shop around.

2. 5% of a $10,000.00 kitchen is 500. Divide that by 25 and you get 20 hours. I can't see it taking anyone 20 hours to draw a 10,000 kitchen. Much less 8%. That is unless you're the guy bidding kitchens at 2500.00.

From contributor D:
I think your problem is using AutoCAD. There are dedicated kitchen design programs that are much faster, hence cheaper in the long run. You get other things along with the drawings in most of them that speed production.