Designing and Pricing Garage Cabinets

Thoughts on how to make money in the garage-cabinet niche. January 11, 2008

Now that people are willing to spend a little more to upgrade their garages, I was wondering what people are charging. I know that some places that specialize in garage cabinets are making a cheaper version of cabinets. I know that I can't charge what I charge for kitchens. I don't think people are willing to pay that much.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor T:
A wide range of answers for this question would be okay. Like many things, some people would only be willing to buy inexpensive, stock cabinets from Home Depot; while others would go the full nine yards and get custom designed and produced cabinets plus custom flooring. A lot depends on where you are and what portion of the market you want to pursue.

From the original questioner:
I am in central California and I did sell the fact that my cabinets are higher quality that are made to last. It just seems like a tough market. But I won't budge on quality for price. I guess you win some and lose some. Better to just walk away when you get low-balled.

From contributor J:
I would say that you should not adjust the cost of building the cabinets just because they are more of a utility cabinet. They still have all of the parts a kitchen cabinet would have, but the materials are generally not as expensive. If the cost of making the cabinets for a garage is more than what the client is willing to spend, don't try and break into the market. Definitely don't adjust your profit margin to get the job (unless of course there is no other work and you need to stay afloat and keep that roof over your head). Fish for what you are trying to catch. You price it out according to your costs plus whatever profit you wish to make. If you can't do it as cheap as the other guys, try to sell to your client the difference in your product versus theirs. Most cabinetmakers can't compete with IKEA prices; however, most of the products produced by a custom shop will blow the quality of IKEA out of the water. There is no competition and the costs reflect! There is a big difference in the quality in materials used, construction methods, and overhead expenses. We canít tell you what to charge as a base rate for garage cabinets because we donít know your expenses, and what kind of profit you wish to make.

From the original questioner:
You are right and I know this is a broad question. I guess I knew the answer before I even posted it, but was just checking. I did sell the quality and will find out if that flies or not but I am not willing to budge. My cheap cabinets are without end panels and I only use plywood, so if cheap is what the customer wants, I will use plywood ends, no raised panels.

From contributor D:
I do a lot of garage cabinet jobs and I don't worry about the big box stores because I can't compete with their prices. My customers don't want to fool with it or don't have the DYI skill or they have unique requirements that demand a custom product. I just design it, price it, and sell it. It is what it is. I offer white melamine with 3mm edging, raw MDF, woodgrain melamine, or face frame with veneer plywood. The customer looks at pictures of my installations and finds what he likes and that's what I build. Most go with the white melamine. Just price it like your other cabinets. You'll sell some and lose some. Garage cabinets are highly competitive. I would not want it to be my core business.