I am currently a furniture refinisher with more time on my hands than I would like. I would like to expand my business to include more new furniture and cabinetry. I have done cabinet finishing for a cabinet company when they had too much work. I simply looked at the pile of cabinets and told him a price. I only did it 3 or 4 times and I know I didn't lose money. Now I want to have a standard pricing system for finishing cabinets.
Here are the numbers I have so far:
$30 per upper or lower cabinet box
$50 per full height cabinet box
$8 per sq foot for raised panel/ornate doors
$6 per sq foot for flat panel/simple doors
$3 per linear foot for moldings
Prices include stain and clear finish.
Glazing and distressing is extra.
Clear finish is 1-2 coats SW vinyl sealer and 1 coat SW CAB acrylic lacquer.
Prices do not include raw wood sanding.
Prices include finishing interiors of cabinets, clear finish only. Cabinets with stained interiors are double.
I would like to develop a pricing structure that allows a cabinetmaker to outsource his entire finishing operation to me for less than it costs him to keep it in house. About what percentage of a cabinetmaker's costs go to finishing operations? I am guessing it is under 20%. So I figure I should be charging around $4,000 for a $20,000 kitchen. I know what a $20,000 kitchen is and that seems about right to me. Are my numbers reasonable? Obviously there are a lot of issues not covered by the prices above. I am only looking for a starting point.
From contributor G:
I went through this process a couple years ago when I was doing the same thing you are. The Knowledge Base will give you widely divergent numbers which, of course, depend on what the local market will bear. I solved the dilemma by doing a mental rundown of how long each piece takes me multiplied by my hourly rate and came up with a workable figure for me. A suggestion: check into other finishes. Some are way more user friendly, thus speeding your output.
They make good money even at these prices. Recently they did an entire kitchen in one day, start to finish, and the charge was around $900. So they're making money, so much so with this one guy that they pay him quite well and give him bonuses. We all hope and pray he doesn't move back to Mexico. Other painting companies around here charge close to this amount, but don't often do a consistent quality finish. I quit finishing my own stuff a few years ago as I was getting sick from time to time even with a good fan system and a well-fitting mask. I figure I'd rather build cabinets and make sawdust than breathe sanding sealer dust and fumes. Painters choose this lifestyle of paint fumes, or at least tolerate it.
Used to be you could get large quantities of wood furniture finished for between five and ten percent, for pretty nice work. I am talking new stuff, sanded well and delivered and picked up. We did many a press back chair for $5.00 and a table with leaves and ball and claw pedestal for $25.00. Of course lacquer was ten bucks a gallon, but skilled help didn't cost any less than today.
A couple people questioned my use of CAB acrylic. The clarity is great and so far it has been easy to use. I have been using it for about three months. Previously, I used a post catalyzed lacquer on cabinets and a pre-cat lacquer on furniture. The cost is the same and the ease of use is the same. Both coatings are approved by KCMA. I was exploring the idea of not using the lacquer at all anymore, but perhaps I should keep it around for cabinets.
I will also consider charging by the linear foot instead of by the box. I was doing it this way because that is how the cabinetmaker billed his customer. He also purchased his doors from a door company. He always had an exact count of cabinets, linear feet of molding, and sq feet of doors.