Dove tail drawers - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-06-2009, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Dove tail drawers

Doing a remodel for a couple and pretty much everything is done and we're about to start building drawers for her kitchen and bathrooms. On our estimate we specifically put that dove tail drawers were an extra charge, and since we're going to be building 60+ drawers we asked her if just doing them in her kitchen would be fine to cut costs, that way we're only doing 20 or so. We are charging $20 per dove tail drawer just because they take twice as long to build as a say a butt joined drawer, and of course she bitched about the price. Is that too expensive to be charging per drawer or do we need to tell her to stick it? haha... In the past we've only done dove tail on furniture pieces and small jobs with just a vanity or two and we just charged a little more for the whole job, not specifically for the drawers. What do you guys charge for and "ugrade" like that?



Thanks, Kenny
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-06-2009, 11:20 PM
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In these parts, $20.00 extra would not be out of line at all. Ask her if she'd rather have a Focus or a Lincoln. You're gonna pay more for the Lincoln, for sure.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-07-2009, 12:10 AM
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I charge by size, but I run 16-22 more a drawer, by depth "more tails"
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-07-2009, 04:03 AM
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The price for the upgrade may be out of line depending on what your price is for your standard drawer. If your standard drawer is a butt joint assembly, anything would be an upgrade.

It's a lot easier to come down in price than to talk them up. If you so easily give a discount, IMO, that may give the client the impression you don't value your work.

I'm all for negotiation, but what is time out of your life worth. What you surcharge should be enough to cover the extra time. And if the extra cool looking joinery isn't worth the extra money, you can explain how it's more structural.

When you figure the materials for any drawer, add in the hardware, do the machining, and work with stacks of parts and pieces, and then put on a finish, and then install them, they aren't cheap to do.

My standard drawer is a hard wood plywood drawer, rabbeted joinery, and edged. I use a plywood that may match the cabinetry, or go with Maple or Birch, with a WB poly finish. I use full extension slides and get $75 per drawer. For DT's I would charge $50 for machined joinery. If the drawer is from solid wood, the surcharge would depend on the specie.

What you can charge and get may depend on your clientele. I've always thought I don't charge enough.






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post #5 of 9 Old 05-07-2009, 09:59 AM
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Another selling point to the customer is resale value. The kitchen (and to a lesser degree bathrooms) sells the house more often than any other aspect of a home. I don't know the situation with your client whether the possibility of ever moving is in the future but even if it is not, always mention every reason for home improvement.

Also as cabinetman mentioned, stress the durability of the dovetailed drawers. If she has young children or grandchildren, it is not uncommon for drawers to be damaged by "yanking and slamming". Sometimes as you are mentioning these things to a customer, they may seem unresponsive at the time, but when you arrive at the jobsite the next day the idea is a great one, and it was their idea to begin with. Just tell them how smart they are.

On your charge, I don't think it is unreasonable at all. Just don't allow yourself to get "production weary" and let the quality slip. That's something I had to fight hard whenever I was doing a lot of machined dovetails. I do not enjoy doing the same thing over and over so I have to continually remind myself that I *do enjoy it* because my reputation is at stake.

Don't look at this as a problem. Look at it as an opportunity in three ways:

  • Legitimate up-selling is good for your bottom line and also for the customer's increased home value
  • It's an opportunity to hone your negotiation skills
  • It's a opportunity to use and showcase your craftmanship
  • It might get you other jobs when her friends/family sees them
Okay that's four ways. I say stand your ground on the price and sell yourself, your skills, and the benefits of premium upgrades. Let her know the price is actually very reasonable

I was always very frank, and simplistic with my customers when I would get an objection:

"Yes mam it does seem expensive, I really do understand that. If you don't want to do it, I'm in your corner either way. We figure the added charge not so much to add profit, but to cover the labor and time and maybe some coffee and doughnut money. I just want to make sure you understand it's not a frivolous upgrade but something well worth what you pay for."
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-07-2009, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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This lady is just a handful too. She's more worried about "keeping up with the Jones'" than anything else. This is a house in a "prestigious" part of oklahoma city and she's really just trying to impress her friends. Another thing, she's painting the stupid drawers anyway, so the way I see it as long as she's got a box that opens and closes she's doing good. haha..
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-07-2009, 08:21 PM
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All the previous comments aside,

perhaps we should revisit the basics of any contract.
1. Did you agree on a price up front (as you should have)?
2. Did you agree on the specifics (as you should have)?
3. If yes to the above, then just do your job. Anything less than fulfilling your agreement will cost you more in damage to your reputation than you can expect to gain by "Upcharging" for the drawers that should have been part of the initial agreement anyhow.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-07-2009, 09:15 PM
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The previous (singular) comment aside, if your contract does not have a change order clause in it, you need to toss it in the future.

The kind of contract Ed is referring to is not smart business. No one can foresee a change the customer may want in the middle of a job, and show me a job of any size that the customer doesn't want something done differently and I'll show you utopia.

I always did little things here and there for my customers, but major changes required a change order. They signed on for it when they signed the original contract. If you don't have it, the customer can work you to death if you have no provision in your contract for being paid more for doing more.

The change order clause protects not only you, but the customer. When I was remodeling I was astounded to learn that virtually every job I got - the guys who had bid against me - none of them had such a clause and not only did I never get a gripe about it from a customer, every customer felt more comfortable with it by the end of the job.

The scenario always plays out like "Kevin would we need a change order to put the wall here instead of there?" It almost alwasy happened when you arrived at the jobsite in the morning because after you left the day before, they looked at what you had done, decided it wasn't what they envisioned, and hit you with it in the a.m.

If it wasn't going to cost me a half a day I'd usually say "No problem, I'll do that no charge." that gives you the opportunity to build even more good will. But if it was going to cost 30 man hours sure I'd tell them yes, we need to figure a price for that change.

If you don't have this provision you're not only using an archaic contract, you are depriving yourself of perhaps the most important tool you have, you're also depriving the customer of a way to avoid any gray areas, which is the hardest thing for them to know. They are not contractors, they expect you to make the process easy for them. A change order does.
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-08-2009, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasTimbers View Post
The previous (singular) comment aside, if your contract does not have a change order clause in it, you need to toss it in the future.

The kind of contract Ed is referring to is not smart business. No one can foresee a change the customer may want in the middle of a job, and show me a job of any size that the customer doesn't want something done differently and I'll show you utopia.

I always did little things here and there for my customers, but major changes required a change order. They signed on for it when they signed the original contract. If you don't have it, the customer can work you to death if you have no provision in your contract for being paid more for doing more.

The change order clause protects not only you, but the customer. When I was remodeling I was astounded to learn that virtually every job I got - the guys who had bid against me - none of them had such a clause and not only did I never get a gripe about it from a customer, every customer felt more comfortable with it by the end of the job.

The scenario always plays out like "Kevin would we need a change order to put the wall here instead of there?" It almost alwasy happened when you arrived at the jobsite in the morning because after you left the day before, they looked at what you had done, decided it wasn't what they envisioned, and hit you with it in the a.m.

If it wasn't going to cost me a half a day I'd usually say "No problem, I'll do that no charge." that gives you the opportunity to build even more good will. But if it was going to cost 30 man hours sure I'd tell them yes, we need to figure a price for that change.

If you don't have this provision you're not only using an archaic contract, you are depriving yourself of perhaps the most important tool you have, you're also depriving the customer of a way to avoid any gray areas, which is the hardest thing for them to know. They are not contractors, they expect you to make the process easy for them. A change order does.
Yeah you're totally right, but like what I said in my first post, my initial estimate specifically said there was a charge for dove tail drawers. And about what Ed said, there is NO way to know all the specifics on a job. Especially when you are dealing with a HO who can't make a decision on their own without their friends, designer, and their dog all agreeing on it. haha....
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