With projects ranging from a residential kitchen to custom furniture and commercial work, the 2013 CabinetMaker+FDM Pricing Survey is designed to appeal to an extra wide range of shops and is open and looking for bids.

Since 1997, the Pricing Survey has been the only study in the industry that attempts to compare pricing on custom work. The survey collects bidding specifications for real jobs done by real shops and makes those specifications available to shops all across North America. Bidders are asked to price the jobs as they wood if they were pricing a real project that had come into their own shop. Then all the results are printed in CabinetMaker+FDM with names of all bidders kept anonymous; only their home states are listed to give some regional identity to bids.

Sponsored projects

A major change to the 2013 survey is active sponsorship by key suppliers in the industry. We reached out to industry leaders with a vested interest in the success of custom shops to help find good projects and expand the scope of the survey while encouraging increased participation. Just as the projects in the survey represent a broad cross-section of the industry, so do the sponsoring suppliers.

Columbia Forest Products/Cabinotch, Drawer Box Specialties, KCD Software, Laguna Tools, Planit Solutions/Vero Software, and Tradesoft Inc. all stepped up to get involved. They represent not only companies that sell software with pricing components, but also vendors that sell other products that directly affect the pricing matrix in today’s woodworking business.

The three software companies were natural candidates for sponsorship. All sell software that has pricing and/or project management functions that directly affect how shops price work or handle estimates. And two of the software companies sell programs that are directly involved in design and manufacturing of projects.

Laguna Tools has invested heavily in developing its line of CNC manufacturing, noting how the new technology affects how shops do business. For many years, the pricing survey has asked bidders whether they use CNC technology to see how that relates to bids.

And two of the sponsors, Cabinotch and DBS, are outsource suppliers of cabinet components. Although the survey does not specifically ask bidders whether they outsource things like doors, drawers, or cabinet boxes, it has long been recognized that outsourcing these items can have a direct impact on price.

Why you should bid

While the Pricing Survey is not a scientific sampling of pricing, the more shops that participate the better picture of pricing they create. Particularly in the question of regional differences in pricing, without wide participation from all parts of the country, it is hard to address that issue.

Participating shops play an important role in helping educate the industry about better business practices, but they also have a lot to gain on a more self-interested level. Every year, shops that participate in bidding or providing a project, universally say the experience was valuable. They say that bidding in the survey helped inform their own bidding process and made them re-examine how they handle estimates and bid, as well as how they track costs on finished projects. Some shops even use the survey bid package as a training tool for estimators.

And some shops say it’s just fun to see the projects in the survey and bid to find out how they compare with other shops in North America. Check out this year’s projects.

Project sampling

KCD Software kitchen. This project was originally designed and executed using KCD software. It’s a good sized residential kitchen that should appeal to anyone in the kitchen cabinet business.

Columbia Forest Products/Cabinotch project. This project illustrates the potential of outsourcing, using the Cabinotch cabinet box system. You could bid it with outsourced components or not to compare pricing.

Vero/Planit Solutions commercial kitchen project is a contemporary commercial kitchen with a residential flair that packs a lot of cabinetry in a small space.

Tradesoft commercial project. This is a tenant build-out of a new building for credit union. It features a teller line, greeter desk, check desk and other cabinetry.

Laguna Tools furniture project. This custom furniture project offers a variety of challenges and could be done with or without CNC manufacturing.

Drawer Box Specialties china hutch. This custom furniture project is all about drawers and doors. It could be priced and built with or without outsourcing.

Start with a bid package

The first step to get started with the Pricing Survey is to obtain a bid package. The fastest and easiest way is to download the bid package from www.cabinetmakerfdm.com by clicking here. Or you can contact us and we’ll mail you a hard copy. The bid package has bidding specifications for each of the projects, including general project descriptions, specific requirements for materials, basic drawings for bidding purposes, and in most cases even finished photos to give you a better idea of what is expected.

You’ll be asked in the bidding form to not only provide a final price for each of the projects you bid, but also we request you answer questions about materials costs, time estimates, hourly shop rates, and such things as how long you have been in business. These added questions give answers that better inform readers why one bid might be higher or lower than another. They also point up commonalities and variances in the bids that highlight key data to help further inform bidding in the future.

For more information or to download a bid package, click on the Pricing Survey tab at www.cabinetmakerfdm.com. You can also phone 203.270.0025 or email will.sampson@ccimedia.net to obtain a survey. But don’t delay -- the deadline to return bids is August 19.