by William Sampson
email@example.com PRICING SURVEY
Bidding competitive in annual Pricing Survey
FDMC Pricing Survey shows closer variances in most projects, but complex projects
clearly still challenge estimators of custom woodwork.
With the exception of one particularly complex project, bids in the annual FDMC Pricing
Survey were much more competitive
this year. Still, variances point to common problems that trip up bidders and
account for wide ranges in pricing that
continue to plague shops.
This year’s bidders for most projects
stayed within a variance factor of about
2. 5 or less, but that still means the highest price was two and a half times the
lowest price. In the worst-case scenario, a
complex beaded inset kitchen, the variance skyrocketed, with the highest price
almost eight times what the lowest price
was quoted. Clearly, prices can vary considerably more as job complexity of goes
up, but before we delve into the details,
let’s first review how the survey works.
Collecting the data
For two decades, we’ve been tracking
pricing in custom woodwork by taking
real jobs done by real shops and then
sharing the original bidding specifica-
tions with our readers. Shops all across
North America are asked to go through
the exercise of bidding these projects
as if they were proposals for their own
shops. The idea is to try to create an
apples-to-apples comparison for custom
woodworking projects. To make that
comparison more valuable, we ask shops
to break down their prices in several cat-
egories, such as materials, construction
hours, install hours, and finishing hours,
although not all shops do that.
To further identify where the variances occur, we ask shops to report their
hourly shop rates, whether they use
software for bidding, whether they use
CNC manufacturing, and what state or
province they are from. We also ask them
how long they have been in business.
Most of our respondents are very experi-
What does the data show?
enced shops with decades of woodwork-
ing under their belts. One other note just
to clarify, in the case of bids from Cana-
dian shops, we do convert the numbers
from Canadian dollars to U.S. dollars so
there is a more ready comparison in the
tables. In some cases, we report original
Canadian prices in the Notes column as
a convenience to Canadian readers.
The most obvious lesson from this year’s
survey is that as the project gets larger
and more complex, the opportunity for
price variances increases. A traditional
beaded inset kitchen came in for the
widest variation in price, attracting a low
bid of less than $8,000 and a high bid
of $60,000, early eight times the low bid
of just $7,601. Those bids compare to
the original shop that did the project in
Ohio for $47,500. Contrast that with the
average bid of just $32,000.
The most obvious category that shows
where shops can go wrong is the materials cost reported. The original bidder
in this case reported $8,000 in materials costs for this kitchen, but bidders
estimated costs as low as just $820 and as
high as $17,325.
Similarly, estimates of construction
hours can be way off. The average estimated hours was 184, which compared
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