Q. I’m interested in having you build something for me. How can I get a price?
A. Almost universally, cabinetry is priced by the linear foot. This goes for both custom and factory cabinets. It is simply too time consuming to try and calculate every nuance of every different cabinet project… every nut, bolt, screw, drawer guide, hinge, etc. So we just come up with factors for different types of cabinetry and calculate the linear footage of any particular job–and multiply the two numbers to come up with an estimate for the client.
Due to the size of Houston–and the surrounding areas that we service–we simply cannot drive all over town giving bids on projects that we may or may not end up doing. Some people just have unrealistic ideas about what custom cabinetry should cost… and we don’t want to find that out AFTER we’ve driven to Cypress to look at the job.
So, for the most part, we only give free estimates via email.
It is certainly easier and more efficient for the client to take a tape measure and measure their wall and email that measurement to us than it is for us to drive 40 miles to do the same thing. And much faster, too. (If you can get me all the basic dimensions and details of your project today–I can usually give you at least a rough estimate of cost–today.)
After 20 years in construction I’ve learned that most of the folks that contact me are mainly looking for that–a quick idea of what the cost will be–in order to determine if (a) they have the budget for the project and / or (b) my pricing is as good or better than the other bids they have received. And the shortest distance between those two points is the amazing technology of email.
The linear foot price for any given job varies with the details. Nearly no two custom cabinet jobs are exactly alike. But the costs to build certain TYPES of cabinets are fairly similar. So, if you tell me that you want stain grade, raised panel, overlay doors for example… I have a linear foot factor that I use for that type of cabinet that I can adjust and apply to your linear footage to come up with a price for you very quickly.
There is a contact form on the site that you can use to send me all the details, plans, drawings, attach pics of the space as it is now, attach pics or links to things that you like, etc.
Q. What is the difference between JOB BUILT cabinets and SHOP BUILT cabinets?
A. The main differences between job built cabinets and shop built cabinets are going to be finish quality and price.
Regardless of whether you choose job built or shop built cabinets, we are always going to build the highest quality cabinet possible. But, there is no denying that we can build and finish a better cabinet in a controlled environment–with a larger selection of tools–and less of a time constraint than we can in your living room–with just the basic tools that we can pack up in a trailer and move to your location temporarily. In the shop I have a dual bevel, 12″, Milwaukee sliding miter saw that cost $1000. I cannot bring that big, expensive tool out to the job site to cut crown moulding. So I bring a single bevel, 10″ Dewalt miter saw that cost $220. (The Dewalt is still a great tool… I just can’t do the same things with that saw that I can do with the Milwaukee.)
And this applies to virtually every tool we bring out to the job site when we build cabinets–or do other trim carpentry projects–on site. We use the same basic, portable carpentry tools that most every other crew uses on site… but they are no match for the heavy duty, industrial, commercial grade tools that we have back in the shop. We can’t bring a jointer out to the jobsite… or a shaper… or a band saw… they are simply too big and too heavy. So we have to make due with what small, portable power tools that are practical to bring with us… like a router… and a skill saw… and a belt sander.
And when we are building a cabinet in the shop, we have all the space we need–and all the time we need. When we are building on site, we don’t have either. Also, we have a purpose built, dedicate finishing area at our facility… with correct ventilation, perfect lighting, and a giant industrial compressor… so we can apply automotive / furniture quality lacquer finishes in the shop. But when finishing on site we have a whole host of constraints that we do not have in the shop… and, again, we are using less powerful, more portable tools–and residential coatings like latex and oil paints.
But sometimes a job built cabinet is the best option. This might be for budgetary reasons (job built cabinets tend to cost +/- 10 to 15% less than shop built cabinets)… or scheduling reasons (our typical turnaround time in the shop is 4 to 5 weeks… but I can usually get a job built crew out to a given site within a week)… or continuity reasons (for example, if all of the other cabinets in the house are job built / job finished cabinets)… etc.
Honestly, unless you were a cabinet maker–or could see both cabinets side by side to compare–the average person would not notice much difference between our job built and our shop built cabinets… because they are both very high quality cabinets. But there definitely ARE differences between the two… so we price them differently.
Q. What is a linear foot?
A. Let’s say you have an extra bedroom in your home that you’d like to use as an office… and you want us to build cabinets and bookcases along one wall. If that wall is 10 feet wide from corner to corner–and 8 feet tall. That would be 10 linear feet of cabinetry. And, let’s say you wanted us to build fairly typical, paint grade built-ins along that wall… with file drawers and a knee space and built-in desk with a drop-down keyboard shelf and adjustable shelves up top. Depending on the type of doors and drawers–and your exact location (in relation to our shop)–you’d probably be looking at something in the $375 to $400 per linear foot range… x 10 linear feet… = $3750 to $4000.
Or, let’s say you have a niche in your living room and you want us to build a nice stain grade entertainment center in it. The niche is 8 feet wide by 8 feet tall. Depending on the type of doors and drawers–and your exact location (in relation to our shop), you’d probably be looking at something in the $400 to $450 per linear foot range… x 8 linear feet… = $3200 to $3600.
A full linear foot includes both an upper AND lower cabinet (in kitchens & baths) and floor to ceiling built-ins up to 8 feet high. The linear foot price includes both the materials AND labor to build AND finish the cabinets–either on site or in our shop–using typical materials that we select. That price does not include things like door and drawer pulls and knobs or any other custom hardware that you might specify. We’re happy to use fancy, German-made, self-closing, full-extension drawer guides if you want them… but they cost five times more than a standard drawer guide… so we would have to pass that additional cost on to the client.
The linear foot price includes both upper AND lower cabinets (in kitchens & baths) and floor to ceiling built-ins up to 8 feet high. That also includes both the materials AND labor to build AND finish the cabinets ON SITE using typical materials that we select. (But does not include things like door and drawer pulls /knobs or any other custom hardware that you might specify. We’re happy to use fancy, German-made, self-closing, full-extension drawer guides if you wish… but they cost five times more than standard drawer guides… so if you spec out expensive options, those are billed separate from the cabinetry.)
If you only need upper cabinets or lower cabinets–or if you need custom closets built out or doors and windows installed or crown molding, baseboard, casing, etc–we have to price those things out individually. If you just need a few small things done we are probably not the right crew for you. You need a handy man or a guy who lives in your neighborhood who has a miter saw and a trim gun. Try Craigslist or the Greensheet. We trim out multi-million dollar houses from start to finish–hang all the doors, build all the cabinets, build the stairs and handrails, etc. We serious carpenters looking for serious customers.
If you have an entire house that you need trimmed out we price that type of work on a square footage basis, depending on exactly what you need done, the number of doors and windows, how many linear feet of cabinets, etc. We use good, quality materials and we stand behind all of our work unconditionally.
Q. What parts of town do you work in?
A. Generally speaking, we work everywhere from the Woodlands & Cypress to the north of Houston… to Katy out west… to Kingwood in the east… to Friendswood & Clear Lake to the south. However, we are based inside the 610 Loop here in Houston… so the farther out we have to go from the city center, the more we have to charge for travel time. We prefer to work inside the Beltway… but the trend is definitely moving outward… so we find ourselves working in the newer neighborhoods out on the fringe of the Houston metro area more and more. And that’s fine. We often get requests to go to Galveston or Brookshire or Huntsville or Rosenberg; but it’s just not practical; too many tools, men, and materials to schlep all the way out there. 🙂
Q. How long does it usually take?
A. The typical built-in/entertainment center project takes a day or two to build and two or three days to finish (paint or stain). Bigger project obviously take longer. To build a typical kitchen might three or four days to build and three or four days. To fill in two four foot niches around a fireplace (eight feet total) takes about a day to build and two days to paint (or three days stain & seal). The finishing part (paint or stain) is always going to be at least two days due to drying times for primers, paints, stains, caulks, and top coats.
Q. What types of finishes can you do?
A. Our finishers were trained in a high-end cabinet and furniture shop here in Houston so there’s literally no finish that we can’t do on your cabinets or built-ins. Depending on the application we may use latex, oil-base, or lacquer paints and stains. We can do antique finishes, gold-gilding, silver-leafing, etc. (Obviously the $295/ft price does not include high-end, labor intensive finishes, which are priced separately.) If you had an original Louis XIV commode and wanted us to match the finish on your kitchen cabinets to that antique, we could get pretty darn close. Our base price finish is going to be latex paint applied by hand–mainly because that is a fast drying, low-odor, inexpensive, fairly durable finish for built-ins. If you want to upgrade to oil or lacquer based paints & stains that’s totally doable – but obviously a bit more expensive.
Q. Sounds great. Can you come out to my house and give me an estimate?
A. We do give free estimates – just not “in home”. Until all of the basic details are worked out we prefer to work via email. Typically we would not come out to meet with a client until they are ready to sign and contract for the work and put down the 50% deposit. Houston is just too big and we’re too booked to drive around town chasing work. In order to keep our costs low we don’t hire salesmen or drive around town giving “free estimates”. You can use the pricing info above to quickly and easily estimate the cost of your cabinets or built-ins. Or you can take measurements, make drawings, scan photos, etc. and send them to me and I will happily work up some prices up for you. Let’s use the power of the internet to work smarter and more efficiently, burn less fuel, create less pollution, and achieve greater results. The more time I have to spend in my truck the less time I have to build & finish your cabinets.
Q. Do you have any references or past customers that I can contact to make sure you do what you say and built quality cabinets and built-ins?
A. Absolutely. Upon request I can send you several homeowners like you that we’ve done work for in the recent past.
Q. Do you have a showroom I can come to?
A. Because everything we do is job-built and one-of-a-kind we do not need to have a showroom. Home Depot has a showroom. Lowes has a showroom. IKEA has a showroom. There are dozens of cabinet retailers who sell factory cabinets in Houston that have showrooms. But that’s not the product we produce. So, no showroom.
Our photo galleries are basically our showroom. Just a few clicks of the mouse and you can see a broad range of what we can do. A physical showroom would also mean more overhead, more employees–and ultimately, higher prices for our customers. We prefer to stay lean and mean and you end up benefiting from that in the end.
Q. How long have you been in business?
A. I’ve been in construction since 1997. My main business is restoring vintage buildings in the downtown area. Over time I developed a great crew to work on my own projects and started doing side work for other clients about ten years ago. All of the carpenters on my crews also have ten to fifteen years of solid carpentry experience. So, we’ve pretty much seen and done it all before. And as mentioned above, my finishers were trained by one of (if not THE) oldest and best furniture builders and refinishers in the Houston area – a company that has been making furniture for three generations. So, we’re kind of the “Custom Cabinetry All-Stars” of Houston.
Thank you for stopping by the site. Hit the Contact button above to shoot us an email with details about your job. We’d love to hear from you!
Custom Cabinets and Trim Carpentry * Houston, TX