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Question DetailsAsked on 7/22/2016

How do contractors estimate the cost of buying and installing kitchen cabinets and should they divulge costs?

We are in the process of hiring a contractor to do our kitchen. We have a quote for cabinets and installation of them for 12.900 dollars. Our kitchen is very small. Currenty we have 7 or 8 cabinets total, upper and lower combined. The new cabinets seem to be average quality or slightly better, made with plywood boxes and wood doors, and soft closing hinges. There are a few little racks thst we added like one for garbage and a couple of spice racks in the small cabinets, and a refrigerator side cover. The cost per cabinet would be at $1,612 per cabinet. The total cabinet length is 12ft on bottom with 7ft of cabinet on top aprox. That is why I ask how the estimates are done, and also should the estimate be broken down further than just a flat amount, like who is the manufacturer of them and the cost per cabinet wtih markup.

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1 Answer


If you are paying a lump sum for the job, then that is wqhat you are comparing between bidders offering comparable installed products - what his cabinet pricing is is his business. The price you gave is in the normal range for higher-end semi-custom cabients (stock modified to adapt so slightly rebuilt) or lower-end custom built.

However - that said - you say you have not chosen him yet, so you should definitely be identifying SPECIFIC cabinet make and model and finish (without substitution) in the contract so you get what you want, and part of that discussion can include what the quote from the cabinet shop or manufacturer is (if not being bid by a cabinet shop itself) and what markup he gets should also be in the contract - otherwise you may be looking at 100-300% markup rather than a more fair 20-50% say (or more like 5% if you are paying for them directly and he is just handling delivery - though that increases your liability considerably if they come in wrongly made or sized or wrong model/color, so not something I recommend). And make sure it specifies if markup is on cabinet purchase price or invoive including freight, which might be a substantial part of the cabinet cost.

Racks you can quite possibly specify he save and reinstall, if color is suitable for you - or easily repainted in another color you like, or just ignore and get ones you like after installation is done and intall them yourself.

Here are links to one previous similar question and several Angies List articles on kitchen remodeling and cabinets FYI -

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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