Answer: Their bid may be cheaper, but that doesn’t mean their final price is too.
We recently heard this question twice in the same week from potential (and eventual) clients in regards to the bids they received from Semihandmade for DIY Shaker doors on their Ikea cabinets. These clients had requested estimates from multiple companies, and, at first glance, they saw clear price differences between the other bids and ours. We asked to view our competitors’ bids, and we were not surprised to see why their bids were cheaper.
Costs can add up when designing and installing an Ikea cabinet system, so we know that you are looking for both the best service and the best price. When Semihandmade puts together a bid we try to include absolutely everything you need to complete your project. This includes not only the doors and drawer faces but also the panels, filler strips, plinth, and trim. We then itemize every bid by cabinet so it is easy for our potential clients to double check the order. We then list the panels, trim, plinth, and filler strips separately with location descriptions from the get-go so that they too can be easily double checked. In addition to our attention to detail, we do not charge extra for drilling, we include free pieces of trim for unique cabinets (i.e. corner cabinets or those that hold appliances), and we include all of our shipping and handling costs up front.
Some of our competitors make literally hundreds of different styles of doors and sell these doors to various developers, builders, and other commercial interests. They are accustomed to potential clients that already have an understanding of the ordering process as well as an awareness of additional charges that may stem from potential holes or hiccups. The prices quoted by these companies are usually given in a dollar-per-square-foot ratio, with varying prices for doors, shaker-style drawer faces, and solid drawer faces. There are additional charges for drilling, setting up drilling, and packaging, and these initial bids do not include any panels, trim, plinth or filler strips.
When you calculate all of the additional charges for drilling, packaging, and extra panels and trims, their projects can end up costing a lot more than that first bid.
Let’s take a look at an example.
When Client A received her bid from Semihandmade, the estimated costs for her entire Ikea kitchen totaled $5317.00. The estimated cost she received from one of our competitors totaled $3339.37. A pretty big difference! On top of that, they offered an additional 20% discount, bringing their initial total down to only $2671.50. But which order is actually less expensive in the long run?
First, let’s look at the doors and drawer faces and any specialty trim that is necessary to complete this part of the installation. For Semihandmade, that accounts for $3485 of our initial bid. For the other company, that accounts for the entirety of their initial bid.
Next, let’s look at the panels, trim, plinth, and filler strips. Semihandmade takes these pieces into account, which adds up to $1757 of our initial bid. The other guys don't, so these are all additional costs on top of their bid.
When you combine these totals, you get:
Semihandmade cost: $3560.00 + $1757.00 = $5317.00
Their cost: $3929.25 + $2276.41 = $6205.66
What about the discount? It just so happens that Client A’s project came during a time when Semihandmade was offering 10% off all Shaker jobs (we do this fairly often, actually). Let's see what happens when we apply 10% and 20% discounts to the respective final bids.
After both discounts, the final total for Semihandmade's project is still $325.25 less than the other company's and actually $524.20 less than our initial estimate!
So, when you get a bid on an Ikea kitchen from Semihandmade and a bid from someone else, make sure you take a deeper look at the charges to find out exactly how much you'll be paying in the long run.