This page outlines some of the most common questions clients have. If I’ve missed anything, please email me [email protected]
How much do you charge?
The short answer is, it depends. My quotes are currently generated based on shop rate of $75/hr. A project that takes a full day would cost $600 plus materials, delivery, and installation (if required). There are a number of factors that go into the cost of a project. Here are several of the major cost differentiators:
- Paint-grade vs stain-grade.
- Paint-grade materials are not only less expensive, they require less precision and accuracy during construction because nail holes, minor gaps, and other imperfections can be easily filled with quality products that provide for a perfectly smooth paint finish.
- Stain-grade or other natural hardwoods on the other hand, can vary in cost significantly depending on the species of wood. Oak, Maple, Cherry, and Mahogany are common hardwoods used in cabinetry and furniture and require high-quality stains and clear protective finishes. These materials also require a much higher degree of accuracy and joinery (how the pieces fit together) that increase the shop time required to build the project.
- For all projects, I almost always build the structural elements from plywood. Plywood costs more than particle board and other products commonly used in store-bought options to keep costs down. Particle board and other fiber board products have their place, but more often than not, these products don’t stand the test of time.
- Design complexity and style
- Projects with specific design requirements like large crown moulding, raised panel doors (which are ordered from a subcontractor), decorative moulding, lighting, or uncommon shapes, are more expensive than simple shaker-cabinets.
- The hardware available is constantly evolving. Soft closing hinges and drawer slides offer a satisfying feeling of quality and luxury, but are easily more than twice as expensive as their simpler counterparts.
- Handles, knobs, glass, and other visible decorative hardware can vary almost infinitely and are dependent on your taste and budget.
- Some installations are more straight-forward than others. Most projects are designed to fit in a very specific space or opening and almost always require adjustments on-site and/or moulding and trim that are cut and installed on-site. Some installations can take a day or more and are easily forgotten when comparing the cost of store-bought furniture and cabinetry vs custom built.
What type of work do you do exactly?
I focus on woodworking projects with specific requirements that are unavailable in most store-bought or mass-produced options. Specific size requirements and optimum utilization of available space are the two common reasons most clients seek something custom made. Here are some of the following types of projects I can handle for you:
- These are structures that fit into a wall alcove or within a specific space available, things like entertainment centers, bookshelves, desks, etc.
- Kitchen cabinets.
- There are many options for kitchen cabinets available in the market. I usually can’t compete with other options, but I can definitely help when you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for somewhere else. Often these are small kitchens where every square inch needs to be utilized efficiently.
- Desks are one of my favorite types of project. There are obviously many options available in the market, but come clients are looking for a specific combination of features they can’t find in a single product. I believe desks are meant to be unique to their owner.
- Closet organizers.
- Again, there are many options available in the market, but a specific combination of features and space utilization is where I can help.
- Custom furniture or other unique projects.
- I can build free-standing furniture, tables, benches, and chairs, but these are less common projects because specific sizes are less of a concern for most clients. If your project fits into this category, please see What’s the next step/how do I get started and I would be happy to let you know whether I can complete your project for you.
What type of work do you not do?
In order to offer a high level of quality and craftsmanship, I simply can’t offer everything. Some of the following services I do not cover are:
- Refinishing (sanding, staining, refinishing of existing woodwork)
- Very large projects. Projects estimated at approximately more than 1 month (very large kitchens, whole house remodeled, etc.)
- Projects that must be completed entirely on-site (crown moulding installation, baseboards installation, paneling or other wall skirting, decks/patios, etc.) I have done this work in the past, but in order to keep my overhead at a reasonable level, I am currently not offering these services.
Do you charge for estimates?
It is very difficult to give a rough-estimate for most projects because of the many factors that contribute to cost. My estimates average about $100. This includes and in-person meeting, measurements of the available space, gathering project requirements and expectations, answering any questions you have about the process, architectural drawings of the project, and a detailed quote for the project. I do not like to rush this process. The goal is for me to understand your needs and desires and also ensure that you understand what you’re getting from me.
How long will my project take?
As outlined in the cost for custom work, projects vary based on materials and design complexity. Upon estimating your project, I will provide you with an estimated timeline for the project as well as a target start date. Unfortunately there are almost always setbacks. I am a one person operation and not only does life get in the way from time to time, but sometimes changes have to be made mid project. I do my best to account for these in estimates, but estimates are not perfect. If your project must be completed by a specific date, in a shorter period of time than I have estimated, I am probably not the person for your project. I place a priority on quality work without cutting corners to save time or money just to get something done on time or within budget. Work forced into an unrealistic budget or timeline almost always has to be redone in the future.
What is the best way to contact you?
I spend time almost every morning and evening responding to emails, texts, and voicemails. While I’m working on a project or meeting with a client, I prioritize my time for communication with that client. In order to provide thorough and thoughtful responses to all of my inquiries, I prefer to set aside time at the beginning and end of each day to focus on responding to emails, voicemails, and texts. The best way to get ahold of me via phone is to shoot me an email with a date and time you would like me to call you. I usually share my personal cell with customers once we’ve begun the estimating process so that you can easily get in touch with me.
What forms of payment do you take?
I prefer checks, but I do take cash and credit/debit cards. I do not give cash discounts because I claim all of my income. If you prefer to use a credit or debit card, I ask that you split the transaction cost of 2.75% with me (for every $1000 spent, there would be an additional $13.75 owed to cover 50% of the transaction fee). For this reason, I encourage customers not to use this form of payment, but it is available.
How many people work for you?
I am currently a one person operation. I handle my emails, phone calls, texts, accounting, invoicing, estimating, building, etc. I wear more hats than I would prefer, but I’m hoping to hire help in the future. As of now, this structure allows me to focus on custom projects, ensure quality construction, and keep my overhead as low as possible.
What’s the first step/how do I get started?
For the quickest and most thorough response, please email me ([email protected]) with the following:
- A brief project description (type, rough size, desired material (paint-grade vs stain-grade, etc.)
- Drawings (if you already have them)
- Links to ideas and design references
- Your budget for the project (this will help me quickly determine whether I can complete your project as described within your budget. If not, I can offer alternatives that fit your budget)
I have other questions that you haven’t addressed here.
I have recently updated these FAQs and I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have and update this page to include more detailed information or clarity where it may be lacking. Please don’t hesitate to email me with your questions or suggestions.