Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 20 of 49 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just trying to gauge under what circumstances would any of you guys order cabinets flat packed. In other words, cabinets that are not assembled but packed in individual boxes that you or your people would have to assemble.

Right now we have several large clients in the UK and a few in the US that order cabinets this way, but I’m wondering if any of the smaller scale contractors would ever do this.

Ordering flat packed (depending on quantity) could save anywhere from about 8 to 20% on the overall order (however keep in mind we are factory direct and not retail so normally the prices are cheaper anyway). Shipping cabinets this way reduces the chances of damage significantly and saves a ton on shipping costs. The flat packed boxes can easily be stored (again with little chance of damage) should the project not be at a point where you’re ready to install cabinets.



On the negative side depending on labor costs and quantities you may not be able to save much. This is what I’m having trouble gauging. Maybe use a standard Kitchen size with lets say 15lf of upper cabinets, and maybe 20lf of lower (couple drawer bases too) how long would it take you/crew to assemble this? We average about 9 dollars per cabinet to assemble, I doubt anyone could assemble them any faster then that, but then the shipping comes into play with assembled cabinets.

I guess the real question would be would anyone even consider assembling cabinets at all, or is it just not worth it to you? Im sure it would be a fairly big decision to even take this task on, or would it? Lot of questions I guess, any opinions would be appreciated.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,936 Posts
I've had clients who have ordered un-assembled vanities for their bathrooms. I have to charge WAY more for this.

I'm spoiled with customs. I can set a typical vanity including plumbing cut outs, even when the floor is out of whack and scribing is required in about 10 minutes.

Assembling a vanity usually takes about an hour or so.

Edit-sorry phone rang. Overall I think at the rates my trim carpenter charges and the rate I charge, assembly on site might come in way higher than the savings potential.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
I have never understood the appeal for a business to pursue using break down cabinetry. For a homeowner with more time then money then sure, they will build a kitchen out of pop-sicle sticks if it's cheaper, cause they never account for their labor.

It has always seemed to me if you were going tobreak down cabinetry and the quality level that comes with them you might as well just buy the already assembled cheap cabs off the shelf from Lowes or HomeDepot instead, about the same quality and cheaper since they are already assembled.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,716 Posts
I would not(and do not) have anything to do with flat pack cabinets--

You say that it costs you $9.00 per cabinet to assemble?--Based on what hourly rate?

A skilled helper in our area gets $25.00 an hour--A skilled trim carpenter WAY more than that-----


Customer would just flip out if I billed straight rate to assemble a bunch of particle board cabinets-

Bad stuff--------sell it to DIY types who will go blindly into anything that is a dollar cheaper.--MIKE--
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have never understood the appeal for a business to pursue using break down cabinetry. For a homeowner with more time then money then sure, they will build a kitchen out of pop-sicle sticks if it's cheaper, cause they never account for their labor.

It has always seemed to me if you were going tobreak down cabinetry and the quality level that comes with them you might as well just buy the already assembled cheap cabs off the shelf from Lowes or HomeDepot instead, about the same quality and cheaper since they are already assembled.
Right now the flat pack orders are for clients that order huge amounts, I'm also finding difficult to see how flat packed would be viable for something like a a single house. However our high end stuff Lowes or HD doesnt carry. I dunno...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would not(and do not) have anything to do with flat pack cabinets--

You say that it costs you $9.00 per cabinet to assemble?--Based on what hourly rate?

A skilled helper in our area gets $25.00 an hour--A skilled trim carpenter WAY more than that-----


Customer would just flip out if I billed straight rate to assemble a bunch of particle board cabinets-

Bad stuff--------sell it to DIY types who will go blindly into anything that is a dollar cheaper.--MIKE--
Honestly I dont know how the $9 number is calculated since it's done at the factory, but this is the rate I'm told. I'll have to do a little digging to find out. We have paricle board contemporary cabinets, but every flat pack order I've seen so far has been for solid wood cabinets, also to my knowledge no DIY has ever ordered flat packed from us. I know that would be a disaster in the makeing.
 

·
KemoSabe
Joined
·
14,233 Posts
Flat-packs have certain benefits when doing low end installs, such as a 6 story building with limitted access. The ability to get 6 or 8 cabinets in the service elevator as opposed to maybe 2-3 would easily make up for time spent assembling say 50 kitchens worth of cabinets. I've worked in a few buildings that I would prefer flat-packs to cut the trips by 2/3. I always remove the doors and drawers to join the faceframes on traditional cabinets anyway and after assembling a few boxed cabinets, you can easily get them down to 3 per hour, maybe 4.
I'm not saying I prefer them, but they do have their place in the market.
 
  • Like
Reactions: HomeElements

·
Administrator
Maker of Fine Sawdust
Joined
·
50,632 Posts
$9 is about 9 minutes worth on my time. What am I going to assy in 9 minutes?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,078 Posts
Right now the flat pack orders are for clients that order huge amounts, I'm also finding difficult to see how flat packed would be viable for something like a a single house. However our high end stuff Lowes or HD doesnt carry. I dunno...
It's scary to me that there is a 'high end' version of knock down cabinetry.

I can see them in a commercial setting but no matter how high end they are, for a residential setting other than a flip, rental or low dollar house?????????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,716 Posts
Thanks for that-Homeelements-I had no idea that flat pack cabinets came in any thing like Real Wood-

Still--doubt if I will ever again assemble another flat pack cabinet--Waste of time for skilled help.

Find the assembly times ,if you can,just for fun.---MIKE---
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Flat-packs have certain benefits when doing low end installs, such as a 6 story building with limitted access. The ability to get 6 or 8 cabinets in the service elevator as opposed to maybe 2-3 would easily make up for time spent assembling say 50 kitchens worth of cabinets. I've worked in a few buildings that I would prefer flat-packs to cut the trips by 2/3. I always remove the doors and drawers to join the faceframes on traditional cabinets anyway and after assembling a few boxed cabinets, you can easily get them down to 3 per hour, maybe 4.
I'm not saying I prefer them, but they do have their place in the market.
Good point

It's scary to me that there is a 'high end' version of knock down cabinetry.

I can see them in a commercial setting but no matter how high end they are, for a residential setting other than a flip, rental or low dollar house?????????
I'm in the same boat as you, I'm trying to figure this in all sorts of situations, and it's just not working out.

Thanks for that-Homeelements-I had no idea that flat pack cabinets came in any thing like Real Wood-

Still--doubt if I will ever again assemble another flat pack cabinet--Waste of time for skilled help.

Find the assembly times ,if you can,just for fun.---MIKE---
Yes they do come flat packed, I was reviewing an order this morning where a client had just purchaced 40 sets. For now I guess I have to take the factories word for what the are charging to assemble, untill I see their exact methods.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
967 Posts
HomeElements,

From the look of the stuff on your website it says China all over it, is this the case?
If it is I would have to opt out.

I have seen too much junk and bad service from the supplier to go there.

If it a quality product sure, but as others have said skilled field labor is way more expensive than unskilled shop assembly.
 

·
Full Service Renovations
Joined
·
1,318 Posts
I do not have a problem with flat packed cabinets. We have done about 8 kitchens in the past few years from Ikea.... PITA to put together but once you get the hang of it... its not to time consuming. We can now assemble a kitchen in a day. I just charge the HO whatever time it takes to assemble the cabs and then the install rate on top of that. They are not by any means the same quality as some customs that we have installed but for the price from Ikea they are not that bad either. If this is what the HO wants..... whats the problem. Charge appropriately and have a happy client.
 

·
Contractor
Joined
·
4,735 Posts
I could see if you have 'a' guy building the cabinets over and over and over again, he definitely COULD do it in a short period of time-so I agree that for large scale projects this could be a savings. As for $9- that works out to about 15 minutes at the rate of a $38 carpenter...who would put a highly skilled carpenter building knock down boxes anyway?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,716 Posts
I have yet to see a flat pack cabinet of the quality that I COULD STAND BEHIND.

Just last week I adjusted the doors on a kitchen that I installed 8 years ago. I have worked hard to earn the trust of my customers---I can't imagine how fast my trust would vanish if I advised people to buy low end stuff-- There is a customer for every level of quality--I like the ones who want High quality.

--MIKE--
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,705 Posts
Do the solid wood cabinets assemble the same was as the particle board, with screw in posts & the locking disc things?
Steve

Honestly I dont know how the $9 number is calculated since it's done at the factory, but this is the rate I'm told. I'll have to do a little digging to find out. We have paricle board contemporary cabinets, but every flat pack order I've seen so far has been for solid wood cabinets, also to my knowledge no DIY has ever ordered flat packed from us. I know that would be a disaster in the makeing.
 

·
Maker of fine kindling
Joined
·
6,199 Posts
You mean I can outsource the box parts too? Hmmm... I'll have to take a serious look into that.:laughing:

I cut parts for other shops from time to time. Essentially creating a flat packed job. But ours is completely custom to their design. From the little I know about places like Cab Parts and the like you can order custom sizes from their library of boxes. Not a whole lot of ability to customize.

This kind of thing either works for you or it doesn't.
 

·
KemoSabe
Joined
·
14,233 Posts
You mean I can outsource the box parts too? Hmmm... I'll have to take a serious look into that.:laughing:

I cut parts for other shops from time to time. Essentially creating a flat packed job. But ours is completely custom to their design. From the little I know about places like Cab Parts and the like you can order custom sizes from their library of boxes. Not a whole lot of ability to customize.

This kind of thing either works for you or it doesn't.
Just think Gus, you would be able to start a new business making cigar box guitars with custom edge banding details.:laughing:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
HomeElements,

From the look of the stuff on your website it says China all over it, is this the case?
If it is I would have to opt out.

I have seen too much junk and bad service from the supplier to go there.

If it a quality product sure, but as others have said skilled field labor is way more expensive than unskilled shop assembly.
Yes 8 of our factories are in China, our warehouse and show room location is in San Jose. These producst pass industry guidlines and the company supplies larger vendors like COSTCO, American Tile, and other international brands. We are actually one of only a handful of companies that is even allowed to import assembled cabinets from China (legally) There's still others out there who give products like these a bad name, so I do understand fully what you mean, and it's not for everyone.

I do not have a problem with flat packed cabinets. We have done about 8 kitchens in the past few years from Ikea.... PITA to put together but once you get the hang of it... its not to time consuming. We can now assemble a kitchen in a day. I just charge the HO whatever time it takes to assemble the cabs and then the install rate on top of that. They are not by any means the same quality as some customs that we have installed but for the price from Ikea they are not that bad either. If this is what the HO wants..... whats the problem. Charge appropriately and have a happy client.
Tatoo, so the HO purchaced from IKEA and then had you assemble and install? Honestly thats the first time I have heard of that. How many guys did you have working in the assembly process?

Will come back tomorrow to try and hit the other comments, freakin starving, thanks guys...
 
1 - 20 of 49 Posts
Top