Fee for KD drawings

kateshomeJanuary 18, 2014

I have met with two KDs so far. One gave me her drawings and the price of each cabinet, the other KD told me I had to pay $500 to get a copy of her drawings. If I go with her the fee will be deducted from the purchase price. I don't want to pay the fee because I'm not 100% sure I will be purchasing from her. I want to compare the two, but how can I without the plans? Is this a common practice?

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I subbed for a very successful remodeler who had the same policy. It is a form of qualifying the customer; it separates the dreamers and tire-kickers from the qualified buyers.

I'd go with the one with the fee. She's a much better businesswoman because she forces potential clients to value her services from the beginning by not giving them away for free.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 7:20AM
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I never give a copy of any designs without a retainer being paid. If you want to compare costs, I'll talk you through what the big drivers are for the cost on your quote. But no two designs from two different designers will ever be exactly the same, unless you are merely handing them a list of cabinets to be quoted.

The devil is always in the details. And those details can run seven pages or more of indecipherable nomenclature that a lay person doesn't understand the significance of within the context of the design. If you are combing through a design and see MIPS with a $160 fee attached, do you know what that single detail is and (more importantly) why its included on the list of options?

If you are comparing similar level cabinets, there honestly won't be that much price difference for the same boxes. Most of the differences at a lower price level for cabinets (sub 10k for an average kitchen) is due to country of origin, quality of hardware used, and construction techniques. Most differences at the mid grade price point (15-30K average kitchen) will be the quality of wood and its finish. All mid grade lines are constructed well enough to be comparable in usage. Higher end lines are all about customization and personalization being the difference.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:10AM
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We are looking at Medallion platinum inset and Schuler inset. Any thoughts on either of those lines? Thanks.

I understand what you both are saying about a retainer and the value of the designers time and expertise.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:42AM
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My designer will give renderings and let you -see- the design before signing, but you don't get a copy of the plans until you've signed with her. I think that's very reasonable and fair to both parties, and gives you enough information to shop around.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:50AM
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Medallion and Schuler are the same thing

How you decide depends on exactly what you're shopping for? price, a layout, a brand, a look, a designer...or maybe a kitchen? Naturally KDs assess what clients are shopping for which affects how they work- risk versus reward-how likely is it that I will get paid?
NOTE though that a retainer is NOT a guarantee you will get the best work, but it sure is a start.

Our retainer is $1k or 10% whichever is greater, though I keep the ceiling at 4500. Like LWO we show you anything you need to know; how we work; and what you are buying but no hard copies.

Once we believe you have enough information and close enough pricing to make an informed decision we are done working unless retained, typically two design meetings.

We still have quite a bit of work ahead of us after a layout is determined, even after the order is placed.

I no longer give renderings or perspectives out. Last year a client poached a design based on a rendering. He came back looking for a competitive quote with a design he had "someone work out". It was mine, exactly, though minus a few critical details. I'd done several and jumped the gun and provided electronic renderings....
...I passed on doing any further work despite repeated calls (or the large size of the project). No more.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 10:40AM
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Schuler is sold at Lowes and to my knowledge doesn't offer inset.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:58AM
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Our new kitchen does not need much work for the design end as the layout is staying the same. I had pictures of exactly what I want for cabinet design and style. I also had a picture of a hood that has to be custom made. I also made it clear that I was open to any suggestions that they would have as experts, but both came back with the exact design as I had laid out for them.

aries61 - I saw the Schuler inset doors at the Kitchen design store. Maybe Lowes does not sell the inset style?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 12:08PM
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If they both came back with the same design you gave them then what do you need the copy of the design for? What are you trying to compare?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 12:12PM
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There were some minor differences as far as tray/spice cabinets and placement and drawers vs. doors. And I also received from the one designer the price for each cabinet

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 12:21PM
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If you go to the Schuler website, it states sold exclusively at Lowes. Could it have been a different cabinet line, maybe Shiloh?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 12:22PM
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aries61- You are Correct!!! They are Shiloh cabinets! Thanks for finding my mistake!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 3:56PM
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Kateshome: Shiloh should be less expensive then Medallion Platinum.

Every cabinet line has it's good and bad points. Quite a few GW users have Shiloh cabinets and have been happy with them.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:42PM
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"...I passed on doing any further work despite repeated calls (or the large size of the project). No more."


    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 10:35PM
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