Help me sort this out...granite plus fabrication price

rubyclaireOctober 11, 2013

I have been to several stone yards - some that just sell material and some that sell and fabricate. I am going with a fairly straightforward black granite (leather) with a single cutout for sink in 4x8 island and two small perimeter counters. Total of about 45sf.

The best combination of material and fabrication - considering price and quality - was from a source that claimed to do the black at $49sf installed. Great - until I took the layout in for final quote and turns out it will be more like $65sf installed.

I know I need to ask them why this is but I thought I would run this by you all first to see if you can provide insight and expertise. Thanks in advance!

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There are many ways that granite is priced. Some places charge for whole slabs, some for just sq. ft. used. Some charge for cutouts and for edges. The only way to compare prices is to look at the price for the total job. On the other hand, the lowest price may not give you the best granite and/or fabrication.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 9:44PM
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I am learning that this industry is a tad complicated for consumers. I guess I just thought $49sf installed meant just that. Seems that meant with no cutouts or edges. Who does that? It would have been better for them not to quote the $49 price since that is not realistic.

Sounds like I need to get more total job quotes before I have a clearer picture of my choices. I only thought I was done :)

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 6:59AM
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Think of it from a fabricator's perspective.

You do great work, pay worker's comp and decent wages and make a fair living. You compete against illegal aliens with a pick-up truck and a Metabo who advertise on Craigslist for $15.00 per square foot.

Unfortunately many of your potential customers are attracted to and are ripped off by these charlatans. What do you do? Offer an entry-level granite at an incredibly attractive price to get them in the showroom where hopefully you can sell your value proposition rather than a low price.

If a stylist offered you a $3.00 haircut, would you take it? How about a getting a tooth filled for 8 bucks? See? It isn't always about price, is it?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 9:04AM
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I absolutely agree that it is not all about price. This is about walking through the stone yard with the owner and picking out slabs that he is saying "I can do that for $xx installed." If in reality you cannot do it for that price, then I don't see why one would even suggest they could.

As to the haircut analogy, if my stylist said he could give me a certain haircut for $50 and then the real price turned out to be $75 I probably would have similar thoughts. Now my husband...he would go with the $3 haircut.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 9:19AM
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Sophie Wheeler

It's like eating out in a restaurant with an a la carte menu. You want a steak. That's $20. You want a potato to go with it, that's $8. You want a salad, that's $10. Rolls? $4.

Some people only see the $20 for the premium cut of meat. Others would prefer to see the whole bill of $50, but even with the $50 meal, there are still options to customize it more to your taste for extra $$.

But, the main thing overall is the restaurant you're eating in. If you're in a good one that buys good quality ingredients with even a fair quality chef, you're assured of a good meal. If you've got the coupon special for the $20 steak at the local barely passing health inspection place, you're not going to get a really good meal no matter what a Cordon Bleu graduate adds on to the lower quality meat and service.

Sure, it's OK to price compare, but when that's the ONLY thing you're comparing, you're setting yourself up for bigtime indigestion later on. Find a fabricator whose work is good FIRST and who isn't working out of a shed in the yard with a garden hose and angle grinder. Then, don't sweat the ultimate cost so much.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 9:34AM
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Thanks all - it sounds like I may have given the impression that I shopped by price alone. Quality is the primary consideration in almost every purchase I make as experience has proven that that is the best value in the long run.

This is far from a budget operation and my choice was a combination of all the factors - not just the price. This business has an excellent reputation and has been in business for over 25years. My confusion was how the job went from $49sf to $65 with a single cutout, simple edge and installed in a new build.

I think the conclusion is that I need to make the final decision on a full job quote, again considering all the factors, and don't look back.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 10:09AM
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Ruby, I think it's pretty clear what you are talking about. While many don't have large open budgets and need to be efficient and economical, I doubt many, anyone, who comes here (few otherwise for that matter, around here) is interested in hiring illegal hacks. Going to a nice store does not eliminate that problem, either. We can get stuck with them, sneakily even, when the person, company, GC we hire relies on them! There are plenty of Americans without adequate training doing substandard work too, for that matter. And that is not low bid shopping either, it can happen even with the highest; seemingly great credentials/reference. So you always have to be careful wherever you go.

Only he can tell you how he upped the price $15 per foot but that it is not an uncommon sales tactic. You have to be sure to ask what add-ons or additional fees will be added with any purchase, to avoid surprises at the end.

Pricing methods vary by yard or store. Some include, say, a sink and a basic edge in the price. Others will charge extra for them when they know the specifics of the job. Some will charge for the slab, others will price by sf. They will all need to understand your installation to see if any additional work is required in order to provide a real quote (support for a heavy sink, for instance, fancy edge, unusual sink cutout, special finish like honed or leather).

I agree it does not foster trust to be told one thing intially, or lured in wasting your own precious time, and then have games played. If he had presented it differently, that would be another story. $50 sf is the base price but we need to add on for sink, edge, etc so it could be up to $65 depending on your installation. That is my least expensive stone and the best price I can do.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Sat, Oct 12, 13 at 14:54

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:39PM
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Thanks snookums - I appreciate your response.

I called and got more detail and the granite is $49sf and then the other charges are for sink cut-out, templating, delivery and island bar supports.

This is the information I needed and I now have a better understanding of some of the additional factors that can affect pricing. Problem solved.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 3:30PM
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We had the same experience where the price quoted "for the granite" doesn't include the cut outs, edging, etc. It makes sense, if you're doing an island without sink you wouldn't want to have a sink cut out fee included in sf price. Most fabricators we dealt with quoted us this way: (total square feet ÃÂ price per square feet) + (price for sink cut out ÃÂ amount of cut out) + (linear square feet to be edged ÃÂ price for special edge per square feet) + any other special costs (e.g. installation in high rise). We found we that in order to compare quotes we had to be very specific and then calculate total finished price per square foot ourselves.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 11:11PM
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I found the whole pricing thing to be a bit confusing and maybe annoying. Okay, so we saw $35/sq foot for solid surface, $61 for granite - this was at the big box stores. That $35 looked darned good! But then when they added in fabrication costs, and sink install (never mind that it was a "free" sink), etc., and suddenly the $35 turned into a budget draining monster. Ditto for the granite. I understand why the pricing was that way - there can't be a standard price for those extras, because each person is going to have different add ons. But it is still confusing, especially for someone who hasn't ever done this before (bought counter top materials).

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 12:03AM
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Hopefully, this will help other novices understand the process a bit better and know the pertinent questions to ask.

Thanks again for the helpful responses!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 7:54AM
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