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Question about ordering countertop through kitchen cabinet place

Posted by sjhockeyfan (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 18, 13 at 13:18

When we ordered our kitchen cabinets, we also had them price the countertops (Ceasarstone). We then went and got a bid for the same countertops through a dealer-fabricator someone on this board referred me to. The latter bid is a full 25% less than the bid we got from the cabinet store. We are not obligated to purchase the counters from the cabinet place - my question is really, why the difference? Does the cabinet store take that much of a markup when you go through them?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Question about ordering countertop through kitchen cabinet pl

Usually the fabricator sells to showrooms at a discount so they do the bulk of selling for them. Many fabricators won't sell to the public and if they do, they mark it up 10% to 30% so that they're dealers don't have to compete. That is the honorable way to do business. Unless your fabricator doesn't have dealers and he has a showroom full of salespeople....that's probably what he does. Most businesses in the fabrication part LIVE on the loyalty of their dealerships that sell their product.

It's hard to say without knowing about the fabricator why his price was that much lower. Maybe the dealer over priced it. Or maybe the fabricator just wants a sale no matter what. I think maybe the smaller fabricators are prone to this....which is OK...if that's their business model. Always ask to see examples of their seams and get a few RECENT reviews or referrals.

And there are a few low-baller - fly by nighters out there that eventually go out of business. They low ball when desparate for sales.


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RE: Question about ordering countertop through kitchen cabinet pl

kompy, around here, there are usually two ways to get countertops (well, maybe three). One is to select your own slab at a granite place, and select your own (separate) fabricator (that's what we did last time) -- the fabricator picks up the slabs from the slab dealer and then fabricates and installs. The second way is to pick an all-in-one fabricator/slab dealer. That's the type I'm talking about here, where the price is so much lower. The third way is to buy your countertop through your kitchen cabinet dealer.

The place I'm talking to (the lower-priced one) isn't the same dealer/fabricator as the kitchen cabinet dealer uses, but they do have very recent very good reviews.


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RE: Question about ordering countertop through kitchen cabinet pl

Kitchen dealers don't make much on selling countertops. Most of the risk and little of the money as middleman.


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RE: Question about ordering countertop through kitchen cabinet pl

Then I'm even more surprised about the price difference - it's the difference between $4200 and $5700 - that's a heck of a difference for exactly the same thing.


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RE: Question about ordering countertop through kitchen cabinet pl

I would ask them both why the price difference....compare them. Maybe one forgot the labor charges and just gave you ballpark for square footage amount.

Get them talking and when they know you have two prices, you might start a bidding war. I'm not a big fan of that....but you will then probably get the best price you possibly can. Or maybe someone made a calculation error. You know, their prices are not FIRM until field measure....that's usually after they have a deposit. Something to think about.

And Trebruchet is right, there is little markup on quartz and granite for us dealers but that is fine by me. I hate selling laminate tops....they can get damaged easily in transit or install....and just not worth it anymore for us to sell. We do. But we don't want to. Believe it or not...markup on laminate is a lot higher than on stone products.


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RE: Question about ordering countertop through kitchen cabinet pl

Is your cabinet dealer helping you select material or are they just having you pick it on your own? Perhaps part of the markup they are charging you helps to cover time spent helping you coordinate your materials, touring different stoneyards and being present at the field measure and installation to ensure a job well done. I am a kitchen designer and this is how I work. If someone wants to get their own material, then all this becomes their responsibility. There is also risk involved in selling expensive materials and this has to be reflected in the price as well. It is certainly a good question to ask.


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RE: Question about ordering countertop through kitchen cabinet pl

The typical discount to a Kitchen dealer by a fabricator around here is pretty small so even with a modest markup it can be higher than at most fabricators. Some kitchen dealers in my area work at an almost standard markup even on counters- making the charge much higher than most of the local fabricators-

Then there is a range of fabricator pricing around here and there are a LOT of em- some advertise as low as 30/ft- others start at 70.

While you don't always get what you pay for your rarely get what you don't pay for.

In my own business- I use one place and only make the discount they give me.
What I include-answering questions, running down slabs at different yards, occasionally going to a yard with client, checking stone characteristics for them, helping select the stone and splash, loading images into the design on the computer for them, being on site for template and install, dealing with any service issues-
- by the hour I'd be better off fast a fast food place. I offer it when doing a project since I sell kitchens not just boxes. (note- I'm a tad quirky, don't expect all that from the typical KB dealer. I won't on the other hand sell just counters).

Since I will only use a first rate fabricator, my counter price could easily be as much higher than a bargain fabricators as you are seeing; though I'm not making what amounts to the difference between the two prices.

What you get is hard to say in this case- could be a cheap fabricator, a high markup up at the KB, a better fabricator at the KB place....


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RE: Question about ordering countertop through kitchen cabinet pl

I think I would ask the kitchen cabinet place if they can match your fabricator price. I just finished pricing laminate countertops for my son's rental kitchen. When I spoke to one of the kitchen places (I was doing this all long distance on the phone), and commented on how high his pricing was, he asked me who I was comparing to. When I told him the price I was getting and who from, he said that's who he gets his counter from and at the same price. Obviously, there is no way he could match that, and just made me feel better about the price I was quoted.

I think that there are lots of people out there who don't have the time or inclination to shop around for different prices, and just pay for the convenience of being able to buy it all in one place. My son being one of them. He does not have the time or opportunity (he's in the Army, and often away from home), and if he didn't have me to do the legwork he would just go with what the kitchen place could offer.

Basically, the kitchen place is playing the role of contractor, and also assuming the liabilities and responsibilities that that entails. I would be surprised if they weren't more expensive, unless they basically made zero profit on countertops as a cost of getting your business for the cupboards.


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RE: Question about ordering countertop through kitchen cabinet pl

All of the above would make total sense IF the separate fabricator I went to were a fly-by-night (not, they come highly recommended), IF our KD had anything to do with our countertop selection (she did not), or IF the estimates were not comparing apples-to-apples (but they are - same size, same cutouts, same edges, same material, including materials, fabrication, delivery and installation). That's why I'm so surprised.


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RE: Question about ordering countertop through kitchen cabinet pl

I am a fabricator.

My cabinet shop customers typically mark up my price by 5-10%. Most of them say they make their money on the cabinets and just want to make sure their customer has a good experience with the countertops.

Kitchen & Bath dealers usually have much higher mark-ups of 30 - 40%. From my perspective their countertop mark-up is excessive since they do little or nothing in the selection of the countertops or, worse yet, recommend a material like limestone which is a poor choice for kitchen countertops.

I'd make sure your 2 bids are "apples to apples" then , if you have confidence in the lower bidder, go with them.


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