One of the most common questions Kitchen Designers are asked at the first meeting with a prospective client is:

“How much is my new kitchen going to cost?”

The Kitchen Designer will often reply:

“How much do you want to spend?”

This cheeky response is a question the Kitchen Designer needs answered, but most consumers can not confidently answer it.

As a Professional Kitchen Designer it is up to you to educate the consumer so they can give you a realistic budget for their Kitchen Design project.

Let me show you how!

Kitchen Designers know that something as simple as a cabinet door style & finish change can add thousands to the cost of a new kitchen, but most consumers will not.

It is up to you as the expert to educate the consumer, and the best way to do this is with examples.

I recommend you,

Develop a presentation illustrating 3 different Kitchen Designs, all the same size, but at 3 different investment figures.

Think of this as a “Good”, “Better”, “Best” strategy. I refer to mine as “Principle“, “Signature” and “Masterpiece” Designs.

It will take some time on your part to do this but once developed it will be worth it. You will be able to use it again and again and it will become a business tool that increases your closing ratio with consumers.

Here is how to get started.

1. Develop a list of the options of products you sell that are at different price points

This could include different box materials, drawer systems, door styles, door materials, door finishes, interior accessories and decorative hardware.

2. Develop a list of options that are included in a kitchen that you do not sell.

These could include countertop materials, sink & faucet types, appliance categories & finishes, backsplash materials, lighting, and flooring.

3. Choose a popular Kitchen size in your market to develop your 3 kitchen designs within it.

I choose a 10′ by 12″ space to work with because it is a “standard” kitchen size and the final pricing of these kitchens would reflect what most consumers were purchasing in my market.

4. Design 3 distinct layouts using different product price points and design solutions.

Make these three designs as different as possible within your chosen footprint. Your goal is to show how different choices can impact the final investment figure of a Kitchen.

5. Price each layout to determine an overall investment figure for each Kitchen Design.

You may want to have a renovation contractor give you an average investment number for labor on each one of your designs. Providing this information will help your client determine a budget for the entire project.

Here are three kitchens I have designed under this process using the 10’ by 12’ footprint.

Principle Kitchen Design

Principle Kitchen Design

This Principle Kitchen Design is the most economical of the three designs.

You always want to include a design that is at your entry level for a kitchen. This entry level price point is how you determine if your offering is a good match with the consumer.

If their budget expectation is much lower than this example it will not make sense for you to move forward with them.

Here is how I developed this Principle Kitchen. Take cues from these lists to come up with your entry level offering.

Layout and Design

  • U-shaped design to echo existing layout in client’s home
  • Renovation kept to a minimum by retaining walls and not relocating mechanical systems
  • Cabinets not to the ceiling but taller at 90” from the floor
  • Pantry facing out into the room with adjustable shelves eliminating the need for rollouts
  • Functional design incorporating drawers and rollouts in base cabinets
  • Microwave on a shelf not built in

Products my firm would supply

  • Paint grade door in a standard color offering
  • White melamine interior
  • White melamine drawer boxes with standard side mount drawer runners
  • Modular sized cabinets with no modifications
  • Standard glass doors with white melamine interior
  • Basic crown moulding and under cabinet valance
  • $5.00 decorative hardware
  • White plastic interior accessories: angled spice insert, utensil insert, cutlery insert, corner lazy Susan, door mounted trash can, ½ lazy Susan baskets, white wire tray dividers.
  • White solid surface countertops

Products in design but not supplied by my firm

  • Top mounted stainless sink and standard faucet
  • White free-standing appliances: range, refrigerator, microwave
  • Build-in white dishwasher and standard range hood
  • Under cabinet puck lighting
  • Simple tile backsplash to underside of upper cabinets
  • Stock ceramic tile floor

In my trading area, a kitchen like this with a basic renovation would be approximately $50,000.00. In your area it could be much less or much more.

Price your Principle Design to get accurate numbers for you.

Signature Kitchen Design

Signature Kitchen Design

The design of your Signature Kitchen is your mid price point design. It should reflect the type of projects you like to do.

When you present 3 different price points, many consumers will narrow in on the middle range so make sure it is a design you are comfortable implementing.

Do not include a lot of one-of-a-kind items in this design since this can really slow you down if every project needs custom research and drawings.

Do however produce an interesting design that consumers in your area gravitate towards.

Here is what I included in my Signature Design:

Layout and Design

  • An island design for an open concept space
  • Staggered cabinets with some to the 9′ height
  • Cooking Hearth with custom arched top
  • Corner bank of drawers
  • Pilasters, posts and arched plinth details
  • Paneled side and back of island

Products my firm would supply

  • Maple melamine cabinet interiors
  • Maplewood dovetail full extension drawers with soft close
  • An American Cherry door stained in a standard medium tone
  • Custom Shaker Door with additional detail at the top of the door
  • Modular cabinets with some modifications
  • Maplewood interior accessories: tray dividers, cutlery insert, utensil insert, 2 condiment rollouts, angled spice insert, knife block insert and double recycle center
  • $20.00 per piece pewter hardware
  • Ventilation system built into millwork
  • Black granite countertops

Products in design not supplied by my firm

  • Built-in black wall oven, microwave and gas cooktop
  • Black counter depth refrigerator
  • Black composite under mount sink with pullout spray faucet
  • Decorative tile backsplash including full area in hearth
  • Large format porcelain tile floor

A kitchen like this in my trading area including the renovation to open up the kitchen to the living space along with all the features mentioned would be approximately $100,000.00.

This doubling in price shows the consumer how much different choices can alter the price of the new kitchen.

Masterpiece Kitchen Design

Masterpiece Kitchen Design

The Masterpiece design needs to be the kitchen consumers aspire to. It will have all the bells and whistles.

This needs to be a design where you show the custom capabilities of your design skills and product offerings.

Here is what I included in my Masterpiece Kitchen:

Layout and Design

  • An island design for an open concept space
  • Cabinetry to the ceiling including stacked upper cabinets
  • Custom sized cabinet boxes throughout
  • Arch glass door hutch cabinet doors with custom mullions
  • Arched open shelf above food storage area
  • Bead board stained wood interiors at glass doors and open shelf
  • Radius cabinets on back of island

Products my firm would supply

  • Birch plywood cabinet interior
  • Metal and glass drawer sides with walnut bottom, full extension soft close
  • Raise panel door style with applied moulding
  • Stacked crown moulding scribed to the ceiling
  • Perimeter cabinetry in a multi-step stained and glaze process
  • Island cabinetry in a riff cut white oak stained with custom highlight
  • Custom painted interior in upper glass door cabinets
  • Custom turned pilasters at hutch, fridge and pantry
  • Custom turned posts on island
  • High end quartz countertops
  • Slab style quartz backsplash
  • Walnut and metal interior cabinet accessories: dish drawer inserts, recycle center, pullout trash can, bread box with cutting board, spice insert, utensil insert, cutlery insert, knife block, plexy glass bulk food bins, pull out pantry system, 2 condiment rollouts and upper lazy Susan.
  • Multiple decorative hardware pieces ranging from $30.00 to $80.00 each
  • Refrigerator and dishwasher panels
  • 6 appliance pulls ($150 each)
  • Custom island hood in wood and finish to match island with control housing

Products in design not supplied by my firm

  • Integrated style refrigerator with bottom freezer drawers
  • Integrated style dishwasher
  • Built-in wall oven, steam oven and microwave drawer in stainless steel
  • 6 burner pro style gas range top
  • Undermount European corner sink and pull down spray faucet
  • Wide plank solid wood flooring

With all the high end choices used in this kitchen the price of the project doubles again to around $200,000.00 for this dream kitchen.

By developing a presentation to represent this concept or better yet, designing 3 displays in your showroom to represent this, you will have the best qualifier for pinpointing your clients budget.

As suggested, include in the price all the items that make up a kitchen not just what you sell. You may want to break out the pricing by what you sell and what you do not sell to more accurately show the prospect what your portion of the project entails.

I did build kitchens similar to these for my last showroom and took every prospect through a presentation that walked them through the differences.

My experience was that 70% of the people gravitated towards the Signature Kitchen Design with 10% to the Principle Kitchen Design and 20% to the Masterpiece Kitchen Design.

The better statistic though was that 80% of prospects that were taken through this educational presentation became clients. That 80% closing ratio was fantastic and I attribute most of it to this presentation.

I encourage you to experiment with this strategy.

Remember the average consumer purchases a new kitchen once or twice in a lifetime and giving them the information to make an informed budget decision is the best thing you can do for them.

Let me know how it goes if you decided to present options like this to your prospects. Better yet I would love to see your kitchen examples.

Drop me a line or leave me a comment below.

Jan Rutgers B.Sc. H.Ec.
Jan Rutgers B.Sc. H.Ec.

Jan Rutgers is a Professional Kitchen Designer with more than 25 years experience. During her career she has designed over 1000 Kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! She is the founder of VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

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