Article originally published January 3rd, 2012. Updated March 10, 2020.
One of the most common concerns granite fabricators have is coming up with a pricing list. If you own a countertop shop with several salespeople, are you sure you’d get the same price from each employee?
Since we help hundreds of countertop shops with estimating, we’ve seen a whole range of pricing methods. Here are a few methods to look for, and a few to look out for.
Granite Pricing Method #1: The Parking Lot Test
Some fabricators use what we call the “parking lot test” to figure out the price of a countertop. They look at your car and try to judge what you’re willing to spend.
Since there’s more competition for kitchen remodels than ever before, this is increasingly rare. But still, this isn’t the way to go about pricing your countertops. Not only is it pretty grimey, but it sets you up for future problems.
It doesn’t take long for word to get out on the street that you charged the lawyer $10,000 but the teacher $4,000. Customers appreciate consistency, and if you end up doing multiple jobs for them, they’ll want to see that your pricing adds up.
Granite Pricing Method #2: From $29/sqft
In many cases, advertising $29/sqft is the ultimate bait & switch. Sure, it’s only $29 per square foot if your only kitchen countertop is a perfect rectangle and you want a pre-fabricated bullnose edge profile.
Chances are, your customers will have something more complex. When you’re done measuring and your customer is done selecting a color that doesn’t make them dizzy every time they look at it, you’re no longer anywhere close to the advertised price.
If hardly any kitchens are going to fit into the bottom rung, why risk your reputation by advertising it?
But I won’t get any feet in the door if I don’t put out a showstopper price!
We hear you. But perhaps advertising price isn’t the way to go about it in the first place. More on that shortly...
Granite Pricing Method #3: Incredibly Complex Formula
We often see the noblest of fabricators try to figure their production costs down to the penny.
Once they’ve settled on that number, they add a profit margin, and the end result is the price they charge the customer.
This sounds like a great pricing method… in theory. The problem with the incredibly complex formula is that you’ll never truly know the exact cost of a job before it’s done. And customers demand an estimate before you begin.
So while this system attempts to be fair based on projected costs, those costs are subject to change.
Granite Pricing Method #4: The Open Book
Granite fabricators who use the open book method create an estimate that’s basically a price list.
You have line items for the material, the fabrication per square foot, the radius corners, the cutouts… everything is right there like an open book (hence the name).
This approach can be the wrong one for a few reasons:
- It’s easy for your customers to give this list to a competitor who can undercut you by a few bucks.
- Your customers might get overwhelmed by the information and suffer from decision fatigue.
When customers see every line item, they may get a bit paralyzed by it all – do I really need this level of granite? Am I being overcharged for the radius corners? What the heck is a cutout anyway? That can stop them from proceeding with the project, and it can stop you from earning a living.
Most people buy a countertop once or twice in their lives – it’s pretty unlikely that they’ve spent time researching and educating themselves on the intricacies of fabrication.
If you like the idea of being transparent and doing open book pricing, just make sure you take the time to educate your customers on what it all means. If you don’t, you risk losing them.
Granite Pricing Method #5: In Line With the Competition
Look, trying to be precise with your pricing really is dignified, but it’s not always the best way to approach estimates. Many fabricators waste precious time on calculating costs down the penny when they could instead be using that time to drum up more business or even spend more time with family.
That’s why this last pricing method seems to strike a chord with many fabricators looking for a way around the pricing conundrum. Get a general idea of what a fair price is in your area, and be within a few hundred dollars of the competition.
Almost all of our customers claim to hate competing on price – they’d rather compete on service. If you’re priced just a bit over the local competition, what do you offer that’s unique to you?
Sometimes, those “extras” you offer can help you charge a bit more or at least have a response to customers who claim they got a better price down the road.
Unique extras might include:
- We’re the fastest
- Our granite selection is the most beautiful
- Our staff is the friendliest
- Our shop is the cleanest
- We have the most beautiful showroom
Whatever is unique to your granite fabrication business, that’s what you should be advertising. Forget the $29/sqft stuff – forget advertising price at all.
Most homeowners are willing to spend a bit more for a professional who finishes on time, gives great customer service, and leaves behind an exquisite granite countertop that stands the test of time.
What’s Unique About Your Granite Countertop Shop?
Pricing is important for granite fabricators, but it’s not everything. Once you figure out which pricing method is right for your shop, spend some time figuring out what makes you unique.
If you’re not the most affordable shop in town, this will equip you with a reply when prospects and customers question your pricing.
No clue where to begin? We have your back. Check out How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition for Your Countertop Shop.
By the time you finish reading, you’ll be able to answer this key question: “Why should your customers buy countertops from you rather than another company?”
And if you need some extra motivation, check out 9 Unique Selling Proposition Examples From Countertop Shops. We combed through dozens of countertop shop and granite business websites to bring to you 9 examples of USPs.
Got Pricing Down? Give Better Estimates
Finally, once you have your pricing method all squared away, it’s time to start giving better estimates! Schedule a free demo for CounterGo, our estimating software for countertop fabricators.
With CounterGo, you can draw, layout, and quote your project in just 3 minutes.
“COUNTERGO IS A LIFESAVER. OVER THE LAST YEAR, I’VE BEEN ABLE TO GROW THE COMPANY TO SEVERAL JOBS PER DAY AND HAVEN’T HAD TO HIRE ANYONE ELSE TO DO QUOTES.” — ROBBY @ NORTHERN STONE (FARGO, ND)
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