About Us: ​We Work With Elite Kitchen & Bath Design Experts 

Customer Price Expectations vs. Reality

Submitted by admin on Fri, 12/02/2016 - 15:17

Last summer a friend told me he was getting ready to remodel his kitchen. “Did I have any suggestions or recommendations?”

I gave him a quick overview of cabinet quality. Then we talked about the pros and cons of working with a kitchen designer who did contracting, or a design build remodeler who sold and designed kitchens, or a contractor who recommended a kitchen designer.

He then showed me a floor plan designed by an independent designer (she wasn’t affiliated with a company), but recommended small local shops (my least favorite approach, but I did circle back around to give him my opinion on that one).

He then asked, “Can I do it for $50,000? I have to do it for $50,000. That is my bottom line. The house doesn’t justify spending any more money on the kitchen.”

His house is in south central PA and is valued at approximately $300,000. So at $50,000, he did have a nice budget relative to home value.  

Our local real estate has nice steady growth. And even during boom periods, it doesn’t spike much.  Living in the area I understood his concern. I know the payback on a remodel his size is longer.

I did try to re-direct him a little-I mean we are friends. I said, “The problem with a strict number is that you don’t know a thing about remodeling a kitchen. And you really haven’t given me anywhere near enough information to know either.  I don’t want to sabotage the process by speculating about remodeling costs, appliances, what grade of cabinets you buy, etc.… “

We looked at his design some more. And that was the last we talked until after the project.

So what did he spend? All in for his kitchen remodel-$62,000.

A couple of thoughts.

He was the guy that couldn’t spend any more than $50,000. Somehow he spent $62,000. How did he go from a guy that could only afford $50,000 to a guy that could afford $62,000?

1st. He always could afford $62,000. His price expectation was not driven by either his financial reality or the project's real cost, but rather a guess. Or a hope, but definitely not reality.

2nd. And he told me this without hesitation “to get what I wanted I needed to spend $62,000.”

Think about the power of “want” next time someone low balls a budget to you.

I know not everyone will increase their budget by 24% and $12,000. However, I’d rather be the designer that really digs into the customer's “wants” before I go scrambling for a way to cheapen the project.

And potentially lose a project based on a guess.


Dovetail Marketing is a full-service rep agency whose goal is to match kitchen and bath designers and remodelers with the cabinet manufacturers best suited to their business’ style and clientele.  Owner Bob Aungst III represents  Brighton CabinetryUS Cabinet Depot, Presidential Series from Legacy CabinetsHoliday Kitchens and StyleCraft