Now I take all the information and write up a proposal for you, complete with pricing. All the information will be in an easy to understand format, and pricing will be "broken out" by area or room. Also, if you desire several different options, these will be priced separately as well. When I figure a bid for you, I calculate every piece of hardwood and every hardware item, and arrive at an exact dollar amount for your project. I do not do "ball-park" estimates. Any changes that you make are figured in the exact same way, and you either pay the additional or get a credit, whichever is the case.
It doesn't take long to figure pricing for a project. I can complete a proposal in a day or two. Then I schedule a meeting with you to present it to you, or fax it to you, or both.
Now it is decision time. Sometimes, a client will take time to let other bidders prices roll in for comparison. Decisions are then made based on a combination of factors: Obviously, pricing is one of the big factors. Another biggie is how you get along with an individual and how capable you consider him to be. If you have experienced any problems getting together with a merchant, don't expect the situation to get better, you may be setting yourself up for big disappointment. I know builders that take the bids and throw out the lowest and the highest ones and accept the one in the middle. There is no clear-cut "right way" to come to a decision, I think that "gut instinct" plays a part, too. I believe that there is such a thing as "too much information". Though it doesn't make sense, trying to get bids from too many companies tends to muddy the waters and cause confusion.
Once you have made your decision, and notified the cabinetmaker, (which, I hope, is me), then we get together and finalize the sale with signed documents and a deposit check. It is the deposit that puts your project on the boards and "gets you in line". Normally, as with any tradesman, the sooner you can arrive at a decision and get in line, the better for you. I require a 50% deposit/first draw, and the terms for remaining monies are stated in the proposal contract. At this point I also take accurate measurements of the space. The drywall in the kitchen does not have to be in place for me to take measurements. Often, I measure as soon as rough framing is in place so that by the time your kitchen is ready for cabinets, the cabinets are complete and ready for installation. I verify locations for all related rough plumbing and electrical receptacles so that if anything is not in the right place, there is still time to move it. At this point we also talk scheduling.