$850 to paint some kitchen cabinets? !?!

60 Replies

 Hello Bigger Pockets,

This is the bid from one of the contractors we had to evaluate our property that we are going to buy under an FHA 203k loan.

Our lender is forced to get a bid from a licensed contractor under FHA GUIDELINES.

This is a duplex in Chandler Arizona and each side is approximately 800 square foot.

803 W Ray Rd A and B

Chandler AZ 

Duplex rehab quote 

R-R dual pane windows. = 4,500 

Fix Cab floors,  Kitchen=225.00 

Paint uppers and Lowers.= 850.00 

Replace tubs= 2,200 

This price includes tubs and install. Additional cost may  apply if plumbing location change. 

Dry wall repair= 900.00 

R-R drywall and texture throughout units a and b 

Stuco repair= 400.00 

Paint Exterior= 1,800.00 

Threshold= 180.00 

Electrical= 750.00 

This includes changing all recepts, switches , coverplates, repair breaker box, label breaker box 

A/C Register= 505.00 

4 by pass closet= 940.00 

2 vanity boxes= 800.00 

Countertops A &B= 1,500 allowance 

Sinks= 500.00 

Vanities and Kitchen A&B


Total $16,050

 Does this sound about right? Anybody know of cheaper contractors in Arizona? I'm not looking to steal, but I don't want to be stolen from. Thanks

Some of the stuff seems a little high, some a little low. Hard to know without knowing details of project scope. And prices vary significantly by location. 

That being said - painting cabinets (and doing it right) is a lot of work. That price is less than I paid last time I did it.

@Andrew LeBaron  if he is licensed and insured this isn't completely out of line. you have to sand cabinets before painting them, and it takes time to make it look right. If your numbers still work you should just do it, if your numbers dont you need to consider these numbers next time. Your time is valuable, and the contractor went through time and effort to get licensed. I am a contractor and a investor so I am trying to take middle ground here, but not out totally out of line.

The price on painting the cabinets is probably one of the better prices on your list.  It's not just as simple as grabbing a brush and slapping some paint on them.  The doors and hardware need to be removed to do it properly.  They need to be sanded.  Every piece will require multiple coats of paint and then everything will have to be put back together.  

Get multiple bids and see where you can save.  You can always negotiate, tell the contract to sharpen his pencil if he wants the work.  Nothing on the list is high end stuff so any licensed contractor can handle it.

I painted our cabinets in our first house. OH MY GOSH! :) Lets just say it was  one week + of work. A friend was quoted triple that to do here in Middle of no where california. So the paint looked fine.

I have a contact that charges $2500 for an average kitchen.  So your quote looks reasonable to me.  The price is based on labor, so I would ask what process do they use, how many coats of paint, is it spray painted (important) and that you want to see a sample door with a painted finish, before hiring them.

These are stock 1979 basic low detail cabinets.

Thanks for the insight all, I learned a lot in this thread. I hand it to the man (contractor), $1,500 counter tops (in both units combined) seemed cheaper than dirt to me while $180.00 to replace a thresh hold seemed high. I thought I saw em at Home Depot for around $35.00, but I'm sure it's a pain to size it, then resize it so the door closes nicely.

I'm getting my hands dirty on this one; I'm sure to learn some basic rehab techniques.

@Andrew LeBaron   It seems like you would benefit from acquiring some hands-on experience. That would give you a feel for what's entailed in doing the work and allow you to better assess the costs.  Good luck!

i would always get 3 est.but those prices dont look bad for my area @Andrew LeBaron

good luck to you 

I agree that some quotes look high and some a little low, but in my opinion, $850 to remove hardware, sand, paint and reinstall doors and hardware is a bit steep. Unless you have a bigger than average kitchen, then I could see $850. I just sanded and painted cabinets in one of my properties and it was no easy task but it should take no more than a few days for a normal sized set of cabinets. Get a few more quotes, or simply ask that contractor to come down on the quoted price for refinishing the cabinets and they will likely but reluctantly agree.

@Andrew LeBaron  The pricing all looks pretty in line with what we would pay here in Oregon.  Many of the costs look pretty low, as has been mentioned.  I would check with other investors in your area that have done rehabs and will have a better idea of Arizona pricing.  Most construction costs are all about labor.  If his basic labor costs are in line with what is the norm in your area

@William Donnelly   I beg to differ with you.  Painting is not an easy task when done right, especially on cabinets. It has been a while since a gross income of $200-250 a day before expenses, licensing, insurance and taxes was enough to live on?

As someone who just painted cabinets for a flip, $850 is not a terrible price.  You have to thoroughly clean them, sand them, and put at least 2 coats of paint on them to get them to look decent.  

While the materials do not cost a ton, the labor involved is where the cost is probably coming in.

Have you done a 203k before?  Forewarning: contractors typically shy away due to the added reviews and paperwork (signed waivers from all subs is just good business, but many contractors do not request...).

Depending on the consultant you choose, this can be a miserable process OR there can be a limited difference from a normal renovation. That said the prices are average and in some cases low. One note... given there is electrical work (and I do not know AZ codes), but make sure your contractor has an electrical license / insurance (or suitable sub) to do the work. FHA will catch it on the itemized submission and question it.

We do some 203k work; not something I farm for though. A few of our contacts send over referrals as they do not like working with the appointed consultants, FHA inspector, in addition to local inspectors. Owner + consultant/inspector approval plus extended wait times for each draw, added on top of the often indecisive homeowners with a tight budget and wild expectations create the perfect storm for issues.

That seems cheap to me. I just had 2 twin beds with headboards painted by a professional and it ran about $1000 per bed.

I work full time selling Valspar OEM manufacturing paints ( and other woodworking parts and accessories) to local cabinet shops manufacturing and painting cabinets. They usually use Precat lacquers or conversion varnishes that include primers, catalysts, top coats lacquer thinners- also included are booth filters, spray masks, gloves, drying racks, sand paper (not your home depot crap) spray booths and expensive pumps and guns, just to name a few supplies.

I can tell you for for a gallon of primer, gallon of paint and catalyst, your looking at about $200 just in paint before you get involved with someone scuffing down the cabinets (if you do a crappy job here the doors will look bad) That is package white price- if you do custom color or add pigment you are looking at more $.

Sanding, primer- usually at least 2 coats, sanding between then a top coat. 

Of course you can get the cheap Home Depot paint and do them yourself and a month later and when someone opens your door at the open house and it chips you need to remind yourself- YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR,

We did a flip in Gilbert AZ and the quote to paint the cabinets seemed high so we hoped around and ultimately we found Building Material Outlet and bought all new cabinets for @ $2500.  We donated the old cabinets to stardust so they did the demo for free and I paid my contractor a few hundred bucks to install.  In the end is was more expensive then painting but worth it.  I would think you cold do a duplex for $1,200 if it didn't have to many cabinets.

FYI they also sell pre cut grant countertops, if you just have straight run cabinets you could probably do granite fairly inexpensively.

Those prices are at least competitive with what I would pay, and some maybe most of them better.

I just painted my kitchen cabinets and I would pay 3x that not to do it again.  I prepped and sprayed only the boxes and farmed out the doors and drawers to a professional which cost $500 and I did the removal and installation including hardware.

The bad part is I did a better job than the pro and it was my first time!

If these cabinets are junk spending $850 may be throwing good money after bad however, look into what Bob suggested.

Originally posted by @Lee S. :

I just painted my kitchen cabinets and I would pay 3x that not to do it again.  I prepped and sprayed only the boxes and farmed out the doors and drawers to a professional which cost $500 and I did the removal and installation including hardware.

The bad part is I did a better job than the pro and it was my first time!

If these cabinets are junk spending $850 may be throwing good money after bad however, look into what Bob suggested.

 Yeah, I think $850 to paint the cabinets is not a bad price, but I probably would not pay it for someone to paint 1979 builder's grade cabinets.  

So $425 to paint each kitchen? What type of counterops is he quoting at $1,500? How many linear feet per kitchen? 

It's impossible to tell how fair these prices are without a detailed scope of work. 

If you don't alerady have it, get a detailed list of what materials are being used and the type of work involved with each task. i.e. will the cabinets be degreased, sanded, primered and painted or just wiped down with a rag and painted with a brush? What paint is he quoting? Is it the walmart paint or is it Sherwin Williams Super Paint with undercoater primer?

What about plumbing fixtures? Are you reusing the old ones? What about the tub surrounds? Is he just replacing the tubs and not the surrounds? Is it an insert if so or will it be tiled or is he patching the existing? 

Get 2 more detailed bids from other contractors and compare the type of work, materials and prices. It doesn't look like much effort was put into this estimate. His numbers don't look solid to me. 

@Andrew LeBaron  congrats on taking the initiative to get your hands dirty. I plan to do just that when we do our first flip this year more just to learn then save money. Keep in mind however your time is money as well. Is it worth spending 8 hours at the house on a Saturday to save 100? Is your time worth more than $12.50 an hr? 

Post some pics of the work to be done and people can give a better estimate of how good the bid is.

So, as I'm sure you can all agree, the cost all depends on multiple variables. However, I disagree in the saying 'you get what you pay for' when it comes to contracting. I've seen far too many contractors over charge or simply do under par work.

It doesn't sound like there is a lot wrong with the property that would warrant spending 16 grand.  Do the work yourself and you can probably knock it all out in a couple weekends for close to nothing.

In my neck of the woods ,  Md , near Annapolis , that seems on the cheap side . 

One of the best ways to know if its too high is to get another bid and see where the other contractor come is at.

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