Pricing a new countertop material - what's your experience?

I'm doing some early consumer research to identify price points for existing countertop materials. I'm starting up a company that will provide a new category of countertop material that will be more expensive than plastic laminate, but less than solid surface materials and stone. In order to make sure that we're pricing well, it will help to get better information about the installed cost of existing materials.
Because the cost of installation varies from region to region, the final cost seems to vary quite dramatically. If you've installed new countertops recently, I'd really appreciate knowing:
a. what material did you use? b. what was the final installed cost per square foot? c. did you buy through a Big Box, or go to a local specialist? c. which part of the country do you live in?
Thanks very much for your input...this is exactly the kind of early feedback that will help us produce something special.
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free market research, I will pass on feeding the data base.
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SQLit wrote:

No one said your numbers had to be accurate nor even truthful, SQ. Maybe you want to reconsider. ;)
R
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Jeez...give the guy a break. I don't know a thing about him or his company, but he could be a regular Joe like you or I struggling to get a new company off the ground. If he's operating out of his basement, he's propably not going to have the funds to go out and hire a consulting firm to work up a market analysis.
Richard Johnson PE Camano Island, WA
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Rich-out-West wrote:

What marketing firm? He could do targeted mailings, pick up the phone and call around (there are plenty of places that have toll free numbers), plenty of research can be done on the internet from actual web sites as opposed to random samplings from random people on Usenet. He doesn't need decimal points, just SF prices from around the country. Who on here can give SF prices for the entire country?
I appreciate your "give-the-guy-a-break" mentality, Rich, but someone who expects someone else to do their homework for them is lazy or not enough of a go-getter to make a business fly in the first place. What's the use in feeding a delusion in that case?
R
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Anytime you're starting a new company, you should price the product or service as low as possible. You already have a ball park price range. If it's better than plastic laminate, and you can sell for about the same price, while still making enough money to put back into the business and for expenses, then people will start buying. An accountant can tell you if it's possible.
If your sales are doing good after a year or two, then slowly start to increase your price. If your sales are doing great after a year, then increase the price faster. Either way, you didn't lose anything, because you got your foot in the door.
If you are simply making and selling the countertops, then I don't see why you need the survey. If you're trying to do installations on a nation-wide basis, that's a pretty ambitious project for a startup company.

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You are right about installation costs being variable around the country so in my simple mind that should be a non factor. You are trying to sell a new countertop material not installations. You don't say what this new material is and I have no idea what your associated costs of producing this material are. If it were me I would sell it as cheap as what I could afford to develop a demand. Once you have created a demand you could then adjust the price accordingly. Since you have no demand yet you need something to spark an interest in your product. A low price is usually pretty good in getting people to take a look at what you have. Production costs should be the key element in determining your pricing IMO. What is this new material?

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I appreciate all of your responses. Here's the thing. In my region, the ratio of material price to installed price varies greatly by product. At the installed level, solid surface and granite are roughly equivalent, with engineered quartz coming in at roughly 20% above that. Laminate comes in at about 25% of the price of SS and granite. So while it's relatively easy to check the retail price of materials, the installed price is much harder to get at. In my market, the price point I'm heading for would be right between plam and granite.
Call me naive, but I was hoping to get a very high level idea of how these kinds of comparisons look elsewhere, just to judge the variability. I've never used Usenet before, but a book on new product development suggested this forum as a good place to get some very preliminary feedback.
This is certainly not the only avenue I'm persuing, but I felt it couldn't hurt to ask. Perhaps I was mistaken.
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mcburja wrote:

Perhaps you're mistaken on the value of the numbers you'd get here. In your area, the market you know best, installed prices vary greatly - it's the same in other regions as well. If someone gave you numbers that looked great, etched in stone almost, where would those numbers fall in the bell curve of that guy's area's numbers? Impossible to tell. He might be dead average, high or low. Without determining what the deviation is, the numbers are just a shade better than a guess.
If you checked out a Means book, they'd have the range of prices for the different materials, labor costs, and all modified by a factor to reflect a particular area. This from their web site: "City Cost Indexes covering all three-digit code sectional centers in the U.S. and selected locations in Canada. These cover more than 930 locations in all."
Means is just one of the extimating references that provide similar, locally modified numbers. Any of those would be far better than a random response in a newsgroup, and most likely all of the information you would need to get your pricing in order.
R
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OK, I'll bite. This information is from the Boston,MA area for Fall 2005 pricing:
1 1/4" Blue Eyes: $95/sq ft 1 1/4" Blue Pearl GT: $65/sq ft 1/4" Radius: $18/linear ft 3/4" x 4" Back splash: $28/linear ft (blue pearl), $39/linear ft (blue eyes) Undermount sink cutout: $275 Mount sink to stone: $100 Template & installation: $21/sq ft
These figures are based on CNC machined edges which are higher than hand ground edges.
So what is this new countertop material you are considering? In my opinion, there is an extremely high resistance to any new building material until it has developed some track record, but then you end up with a chicken and egg problem.
-al sung Rapid Realm Technology, Inc. Hopkinton, MA
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That's very helpful - thanks, Al.
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What RicodJour said about getting a Means http://www.rsmeans.com is also an excellent idea.

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I've read things like that before about newsgroups, but everything I read was about basic startup ideas. I never read where you could ask about how to price an item.

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FYI -
What your source book apparently failed to mention is that USENET is basically a free-for-all. You can get everything from complete *hit to golden nuggets on USENET. The hard part is finding the gold.
This particular forum (alt.building.construction) has plenty of *hit and a few sources of gold, as do most of the "alt" forums. You have to have spent some time here to figure out who is providing which.
Tip one: get a new mail address. Starting a new business using Sun Life's email is a bad start, unless this is part of your termination agreement with Sun Life.
Tip two: use some common sense BEFORE asking a question here. Ergo: in North America, construction is a very regional industry. You have given no idea where the market is which you are asking about. For that matter, you have not even indicated which COUNTRY. Yes, believe it or not there are people here from more than just one country/region.
Tip three: you have answered your OWN question so what you are asking is not what you really want to know.
You have apparently got material costs and know that laminate installed is 25% of granite installed. You can therefore conclude (substitute whatever your regional market pricing happens to be) that if you want to be in the middle: granite at $4 per square foot installed; laminate at $1 per square foot installed; your product should be priced at or around $2.50 per square foot installed.
Installed price is, of course, made up of materials and labour. Regional differences aside (and these can be significant), laminate is an inexpensive material with does not require highly skilled labour to get to the "installed" stage. Granite, Solid Surface and engineered quartz are all more expensive materials and require various degrees of skilled labour to get to the "installed" stage. Within the granite market itself there can be HUGE variation in the final "installed" price based on the quality of the material, the complexity of the installation, the distance from quarry to site etc etc etc.
Final tip: know YOUR product, know YOUR market, set your price. Unless you are willing or able to provide details of your product and market you will get no useful information here or anywhere else.
Good luck,
DBT

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You mean like Corian...
http://www.kitchensfitted.co.uk/ChoiceComponents/corian_worktops.php
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CWatters wrote:

Corian is a solid surface material.
R
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wrote in message

Deja vu... maybe back to butcher block, ceramic tiles or some poured material, like concrete
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says...

Something like Wilsonart's Solid Surface Veneer?
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Corian...

Ok like the Geta range then...
http://www.westag-getalit.de/index.php?a 1
http://www.westag-getalit.de/wg-laminate-elemente/index.php?aI7
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If you are supplying a new building material that is suitable for customer installation then you should be able to price it slightly higher than laminate but be prepared to justify the cost. It leaves you a question of distribution channels. If you want to sell through the Home Depot, Lowes type stores you will need to come up with a price that satisfys their buyers.
If the product requires installation by a professional (corian, marble, granite) then you would supply a price to the installer and let them add their costs.
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