My wife wanted me to make this picture my whole article. She says it’s what everyone should look for when hiring a cabinet maker. Very funny. Well, for people other than my wife, whether it’s a kitchen, bath, closet, or office, here are some guidelines to think about when you’re looking for a happy ending to your cabinet job. (Construction projects are very stressful.)
Let’s say you’re a homeowner and you’ve had the same cabinets for 20 years. It’s time to join the 90’s – oh wait, I mean the New Millenium! Anyway, say you want to upgrade for yourself or to sell later. Here are some steps to take, that hopefully will prevent the migraines that so often accompany owner builder projects.
Find the Cabinet Guy or Gal
First off, you have to find someone, to get the ball rolling. Ask friends, talk to your co-workers and see if anyone knows anyone who has had some work done. The wood kind, not the plastic! Word-of-mouth referrals are the best. If all else fails, you can use Yelp, Craigslist, or better yet, a paid service like Angie’s List where you can get actual reviews of providers from other homeowners that have already used them.
License and Insurance
Before meeting for the first time, ask your prospective cabinet dude/dudet if they’re licensed and insured. The reputable ones are, and the ones who are not can be as much as 50% lower in price than those who pay their dues, follow the laws, and are legit. Don’t be the homeowner with a half-done job and a no-show from the cabinet guy who gave you such a great deal. You get what you pay for!
Any reputable cabinet maker has plenty of satisfied clients. Ask if you can talk to them or see some of their previous projects. Here’s the rub of course – they’re not going to let you talk to the disgruntled customers. But if they have a list of happy campers, check ‘em out. Pick the ones who have a style of cabinets similar to what you’re looking for. What good does it do to go to a traditional face frame job when you’re looking for contemporary? Hello!?!
Trust your instincts when you meet with your cabinetry pro/super-model. You’ll get a read as to whether you can get along or not. Are they pushy? Are they telling you what you want to hear or are they really listening? Does they smell? If it seems like you can relate to your cabinet person, then go from there.
Drawings and Renderings
Make sure the cabinet maker can produce drawings and/or renderings of what you think you are getting. Ninety percent of all botched jobs are because the homeowner and contractor were not on the same page. Literally! Get someone who can show you what you’re getting – floor plan, elevations, sections. Don’t be afraid to ask, “What is this?” A good cabinet contractor will take the time to explain what you are looking at.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Just in case you guys are looking for the same nice qualities that my wife finds so compelling, here’s a picture of a craftsperson who I would recommend, if you can find someone like her. If she’s got a C-6 (license, I mean), why not?