One of the most common difficulty a client has when doing a kitchen is to how to compare “apples to apples”, meaning how to make a comparison between what each cabinet company offers so you can know the difference in prices and services for the final product. This might not be a problem in a “common setting” but when you are talking kitchens comparing “apples to apples” is really a problem!
Just to get a quote a client needs to contact a cabinet company, it could be going to a big store for home improvement or calling local companies that have little stores close by. So, when the person goes to the “big store” has to bring measurements and a “clear idea” of the layout so someone there can do what they call a “design” – it is not a design because they are only reproducing what ever you brought or said, so they are not creating a design for you- and because of their software that helps them fill out the spaces with cabinets, then they can give you a quote. Well, let’s go back a bit first, to give you this quote you would have to also choose a door style between all the cabinet companies they carry, and from those they offer different products, from their “top of the line” to the “builder’s quality”. Once you choose, not exactly knowing the difference between products, then they do their so called design and give you a quote. They would add all they can so it is the higher possible costly kitchen in your budget, so now you leave the place with a number in your hand, that most times don’t even include installation, and that is not a definitive quote because they would have to go to your place to measure and really be able to define what cabinets go where to be able to give you a real quote. To do this they charge of course! So you think you got a quote and off you go home and call a local company “to compare”.
If the local one that comes is a “general contractor” they measure the floor and give you a “ball park” quote without a blink. They don’t discuss if you want this or that, they are easy to quote and you think you got all you wish for. With them you don’t really know what type of cabinets are you buying, or who would install them but hey you got a quote to compare. Do you know if this quote includes the same cabinets and parts the quote of the big company had? There is no way to know, nor if the cabinets are the same quality either mostly because all they get is builder’s cabinets or Chinese ones.
So you decide to get a third quote, to make sure you will buy what your money can get you, and you call a cabinet company directly. Some charge for the visit but most don’t. The client states all they want in their new kitchen and the cabinet company might have brought some samples of the cabinets they carry and might give a quote right away or some, like us, need to go back to the office to do the design and create the best layout possible and determine which cabinet goes where to then be able to generate a quote. Because it is not the same to have three drawers or just one in a base cabinet, or 30″ tall cabinets or 42″ high instead, or the materials or so many other variables that we will discuss further on. So then the clients finds they got another quote, and this is higher or lower and really cannot tell why the difference between them, if they all look like doing the same design?
Well, quotes are different not only because the materials used are different, meaning not only that some companies have more expensive products, but just if you compare the same layout but if someone place a three drawer cabinet versus the other company not having drawers that makes a difference. I might have added a lazy super Susan in the corner while the other company didn’t include a corner cabinet at all, and just that could make a substantial difference in price again. Then the “other comparison” arises when one company offers cabinets with boxes in particleboard and the other uses “all wood”, but from these the so called “all wood” some are “Chinese-American” and come in flat boxes and you will have to find someone to assemble them, while the other are all wood/plywood all American cabinets and all of the doors and all of the drawers have a soft close system and are factory assembled? Big difference.
So after all of these the client has to decide which company to choose but still it not only means to buy different products but also might mean to be buying a different kitchen depending on the company because no one does the same kitchen nor the same layout, meaning when you compare those quotes there is no way to be comparing “apples to apples”!
The only way to compare properly is if you have a layout, with the list of parts so each company could quote it, in the same “level” of cabinets meaning top of the line with top of the line, or builders grade with builder’s grade right? But if you don’t have a list, exact and precise, the comparison is never going to be “apples to apples”.
So, how to get the list? You will probably would have to pay for someone to come, design for you, create a layout with all the details you require like this type of crown molding, or this many drawers and the double oven cabinet or the width of the pantry and each cabinet where it goes, exactly defined, and also the type of cabinets you can afford or which is the top of your budget, and when you get this layout with the list of parts and cabinets now you can go to the big store, the local one or you can even do your quote with the internet companies and really compare! remember to add installation, delivery and taxes to all, plus timing and execution plans.
We recently had a customer who obtained her quote with an internet company, and someone from customer service even helped her, so she thought she had it all right and exactly as she wanted her kitchen, so when we went to her house and then gave her a quote our price was so much higher she was very much upset. Yes our cabinets are a much better quality but she didn’t expect such difference and we were of course unhappy of not being able to give her a better price. Finally after much talking I got her to give me the list she had from the internet company and found out she had only quoted the base cabinets, didn’t quote any of the wall cabinets and she had also not quoted the pantry, double oven cabinet, corner cabinet and construction parts like the base toeckick, moldings and etc. When I found what company it was I did the quote using our list and our final price was even lower even though our cabinets are much better and offer soft close system in all the doors and the drawers which would be an increase in the quote she would get from the internet company.
A second example would be this family to whom we did a kitchen five years ago. They were now buying a bigger house and called us to give them a quote. We measured, designed and sent them the quote with the details of the parts the kitchen would have, but the client added two pull out trays for each base cabinet and rope molding on top of the crown molding and other extra parts. Our initial quote was for around 16 thousand including delivery and installation but with the extra “upgrades” the price increased to around 18 thousand. Two days later they called us to say that the big Store was giving them the kitchen with all the “upgrades” for only 16 thousand and they wanted to do the kitchen with us knowing how we work but they would do it if we lower our price to 16 thousand. We asked them to show us the list of parts from the big store, but they said they didn’t have it, the store didn’t provide it. So this is a typical case where the client thinks they are getting it all and comparing apples to apples but there is no certainty until their list is compared to ours and no one is going to provide the list if the customer doesn’t pay for it, because to generate such list of parts there was a lot of work involved. In our particular case we knew the big store had not gone to their house so their quote could not be final, plus we knew our client very well, they would use their lower quote just to bring down ours knowing we were offering more parts, better quality in the cabinets and better service.
So, yes having to pay to get a proper design is something few want to do, but it is the only way to properly compare. Many think that because they decided to do the same kitchen as the old one they currently have, they don’t need a list of parts, but still there is always an option for function improvement, and still the list of parts could vary because some might not include finish moldings or details that you might want to have or basic parts as a filler against the wall!
So yes, get your layout exactly as you want it/ design and type of cabinets, with a detailed list of cabinets and parts and then go shopping. Remember to compare the same quality so it can really be “apples to apples”.
Note: we don’t charge for the list of parts but we provide it only after we have given a quote and after receiving an “advance” from the customer that is not refundable though, meaning if the client buys from us the design made in 3D Modeling didn’t cost a penny or if they want to buy somewhere else we can provide the list and pictures but the advance would pay for those.
We spend several days going to the place, doing the models in 3D, thinking of the most function of the kitchen space, we create, we design, we make a list of parts, we quote, we serve you the best possible way ever and we give you a quote, or various quotes, and then, if you want the list of parts to compare with others who didn’t come to your house, didn’t work for you with our professional dedication well, it is fair to give us an advance as a response to our dedication and work.
For more information, we are in Central Florida and you can contact us anytime by email to email@example.com
We hope our information is of good help to you!
MARIA AND ORLANDO RODRIGUEZ
ORLANDO CABINETRY, LLC