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Choosing the Right Installer for Your Cabinet Job

by Jessica Santina

Sometimes it doesn't make sense to replace or reface your cabinets yourself. The cost of fixing mistakes can often be higher than hiring a professional in the first place.

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If you're considering hiring a professional craftsman or installer to replace or reface your cabinetry, consult this checklist:

  • Do the legwork. Plan what you want first, and then start researching costs to form a design and workable budget. Once you have this, you're ready to pick up the phone.
  • Draw up a list of names. Ask your family, friends, and neighbors for referrals--it always helps to know someone who has had a positive experience with your contractor. And although you can always find cabinet makers and installers in the phonebook or online, make sure you get references from all of them.
  • See examples. Ask to see examples of their work, especially if they've done work that's similar to what you want.
  • Check credentials. Make sure they have the required licensure, and check to see if any have special designations from professional organizations, such as the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA).
  • Collect bids. You want to pay as little as possible, of course, but beware that you often get what you pay for. Price should only be one contributing factor.
  • Examine the contract. Make sure there are clauses that spell out the budget, communication strategies, how changes or problems will be handled, a deadline for completion, and a warranty.
  • Consider chemistry. Perhaps the most important factor is whether you and the contractor see eye-to-eye. Does he listen to you? Is he willing to work with your budget? Do you get along well?

Putting some time into selecting the right contractor now can save you headaches in the future. Professional contractors should be happy to supply you with references or other information to help you make your decision.


About the Author

Jessica Santina is a freelance writer and editor with 11 years' experience in media, marketing, and publishing, and 8 years' experience as a college writing instructor.

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