Embarking on a remodeling expedition can be difficult, time consuming, and filled with uncertainty. Remodeling projects come in all shapes and sizes, but the most important part of any project is planning ahead and doing your homework. With choosing a custom cabinetmaker capable of designing, manufacturing, and installing complete custom cabinets, there are a few things that can set you up for success from start to finish.
1. Meet your Cabinetmaker
The first step in hiring a custom cabinetmaker is meeting with him/her, discussing the project and getting a feel for whether the company is right for you or not. First impressions are very important and you need to feel that your cabinetmaker is able to communicate well with you, listen to you, understand your needs, and explain that he/she is capable of doing the job. We meet people every day, and we connect with some and not with others. You need to be comfortable with the person who is going to be your point of contact.
2. License and Insurance
Before you begin any custom cabinetry project, you need to verify that your cabinetmaker has the proper license and insurance. In the state of California, Cabinet contractors are required to have a C-6 license. This license is backed by a bond that can be collected if your custom cabinetmaker fails to perform the agreed upon services. Every licensed contractor must also carry liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. Verifying the license and insurance will eliminate any cabinet makers who are merely operating out of their garage. These cabinet makers work without a license and without insurance, offering lower prices but with much greater risks. Cabinets are one of the biggest investments you will make in your home, and you will want to choose wisely.
There is no reason to proceed with any custom cabinetmaker until you have read through a few positive references. With any contractor you are considering, you should always ask for references. Of course, no one is going to give you any bad references, but you will find that you can learn a lot from talking with previous customers. Don’t be shy, CALL THEM ALL! After a few phone calls, you should have a much greater understanding of the quality and character of the custom cabinet builder you are considering.
4. Brick and Mortar
Make sure the cabinetmaker you are considering has a verifiable location that is somewhat close to your project. You want to make sure he’s not working out of his garage, and you want to verify that he is truly in the custom cabinet business – not just a middleman getting his cabinets from someone else and claiming to be making them. I have always encouraged my customers to drop by the shop and see their project in the works. It gives them the ability to connect with the project and really feel a part of it.
Lastly, you want to make sure that your cabinetmaker will provide you with complete shop drawings for you to review prior to any work beginning. A good custom cabinetmaker will show you a “plan” view and “elevations.” This should show the layout and include all dimensions, details of doors and moldings, and much more. After reviewing and understanding your drawings, grab a pen, sign every page, and have your custom cabinetmaker provide a copy for your personal records.