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Tips for Hiring a Cabinet Contractor or Installer

Posted by Donovan Thornhill on Jan 10th 2024

Selecting the right kitchen cabinet contractor is crucial for any homeowner looking to enhance their space. Whether it's a simple upgrade, a full replacement, or an entirely new addition, the quality of work hinges significantly on the expertise of the contractor you choose. However, finding a contractor who not only has the skills but also aligns with your expectations can be challenging. To navigate this, we've compiled 10 essential tips to help you partner with a kitchen cabinet contractor you can trust, ensuring your project is handled with the utmost professionalism and care.

1. Know Your Project

Figure out exactly what you want to accomplish before you even start looking for a cabinet contractor. That way, when you make a contract you can explain in detail what you want to be done and get an accurate quote for the project.

At this early stage, you should also consider whether a contractor is necessary. Many jobs, like hanging cabinet doors in your kitchen or bathroom, are more DIY-friendly than you might expect.

2. Get a Reference

The best kitchen cabinet contractors are recommended by your friends and family. People you know will give you their honest opinions, and since they’ve seen a contractor’s work firsthand, they can provide you with information you won’t find elsewhere. Seek recommendations within your social circle, but be sure not to base your choice on recommendations alone. Anyone you consider should go through a complete vetting process. Recommendations are only for building up a list of candidates.

3. Make a List of Candidates

You might be completely satisfied with the first cabinet contractor you find. But instead of jumping at the first option, create a list of at least three candidates. With multiple candidates, you can compare prices, services, schedules, and other factors before deciding objectively who’s the best option. Taking extra time to select carefully is always preferable to rushing into a project with the wrong contractor.

4. Expect a Delay

Logically, the best contractors in your area are also the busiest. Don’t be surprised if the kitchen cabinet contractors you most want to hire can’t fit you in for at least a few months. At that point, you need to decide whether you can wait or whether it’s more important to find a quality contractor who can start immediately. Remember, home improvement projects usually hit setbacks, so don’t expect everything to go exactly as planned. Instead, be prepared to adapt.

5. Pick the Right Professional

Someone who laid tile in your bathroom probably isn’t qualified to complete a kitchen cabinet door installation. Similarly, someone who calls themselves a general contractor doesn’t necessarily have the skills to tackle every job. Make sure whoever you hire has the right experience and expertise. You want the job done perfectly, not adequately.

6. Look into Their Background

Some of the best advice for how to choose a good cabinet contractor is to ignore their sales pitch. Every contractor will tell you they’re the best of the best, but you need proof. Ask for copies of their license, check whether complaints have been filed with the Better Business Bureau, and look into their litigation history. You should also ask for references. Any contractor who isn’t eager to connect you with satisfied customers isn’t worth hiring.

7. Read Online Reviews

The internet makes it easier than ever to find information, including customer reviews, about every contractor in your area. Check how many reviews there are to get a sense of how much experience the contractors have. Then read through some or all the reviews to get people’s unvarnished opinions, keeping in mind that reviewers may lie.

8. Get on the Same Page

Before the project kicks off, ensure you and your contractor are on the same page about everything. Confirm exactly when the contract will be around, work out how often you will communicate and through what channels, and inform them of any special requests. Ideally, you go into day one of the project feeling confident about everything.

9. Pay a Deposit

Deposits for contractors can vary significantly, ranging from 10% to 50% of the total project cost. Often, a 10% deposit is insufficient to cover the initial costs, such as materials. For instance, in our case, we mandate a 50% deposit when working with contractors, specifically to cover the expenses involved in constructing doors. Therefore, it's important to set an expectation that a deposit may be a necessary part of engaging a contractor's services.

10. Sign a Contract

Good cabinet contractors want to spell everything out in writing and conduct all their business above board. Before any work is done, sign a contract describing in detail exactly what the project entails, what schedule it will follow, how much you will pay, and what responsibilities the contractor has to you. If anything goes sideways, the contract ensures you can hold the contractor responsible.

Questions to ask a Cabinet Contractor

Before you sign a contract with a kitchen cabinet contractor, there are a few questions you'll want to ask them to ensure they are a good fit for the project. These questions will help you determine if they are on the same page as you and have your best interest in mind.

Here are five questions to ask before signing the contract:

- Do You Have Insurance?

Every kitchen cabinet contractor should have liability insurance, workers' compensation insurance, and even auto insurance. Insurance keeps you and the workers protected in the event of an accident or injury. It also gives the homeowner peace of mind when the contractor and his employees come to your house to work on the project.

- Can You Provide Your License Number?

Many kitchen cabinet contractors might sound confident or look good on paper but don't have the necessary licenses to take on the project. Asking for their license number is a great way to know who's legit and who is currently in good standing with the state that you reside in.

- Do You Offer a Warranty?

According to Murphy's law, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether it's a defect in the installation process, the unfinished cabinets, or something that breaks during the installation process. You want to ensure that all of the work they put in is covered under a warranty.

At CabinetDoors.com, our products are covered by a one-year warranty starting the day they are shipped. This warranty covers most defects with the materials, including burls, pin knots, material streaks, or sap.

- What Does The Timeline Look Like? Is There a Wait Time?

You'll need to know how long your kitchen or bathroom won't be usable and how quickly they can start the project. If the contractor tells you the project will take longer than usual, you'll want to consider how long you're willing to wait for the project to be completed.

The timeline will vary depending on who you ask. For example, if you want to work with a cabinet contractor who already has a lot of projects on their plate, the wait time might be longer than the actual timeline. With a clear timeline of when they can start the project and when it will be done, you can plan accordingly.

- How Does the Installation Process Work?

If you're hiring a kitchen cabinet contractor, you're likely unfamiliar with the installation and preparation process. Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you need about how it works. This will help you understand the process and show you that the contractor you chose is well-educated and knows what they are doing.

Do I Need to Hire a Contractor For a Kitchen Cabinet Installation?

The truth is, you don't actually need to be a professional to install your own cabinet doors. While hiring a kitchen cabinet contractor will help streamline the process for you, it's much easier than you might expect to DIY the process.

At CabinetDoors.com, we offer free online resources, guides, and videos our customers can use to install their cabinets by themselves. With this comprehensive guidance, you can save thousands on installation and labor expenses.

Here are some of our popular online resources you can use to get started:

Shop High-Quality Materials For Your Next Kitchen Cabinet Installation

When hiring a kitchen cabinet door contractor, you want to ensure you ask the right questions and know what characteristics to look for in a good partner. To ensure the contractor can meet your needs and help you formalize a plan that aligns with your design choices, you'll want to also ensure they have access to high-quality materials.

At CabinetDoors.com, all our cabinet doors are custom-made and made to order. We offer various styles, sizes, and finishes to choose from. Once you find the set of doors you like, the contractor can complete the kitchen cabinet installation for you quickly and efficiently.


If you have any questions, consult our FAQ section or call us at 800-342-1010. 

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