Give me the folder!“The customer is always right.”

No, actually they aren’t, but they are always the customer.  And, they’re not always easy to work with, which often plays a big part in their overall kitchen remodeling experience.

Customers should have high expectations for their designer and cabinet supplier, and reputable dealers welcome knowledgeable and prepared clients.  Designers enjoy working with customers who want to have an interactive role in planning their kitchen remodel.  And everyone in the process clearly understands that ultimately, the customer calls the shots and has the final say.  But just because a customer can exert authority doesn’t mean they should abuse that authority.  Most customers will enjoy a great experience as long they remember that they’re seeking the help and expertise of a professional who genuinely cares about their wants and needs.

So what’s the big deal about being a challenging customer?  For starters, they will rarely get the best possible price.  Busy designers, faced with the need to work on several projects at a time, might choose to put the challenging customer’s plan on the back burner.  Of course there is the matter of creativity.  A busy designer may not feel overly inspired when working on Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so’s plan.

So what are some of these challenging customers like?

The Nomad is eager to get the best possible deal and is determined to visit showroom after showroom to do so.  They diligently search for a design that they love but then price shop that design over and over looking only at the bottom line.  The Nomad fails to consider that each designer is investing a lot of valuable time into their work.  They don’t appreciate the fact that even though two designs may look quite similar, chances are they are not – especially if there is a significant price difference.  With the Nomad, there can be no real winners.  Although they may eventually find a dealer who will steal the design and undercut the price, they are likely to get exactly what they pay for.

The Player does not give accurate information up front – it’s a bit of a game to them.  They feel like they’ll have a negotiating advantage if they share an unrealistically low budget.  The Player believes that keeping the real deadline a secret will prevent the designer from knowing how desperate they are to get started.  At seemingly every step of the way they provide less than complete, and sometimes downright untrue, information never realizing how difficult they are making the project.  The Player forgets that “time is money,” both for them and the professional designers they are working with.  With just a little effort up front to check references on their potential contractors, they could quickly develop the trust to shop with confidence.  More often than not, honest and open customers receive the same treatment from the designers they work with.

The Procrastinator is late for the very first appointment and it goes downhill fast from there.  They don’t return calls and when they finally get around to an email reply, it is almost never complete.  They postpone hardware and appliance selections time after time, cancel meetings at the last minute, ask for samples and don’t return them on time, and drag out every aspect of the job.  In fact, it seems that everything other than this job takes priority… until it all becomes an emergency.  Then the screaming and panic starts.

The kitchen and bath industry is so very complicated, with seemingly insignificant items like hardware selections impacting timing and cost.  It typically takes weeks of careful planning, thoughtful design, and meticulous attention to detail before cabinets can even be ordered.  Then, depending on the brand, quality, and requested options, these will typically take several weeks to more than a month for delivery.

A new kitchen is an exciting upgrade for your home.  Fully invest your time in the planning process to ensure you will enjoy the experience for years to come.

We all know the Politician – They seemingly change their minds with a shift in the breeze and can’t commit to anything.  Today they want natural Oak; tomorrow it’s painted white with brown glaze.  And the next day, the Politician wants to see samples of distressed Cherry.  You can bet the Politician will need to see several redesigns of their kitchen before finally deciding to postpone everything for a couple of months.  Then, the whole process begins anew.

When planning a kitchen remodel, it is vital to plan for the project before you begin shopping.  Begin by considering your tastes and create a portfolio of magazine photos depicting styles, colors, and features that you like.  Create a list of needs, wants, and desires and be sure to prioritize every item.  Keep in mind that it is almost impossible to satisfy someone who hasn’t fully decided what they are looking for.

The Designer Debutante knows everything there is to know about the industry and design – “You know, I’ve done some designing in the past myself….”  They’re more than willing to share everything they’ve learned with their salesperson too, forgetting that they have approached a professional for their opinion and expertise.  Every reputable designer listens carefully to their customer seeking valuable clues to discover more information about their needs, wants and vision.  Unfortunately for the Designer Debutante, giving their salesperson lessons in how to do their job rarely proves to be as beneficial as simply helping the designer understand exactly what the Deb wants in their new kitchen.

The Accountant walks in the door with a need to have an exact cost for every item in their new kitchen plan.  They will painstakingly review a proposal or contract line-by-line, literally putting their designer on the witness stand to defend even the most insignificant number.  Never mind that the Accountant is looking at an inspiring kitchen design priced below their budget – and the competition!  They simply fail to respect the fact that the cabinet dealer is in business to make a little profit too.  Yes, the dealer is making a few extra dollars on the hardware, but they have given it back to you with a lower cost on the installation.  The Accountant would do well to remember to check references, work with reputable companies and designers, and look at the finished product.  If they love the design and are comfortable with the total price, the bottom line is they may have just found a winner.

To enjoy the best remodeling experience, work with a dealer you can trust and avoid taking on one of these challenging personalities.