??????It seems like a simple enough question, and one you would expect your designer or salesperson to be able to answer quickly and with confidence, right.  But often times the answer comes loaded with hesitation and doubt.  You think to yourself, “I just want to know what to expect!  Why can’t I get a straight answer?”  This may even make you consider working with another contractor.

There are a number of reasons why your designer might hedge their answer to this really important question.  Some of those reasons are justifiable and should actually give you more confidence in your designer.  In many cases, however, you should be concerned if your salesperson cannot share an accurate timeline with confidence.   Let’s take a look at some examples of each.

Situations where accurate time estimates are difficult

  • Complex remodels involving significant structural changes to the space. These structural changes may include removing, moving, or adding walls or structural (not cosmetic) electrical and plumbing changes. These structural changes may involve additional subcontractors whose work must be coordinated around their schedules as well as the project timeline. This type of remodel typically requires city or county inspections before portions of the work can be completed.
  • Multi-faceted remodels. Much like the complex remodels above, a project that includes cabinetry, hardware, countertops, and new plumbing fixtures may also require the coordination of a number of subcontractors to complete the project. If the cabinet installation is just one day late, that can throw the countertops behind by several days depending on the granite team’s workload.
  • Selecting cabinets from highly-customizable cabinet lines. Stock and semi-customized cabinet lines typically run on very structured production schedules. As you move into lines that offer more customization, the production times can vary greatly from kitchen to kitchen that they produce.

In situations like the ones above, you actually want your salesperson to be a little hesitant about offering a specific timeline.  The large number of variables and unknowns make an “installation window” of as much as two weeks preferable.  You should actually be very cautious if offered a specific date on which your kitchen will be complete.

Situations where accurate time estimates should be expected

  • Basic cabinet-only remodels with selections from mid-range to stock cabinetry lines. Again, these manufacturers pride themselves on consistent production schedules which should allow your salesperson to accurately quote you a delivery date and completion date – often accurate to within a day.
  • Complete cabinet, countertop, and hardware installations by turnkey contractors. Many independent dealers and remodelers provide their own countertop fabrication and installation service. These contractors have a much greater level of control over their internal processes and scheduling, and may be able to offer an accurate two to three day window on the estimated completion date.

Accurate time estimates and deadlines for basic jobs like the ones above should be expected and your salesperson should be able to supply them without hesitation.  If you can’t get a straight answer or detect significant hedging, ask probing questions to learn more about their processes.  This could be an indication of a dealer without good systems, often mired in manual paper processes, or perhaps a cabinet manufacturer with inconsistent production schedules.  Either way, there’s a good chance your work will not go as planned.

All kitchen remodels are unique, and each presents its own challenges that can impact the timing of the work.  Be sure to give yourself ample time for the project – avoid planning for your projects to be completed just in time for holiday gatherings, for example.  And consider the scope of your project when looking at estimated dates to ensure the time “window” makes sense for your kitchen.