9-choose-cabinet-dealerChoosing a reputable cabinet dealer is a lot like going on a first date looking for your soul mate.  How can you be sure the company you found in the phone book or online will be able to do the job?  Even referrals from friends and neighbors can be a crap shoot at best.  It is easy to fall into the trap of going on date after date, or in this case, shopping your project to every cabinet dealer in town.  That approach rarely lands you a memorable experience, or even the best deal.


The key to finding a reputable independent dealer is to approach the design and quoting stage as “relationship building.”  Be prepared to “take it slow” and see what develops.  Be true to your new partner and give them the opportunity to demonstrate qualities you will love – a great design that matches your vision at a reasonable price.  Don’t be a flirt, shopping your design to every cabinet dealer in town.  Talk to their “friends” (references) to find out what they are really like.  Be cautiously optimistic but also pay attention for clues that might let you know early on that this dealer is not right for you.

Warning Signs

As with any new relationship, take nothing for granted.  You should ask questions every step of the way, working to build the trust necessary to feel confident in your salesperson and their company.   Pay close attention to these warning signs:

  • How would you describe your sales process?  Tip – If it has more than four steps, run away!
  • Why did you select that particular door style for this quote? What were the top two you considered in addition to this one? Tip – They should be able to answer this one quickly if they spent any quality time on your design.
  • What is your quality control process after the job is complete? Tip – The contractor or one of their quality control staff should inspect the completed job with you and correct any deficiencies that are discovered.
  • What are the optional selections in this quote? Tip – A well-prepared designer will likely present quotes that show required pieces and optional items separately.

Happily Ever After

Work to develop a rapport with your contractor throughout the design and quoting stage.  Ask questions, check references, and look at samples of their work.  Be honest and truthful about your vision, your budget, and schedule.  Work with your designer to create a great kitchen layout at a price that’s within your budget.

And when you find the “one,” don’t be afraid to fall in love.