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Is Picking Your Cabinet Dealer More Important Than Your Cabinets?

Most homeowners research cabinet lines before selecting the brand they will buy.

Unfortunately, sometimes little research goes into selecting the cabinet dealer and kitchen designer that they will buy from. The later can be more important than the former and here’s why.

kitchen expert with a customer

When you select a good cabinet dealer and an ethical kitchen designer, they will give you the vital information you need to select a cabinet line that will be the best fit for you. The best kitchen cabinet dealers carry cabinet lines that are well made and of good value. Being a knowledgeable dealer means selecting the cabinet lines that you believe will offer the best construction, styles and finishes to your customers for the best price.

Unfortunately, many cabinet dealers either don’t know much about cabinetry or don’t have homeowner’s best interests at heart.

For example, if a dealer’s primary business is selling directly to contractors and builders then they will carry the cabinet lines that contractors prefer. IE cheap, less durable cabinetry with more flash than quality. This is because spending extra money for better cabinet construction is something most builders are not willing to do unless the cabinetry is for their own homes.

About half of all cabinet dealers focus on getting and retaining commercial customers, this makes sense for them.

Contractors are repeat customers and selling to them and to new home builders is the easiest market to sell to. Kitchen design is less valued among these customers so less design expertise is needed to sell to them. Often just giving architects and builders the cheapest cabinet that looks good and taking them golfing is a recipe for success.

men golfing. Golfing with contractors is a way cabinet dealers get sales.

For homeowners and for the contractors that value construction quality, selecting a cabinet dealer that specializes in selling to consumers is usually the better choice. By selling directly to homeowners, confusion concerning orders is reduced and there is not a middleman between the dealer and the end user. This is why Main Line Kitchen Design chooses to sell directly to homeowners.

Selecting a dealer that is financially stable with a great reputation and working with a talented kitchen designer with many years’ experiences is also essential.

Savvy customers should do a google search of the dealers and designers they are considering. Do they get good reviews? Are they registered with the Better Business Bureau? Do they have outstanding complaints?

Look on the page of any kitchen cabinet dealer you are considering. Legitimate companies will have many of their projects posted for you to review and evaluate. Are their kitchens attractive? Do they have odd or out of place design features? Remember, companies will be posting only their best work, so posting odd kitchens is a bad sign.

Reading the bad reviews, a company gets can be telling. Do the customers who complain seem to have a valid problem or do they seem a little nutty? Did the company you are considering address the complaint in a satisfactory way?

Does the company you are considering insist on measuring your kitchen? Good companies will insist on this, while poor ones will take any measurements simply to expedite a sale.

view of range. Kitchen Cabinet Dealers Blog Post

Big sales on cabinetry from a cabinet dealer with expiration dates are a bad sign.

Reputable kitchen cabinet dealer should always be offering their best price. So big sales mean inflating prices to begin with which is dishonest. Pressuring customers to order complicated kitchen projects possibly before they are completely planned out and selections soberly considered is irresponsible. A kitchen is not a toaster. Selling kitchen projects like they are shows incompetence and a disregard for your customer’s best interest.

These considerations are possibly more important than researching cabinet lines but can be overlooked by consumers.

Below are two important related blogs:

Why Price Comparing Kitchen Cabinets Can be a Bad Idea

Cabinet Reviews: Ratings for the top 150 cabinet brands.

Hoping you do all your research.

And as always…

Bon Appetit!

Paul, Julie, Chris, Ed, Jeremy, Juliet, Camilla, and Mark.

Main Line Kitchen Design

8 Replies to “Is Picking Your Cabinet Dealer More Important Than Your Cabinets?”

  1. Alex

    I recently purchased a house and we are going thru renovation, including the kitchen. your website has bee very helpful in terms of selecting what design and features. I thank you. My problem is that there is a line called petite shaker from Forevermark, which I really like the way it look. The problem I have is that their door and drawer are made of solid Eucalyptus frame with MDF panel with Eucalyptus veneer. From my understanding, Eucalyptus is hard wood but not very commonly used for kitchen cabinet: what are your thought? Some brands cut the cost by using limited amount of wood and opting for MDF: the dealer assured me MDF is common for the face paneling of the door and drawer, but not sure how they stand the test of time. All other parts of the cabinet are either plywood or solid wood. Do you have any advice? Thank you so much.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Alex,
      The Forevermark cabinets are well made and solid wood and plywood. For that door style, the doors and the drawers are made the same way expensive custom brands would make them The MDF is beneath the plywood veneer making the door more stable, heavy, and unlikely to warp. The MDF here is not a cost cutting measure.

      1. Alex

        Paul, thank you for your quick response. Your blog is very educational, and I am glad I got to appreciate the art of cabinetry through your hard work! Many thanks!

        1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

          Thanks Alex

  2. Susan Johnsons

    We are planning to remodel our kitchen, and have spoken to four different designers. The problem is that the two designers we like sell/use cabinets that have received bad reviews; quality and customer service being the two biggest complaints. How does one find both a designer and cabinets that they can work with. Thank you.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Susan,
      Below are links to our ratings of cabinets and of recommended dealers around the United States. If you are not close to a dealer we recommend you can try finding one the way we did.

      Here is how we selected the companies we are recommending. First our designers looked over the projects of potential dealers to make sure that their projects didn’t have major mistakes in them. This is actually harder than one might think. For example it took Paul and Stacia 45 minutes to find just one dealer in Los Angeles without blatant design errors on their Houzz page.

      Once we found that a company met our minimum design standards and received good on line reviews on Houzz, Google, and Angie’s List we then examined their websites. The cabinet lines the companies carried needed to be quality lines and good values and their web site needed to meet our standards for transparency and professionalism.

      On Fridays between 2 pm and 4 pm we answer questions from people outside our service area so if you strike out on your own you could call us between those hours for a designer to try to find a dealer for you.

  3. Joyce

    I had no idea that choosing cabinets could be such a complex process.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      It’s actually not. Choose the right designer and the rest is simple. Pick a poor designer and nothing else matters.

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