I recently sat down with Chris Goodwin from Goodwin Mill & Cabinet and asked him his advice on choosing a cabinet company and why Goodwin Mill & Cabinet was a good choice.
Chris began by explaining to me the difference between good cabinet design utilizing space, convenience, utility and "winning the bid" based on price. He made it clear that at Goodwin Mill & Cabinet, they try to conserve on price while still giving their clients as much utility as they want.
He said most cabinet companies competing to win a contract will cut corners in order to get the bid by providing the lowest cost with the intent to make up the difference with changes to the original design.
When comparing your cabinet estimates, there are a few things you should check. Here are a couple to think about. I'll add more at a later date so check back often.
#1 - Count the drawers - Drawers cost more money than doors. Many cost conscious cabinet companies will limit the number of drawers designed into a job. Also check your drawer widths. If they can put in a minimum number of drawers they will not only save drawer box material, but drawer slides and cabinet hardware. This adds up to quite a bit of change in the overall cost of your cabinetry. No amount of money savings will make you feel any better about a poorly designed cabinet project that doesn't utilize the space correctly.
Wide drawers wear out quicker because of the larger load it carries on each cycle. They get wobbly as they get bigger and the drawer slides wear out quicker because of the added weight. It is important to be specific in your hardware choices. For example if your job specified "Soft CloseDrawer slives" you might get anything from a Chinese-knock-off to a mid range side mount.
There is a rule of thumb to the percentage of space that should be used for drawers. Make sure you have enough in the beginning.
#2 - Count the number and widths of doors. For every door made there is a cost for labor, hinges and hardware. Many save money by over sizing doors and thus saving these costs. Clients are often unaware that larger doors break and warp easier as well as wearing out the hinges quicker. In addition they take more room to open and at times a user will have to step back in order to move out of the way of a swinging door.
#3 - You wouldn't build a house without a detailed plan, but most house plans are very vague as to what cabinetry is intended. Sometimes, it's just a line on a floor plan. The interpretation is left up to the cabinet estimator. One cabinet maker may view it one way, while another may view it entirely different. It is really important to get the product you want rather than what some one else thinks.
He then added, "And this is where WE can help!"
When I pressed him to explain, Chris said, "We provide an experienced design team that provides many of the most beautiful and best working cabinet projects in the area."
I asked him what effect that had on pricing and he said many people fear that after we design their cabinetry we might be over priced. But let me assure you, this is not the case.
He continued, "We provide a moderately priced and highly experienced Cabinet design program. If we are awarded the job it becomes a free service and we deduct the cost of design from our estimate. If we are not the low bidder, we will both know that all companies bid the same project and not apples for oranges."
He went on to say, "Our design package will show cabinet floor plans, elevations as well as room specification sheets, showing all designs, wood species, finishes, hardware, etc." In this way, he says, you can rest assured the product you receive will be exactly what you ordered.