Since shopping for a kitchen is different than shopping for just about any other major investment, many articles have been written on how to go about purchasing a kitchen. However, I do have a concern about the advice given in these articles. The most common statement is “get prices from three different places”. I believe this advice leads to many remodels that fall short of the homeowner’s expectations. “Three prices” does nothing to accurately compare value, explain designer experience, or paint an accurate picture of what is really involved with remodeling your kitchen.

I am reminded of a kitchen we remodeled last summer. During my first meeting with my client, they summarized what they learned in their kitchen shopping prior to coming to Direct Kitchen Distributors and meeting with me. They had been to three places and got three prices; $12,000, $28,000, and $52,000. I asked why the prices varied so greatly. Their response was “I don’t know”, and they asked me how there could be so much difference between the quotes they received. My first thought was the quotes obviously were for drastically different jobs. They then indicated to me they requested the same project from each of the three locations. Obviously something was different so I spent a great deal of time with them trying to uncover what was going on.

What I learned was pretty much what I had expected. The low price was for cabinetry only. The middle price was for a partial renovation for cabinets, counter tops, and installation in a ready room. The highest price was for a complete job including cabinets, tops, appliances, flooring, some minor renovations, and a few finishing touches. This does not mean that any of the quotes they received was a bad value. It just means that each person with whom they discussed their project had different ideas of what a complete project was. There are so many different aspects to a complete renovation, it is easy to have a misunderstanding.

This is my main objection to the 3 prices idea. It is very difficult to be sure you are accurately comparing “apples to apples”. I have a better suggestion on how to select the right kitchen specialist. I like the idea of going to several places and I have no problem with a little competition. But, instead of focusing on the prices, focus on the kitchen specialist. Here are a few great ways to get the information that you need to make a decision.

  • Does the person you are talking to have experience doing the type and scope of renovation you would like? As in my example above, selling cabinets is greatly different than renovating a room
  • Can the kitchen specialist supply all the materials and installation services for the complete job? Many times I have seen a homeowner looking to have some detail completed that the person who supplied the cabinets could not do. It would seem ridiculous if you bought a new car and it was delivered without tires. Yet getting a set of cabinets, without counter tops, backsplash, or flooring is acceptable in this industry. It shouldn’t be, so be sure to do your homework before agreeing to half a renovation.
  • Does the kitchen specialist fully explain what could vary the cost of your project? I always figure several price points and explain how that will alter the amount the homeowner needs to invest.
  • Professional? Sometimes people are willing to except less if they think they are getting a cheaper price. There is great truth to the saying, “you get what you pay for”.
  • What happens if…? I am always willing to explain our complete process, go over any of our paperwork, walk through our displays, and show you testimonials from projects that are similar to yours.
  • I would always be wary of someone suggesting 15% – 20% for unexpected costs. In my opinion, if that much is unexpected, the job coordinator did a poor job understanding the scope of the project.
  • Work with someone who truly enjoys working on your renovation. “We make kitchens fun” is more than just a saying at DKD. We truly believe the renovation of your kitchen should be an enjoyable experience.

We would love the opportunity to introduce Direct Kitchen Distributors to you and learn more about the project you are planning. Call or click here to schedule a meeting to find out more.