Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Finding a Contractor for an IKEA-type Kitchen

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Many people ask me (I own an IKEA kitchen design company), "how do I find a contractor." Still others don't realize they will need to find one. It can seem as though IKEA is going to handle your remodel.

In fact, most IKEA stores in the US have companies contracted to IKEA to provide kitchen installation service. They will remove the old cabinets, install the new ones along with appliances, IKEA sinks, IKEA laminate or wood counter tops.

The prices these company charge are controlled to some degree by IKEA. They might even do electrical work or plumbing (beyond appliance or sink installation) but these services are generally not related to IKEA and often they are subcontracted by the IKEA-affiliated contractor.

Some of these companies (different stores and areas have different ones) are ok (by review) some are not well liked. Consider that IKEA feeds them customers and they are beholden to IKEA more than you. Still, they want you to be happy so you don't complain and they often have a lot of experience with IKEA stuff.

On the other hand, most cities have dozens or hundreds of remodeling contractors who can install IKEA or similar kitchens. Finding one suited to your job and your preferences is the key. What does it take? Communication.

I've advised many to create  list of 10 possible contractors and call them all. See who calls back promptly. Who is polite and professional. Which ones give you bids or estimates quickly? Do they need to come to your house? If you need electrical work or plumbing work or want wall changes and such, YES, they do. But any company with IKEA kitchen experience can look at your design and provide an estimate at least. 16 cabinets plus a dishwasher, sink and stove.

Keep in mind that most IKEA stores sell solid surface countertop as well as laminate/butcherblock. These are not IKEA products and are installation is included in the price. Typically a local supplier will contact you and arrange for installation. So this is a service you might not need from a contractor.

Should you hire the IKEA-affiliate or find an independent contractor? That you need to decide. A good contractor is key to your project.

One final tip. Have a design before you look for a contractor. You'll get a lower estimate if you say THIS is what I want, rather than, UM, I am not sure.

If your design is professionally done all the better. If the contractor runs into errors in your self-drafted design, it'll cost you in labor hours. Another reason, among many, we are happy to offer professional design.

Want to talk? FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation