Do you have liability insurance?
Good question! I do have liability insurance, but not all contractors do. It's added protection for you, the consumer.
Are you “bonded”?
If a contractor says he's, "Bonded and Insured," he may be innocently unaware of Contractor Law or outright trying to act superior by saying so. Look at what the Contractors State License Board says:
“Contractors are forbidden by law from putting in the ‘advertising, soliciting, or other presentments to the public,’ the fact that they are bonded. Such a statement could lead the public to believe there is a higher level of protection provided to them by the bonding procedure than might be the case” (emphasis mine).
View the Contractors State License Board’s Advertising Guidelines
Truth: ALL licensed contractors are bonded in order to get their licenses in California.
Are you a licensed contractor?
Yes. My license number is 643171. I’m licensed under two designations: B-General Building, and C-6, Cabinetry and Millwork but my primary focus is building custom cabinetry.
You can check the status of my license (and that of any contractor) at the Contractors State License Board website (CSLB.ca.gov).
How do you approach a project?
Clear communication is critical.
First, we’ll talk by phone. What are you looking for? What's your time frame? Do you have a budget (most people do)? Do you have pictures from a magazine or photos of something you've seen . . . or a sketch?
“A picture IS worth a thousand words.”
Next, we’ll arrange a meeting, look at pictures, take measurements, and possibly draw a simple sketch to clarify our conversation.
Finally, I’ll give you a written Statement of Work including details we discussed, project price, and deposit required to begin.
What are typical features for projects?
- High-quality hardware is a big deal. No cheap, untested parts.
- Adjustable shelving and wipe-clean interiors are features of most cabinetry.
- Full-extension drawer guides (often self-close).
- Hardwood doors are built to your design requirements.
- Moldings are selected for style and scale.
Can you recommend contractors I can trust to work on other parts of my project?
Yes. Over the years I've worked with dozens of contractors in the area. I only recommend professionals I've worked with before, so let’s talk about your needs first.
Can you work with the contractor or interior designer I already have?
Of course. I have a collaborative "team approach” no matter what the project is or who is involved. (But don't get too far along before we coordinate calendars!)
Do I need a contractor or interior designer in addition to you?
Maybe, maybe not. Because many clients are more concerned with cabinet design than any other part of their project, I’m often the first contractor to be called. I can help you determine who else needs to be involved and will recommend someone if needed.
Can you give me a ballpark price?
Ballpark prices are so tricky. Whether intentional or not, they're often deceivingly low. Because of that, they may “hook” you but the risk is that the person estimating the work is not remembering something in the hurry of the moment . . . possibly something significant. That's not how I operate.
You' ll receive a thoughtful, written Statement of Work that includes the details of your project. And I'll stand behind what I put in print!
How much will it cost?
What's a car cost? Is it a VW or BMW? Prices vary—a lot! Doesn't it depend on what you're looking for?
I know it's tough to "show your hand" but this is a partnership, not a guessing game. I can be more effective if I know what you want to spend. We won't spend your whole budget if we don't have to. But let's be realistic: Cabinetry is expensive.
I do my best to work with your budget and give you a product you'll enjoy for years. I wish I knew who said this . . .
"The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten."
How long will it take to build?
It depends on how complex it is. Production time varies and adequate lead time is critical to success. It really IS custom work!
If you have a target completion date in mind, let me know. I'll estimate the schedule as closely as I can. But I won’t make promises I can’t keep just to land your job.
I only schedule clients who have given me deposits, i.e., first-come, first-served. At times, I can fit a small project in with other work but that's scheduled case-by-case.
When should I call you about a project?
Call me as soon as you can! Early planning helps you and me succeed. And since I’m scheduled in advance, planning will allow us to get the project built when you need it.
Plan the whole project before you start. Don’t wait till you are moving walls to bring me in! Let’s talk about it early to set up a realistic schedule.
What's the difference between what you build and "custom" cabinets from a home center?
“Custom” gets thrown around a lot. At a home center it can mean a person pulled your order at a factory where thousands of components just like yours sit on shelves. Or it can mean off-the-shelf cabinets are put into a floor plan with a computer even though clunky fillers are used to make things fit your space. I’ve seen it—so have you.
Are these really custom cabinets? They don’t fit like you plan and they're not the quality you expect. What’s missing most? The Crafter—and the box store can't offer that!
I work with you to design and build a finished product that meets your expectations. I use modern technology and cost-effective methods that I’ve found work best to produce the best outcome of all: happy homeowners. In fact, cabinetry from a smaller shop like mine can not only match but exceed the quality of what the marketplace offers.
And instead of looking like everyone else's work, cabinetry I build is designed the way you want it. You don't have to settle for what you find in a store.
(Adapted: “Working at Woodworking,” Woodshop News, 10/95)