IKEA Installation: How We Are Different

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(This article was written in 2006, when I owned a remodeling company that designed and installed IKEA kitchens. My current business, Modern Family Kitchens, only designs extraordinary IKEA kitchens. But the know-how was acquired over many years and many projects)

I've written earlier about why we chose not to work directly with IKEA as "certified" installers. The main reason was that, for some reason, IKEA would not allow us to offer any planning assistance while we were their "certified" installer. And we knew that, without help planning the kitchen layout and the project itself, before cabinet purchase, the finished result was not likely to be as good, as elegant, as functional, and as affordable, as it could be.

So we chose to remain independent, a remodeling company that specializes in projects in which the homeowner is using IKEA cabinets. We advertise, we build trust and confidence and we build a referral base through happy, satisfied customers.

The "certified" guy Can certainly install your cabinets. But he may not concern himself with building trust since he's got an ongoing supply of customers referred to him from the IKEA store.

So what is the difference? First and foremost, as mentioned earlier, we know that most homeowners will benefit greatly from having our expert kitchen designer and contractor on their team from the start. Our low-cost planning service provides professional layout/design of their kitchen or other rooms, and builds a relationship with the contractor during the planning stage. There are very few simple kitchen remodeling projects, and sorting out the various issues, concerns, and requirements of both design and remodeling BEFORE you buy your cabinets, can save time and money. As independent installers, we can do this.

On the other hand, if you want the least costly route, you may find that the "certified" installer from IKEA is cheaper than us. Typically you can expect to pay $300 more on installation of a $5000 project for the type of full service kitchen remodeling we do. Our per-cabinet rate is higher. Some of our other service prices are lower.

So why would anyone choose to work with us?

First, our planning service. Even if you plan to install your own cabinets, let us do the planning service for you for $275, in Los Angeles or anywhere else ( we can do it via email with your measurements, which we guide you through). It's worth it (believe me) to have an expert IKEA designer do your plans and cabinet order list for you!

Second, let's say you go with Mr. Certified. He shows up on Tuesday at 8am to install your cabinets. Halfway through the job, he sees that your kitchen outlets are too low and that the base cabinets will cover them. He will pack up his tools and tell you to get an electrician in, and then call him (leave three voice mails) when the outlets are moved. How long will that take? To find and hire an electrician, and to reschedule your installation? You could be stuck without a kitchen for weeks. We've seen it. The scenario I'm describing is not a rare one.

So how are we different? Let's say for some reason we didn't identify the outlet issue during the planning phase. Or let's say you had new flooring put in that raised the cabinet height we planned for by 1/2 inch. That'll do it sometimes. So here is how we handle this:

1) Call customer at work and explain issue.
2) Provide change order (adding to the job specs) for "move two outlets", (let's say the cost is $200 to do this)
3) Email customer change order.
4) Customer signs change order and faxes back.
5) While we continue to install cabinets, we move the outlets, patch up walls.
6) Total delay for outlet issue: 25 minutes.

Can you imagine being at work while your kitchen is being remodeled to find out there is a problem you have to solve that will cause you unknown expense and unknown delay?

Now you know the difference. Consider paying $300 more for expert, full service installation from experts who care. Unless your project is bare bones simple, we're a MUCH better, not just a bit better, choice. Call for customer references, don't take my word for it.

If you'd like to discuss your project with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.