Bath and Kitchen Designer Conflict of Interest

I'm sure the bath and kitchen cabinet industry is not alone in having this quirk.

Here's the deal: The typical cabinet showroom doesn't charge for its designs. After reading this, you may decide that free isn't the way to go in this case.

Anyway, because they do the plans for free, they have to make the most minimal investment possible in producing your bath or kitchen design, yet still convince you that it's a really top-notch design.

One thing that almost never happens with a free design is that the designer actually makes a trip to see your bath or kitchen. No, it just doesn't pay them to do that. So they get you to bring in a drawing and they design based on your measurements.

Then, once you have paid a (usually very large) deposit, they will pay a visit to the location to assure that the design will work before they place the order with the cabinet manufacturer. And, by the way, manufactured cabinets (as opposed to custom-built) are — in my opininon — the obvious choice for bath and kitchen remodels.

Here's the problem: By the time the designer actually visits the bath or kitchen in question, the great wheels have been set in motion and they are in “don't rock the boat” mode. So if they were to notice that you have some rather serious framing (floor) issues in your bath or kitchen, do you think they will be likely to mention it to you?
Only if they are the “painfully honest” type. Even then, you must realize that they aren't looking for it and — quite frankly — that's not their job to mention. As a bath and kitchen installer, I've arrived at many an installation site and just had to shake my head at the disconnect between site conditions and the quality of the cabinets.

What to do? Well, you could start every project with a general contractor, but that gets expensive. You could just “hope to get lucky”.

Or you could be proactive and test your floors yourself. It's not hard.

I've become so tired of getting caught in the middle on this conflict of interest that I've come up with a little course on how to do this yourself, and where to go from there. Send me a comment on this post and I'll get the info to you.