Well, that’s not entirely fair. There are Good Contractors and Bad Contractors and some inbetweens. Unfortunately, you can’t tell the Good from the Bad just by virtue of having an IKEA Certified badge. Sad, but true. I’ve had this gig for nearly five years and I’ve seen nearly all case scenarios:
- DIYers who are glad they never came into contact with a contractor of any type;
- Reluctant DIYers who feel they have no alternative because of past experiences with Bad Contractors;
- People who’ve hired Good Contractors and been supremely happy;
- Folks who’ve hired Bad Contractors and been ripped off and left with an shoddy or incomplete job.
So, how do you find a good IKEA contractor for your kitchen remodel or other project?
IKEA Certified Does Not Equal a Good Contractor
What is an IKEA Certified Contractor? That’s a good question, and one that very few people know the answer to! Believe it or not, IKEA does not publicize their criteria for selecting the ‘Certified’ Contractors recommended by the store. What’s more, individual stores appear to use different criteria to select their ‘Certified Installers,’ so the consumer is left wondering why or even if to trust that the contractor knows what they’re doing.
Types of IKEA Contractors
IKEA Certified ‘One Shop Fits All’
A recent trend that’s been disturbing to contractors and consumers alike is IKEA North America’s recent move toward appointment of a single contractor that is recommended for all their services in-store. First of all, it removes competition and choice for consumers and provides exclusive rights to one company to provide delivery, assembly and installation services. Secondly, in some cases the companies that have been selected by IKEA have been not qualified to perform the work to which they now have exclusive rights! Now, this isn’t always the case, mind you – remember, there are Good Contractors and Bad Contractors.
IKEA Certified ‘Independent Contractor’
About 23 years ago, IKEA began their IKEA-Certified Installer program. We’ve heard conflicting reports of the requirements, and it’s very possible that they varied from one store to another. Some have told us that they were required to attend classes and learn about assembly and installation of IKEA goods. Others have said that the ‘process’ involved contacting the Kitchens department manager and requesting that your name be added to the list of recommended contractors. What we do know is this: IKEA has set guidelines for pricing, and any installers, assemblers or contractors ‘certified’ by IKEA have to conform to that pricing structure.
Our very own Chuck of A.P.A.R.T / Together based in Pennsylvania was the first IKEA Certified Installer in the US, has been assembling and installing IKEA products for over 20 years and has probably the most extensive knowledge of the IKEA Kitchen assembly and installation process of anyone you’ll meet. Sounds great, right? Due to IKEA’s recent de-commissioning of Independent Certified Contractors in favor of the One Stop Shop, you unfortunately won’t find his name proffered at IKEA, however you will find him here!
The Inexperienced Contractor
Often the problems stem from plain lack of experience. Frequently we hear members saying that their contractor has claimed extensive experience with IKEA, only to find out that he or she hasn’t ever actually installed an IKEA kitchen. Or, that he or she distrusts the IKEA way and discards important hanging brackets thereby rendering your warranty invalid and your cabinets dangerous! Avoid these problems by vetting your contractor – check with others here on the forums, look for reviews in the IKEA Service Directory here at IKEA Fans.
How to Choose a Contractor
So, what’s the best way to find a kitchen remodeling contractor? With five years of community discussions about hiring a contractor in our forums, our community forums are a great place to start your search for a kitchen remodeling contractor and get honest feedback from other consumers just like you.
Also, check out our IKEA Service Directory which lists many IKEA installers, some of which have reviews by their customers. Google the business names and find out the name of the owner – google that too. Use Angie’s List if you have an account, or give them a call: 877-358-2290.
Finally, read some new articles in our Marketplace Remodeling Guides for more information on hiring a contractor, kitchen remodeling contracts as well as the types of remodeling contracts, and a checklist for what to do before the contract.
The time it takes to be sure of your selection will save you headaches and possibly much money, so it’s well worth while.