A story about a stove:
Today’s consumer does not make quick decisions to remodel their kitchen or bath.
Often, it involves a longer process or an ah-ha moment. This is a story of one such a moment. A clients was having problems with their oven. After nearly 25 years of dutiful service, the oven started to fail. A technician had been to our client’s house on four previous occasions and worked his magic. On the fifth trip, he read the oven its last rights.
The client initially thought the demise of their oven was an opportunity to upgrade their equipment. They like to cook and entertain. It’s a way they relax and cooking for them is a family affair. After researching different options, they purchased a commercial quality range from a well-known retail appliance chain. That’s when the challenges started to emerge. The appliance retailer outsourced its installation to a third party as is custom in many parts of the country. When the installer visited the client’s home, they found that they could not simply replace what was there with what they had purchased. They needed to buy a different range hood for proper ventilation and the new hood would require reconfiguring ductwork. There was a strong likelihood that the countertop would need to be shaved to place the oven in the available space. The gas line also would have to have been relocated. That typically is not a problem, but it was in the case because the line would have to be drilled through a concrete ceiling and the current configuration did not meet code. The lesson learned was, nothing is as easy as it may seem and that’s the reason why our showroom professionals ask our clients lots of questions not only to help direct you to the best solutions for your projects, but to explain that a simple replacement of X with Y needs to account for other factors that our clients may not be familiar with.
The client took stock of the situation. The other appliances in their kitchen also had more than a quarter century of service and appeared to be on their last legs. Their cabinets were also the same vintage as their appliances and showed their age. That’s when our client had the ah-ha moment. They decided that it was time for a complete kitchen renovation. But that’s not the end of the story.
The range they purchased from the appliance retailer was not right for the new design that we developed. Our client asked if they could exchange the range for one that would fit and if so, they would purchase other appliances for their new kitchen. The appliance retailer responded by saying that the client would have to pay a hefty restocking fee, which came as a shock because our client never took delivery of the range and wanted to purchase a more expensive range than the original one and other appliances. After considerable negotiation, our client agreed to pay a reduced restocking fee and source all of the appliances for their new kitchen from our showroom.
The experience is not uncommon in our industry. While often it is easy to replace one appliance for another provided that the replacement is of the same size and configuration as the original. If you purchase a 30-inch range to replace a 30-inch range it might not be an apples-to-apples swap, especially if you move from a standard residential model to a commercial grade. Ventilation is another consideration. In the case of dishwashers and refrigerators with icemakers, you need to account for the location of water lines.
Always ask what the return policies are on products that you purchase and when those policies take effect. Our client was miffed because the appliance retailer wanted to initially charge nearly $1,000 to restock a range that never left the appliance dealer’s warehouse. More significantly, the appliance dealer never provided a reason for the restocking charge, only commenting that it is standard procedure. Our client acknowledged that the salesperson they dealt with was a really knowledgeable and nice person, but was powerless. That often happens when dealing with big chain operations. There’s not a lot of flexibility even if the policy appears to make no sense. In this case, our client was willing to spend more and buy additional appliances if the fee was waived. Standard policies did not allow that to happen.
Our showroom has direct lines to senior executives at the manufacturers whose products we specify. Those executives are not restricted by “company policies” and understand common sense is often better than corporate compliance. Our showroom also reviews numerous what ifs and other considerations many of our clients don’t factor into their decision making simply because they don’t design and oversee the installation of kitchens and baths every day. Not that we have seen everything, but we understand that there is always more to a renovation than meets the eye. That’s why we ask the questions that we do not only to help ensure that the design and products specified are the best solutions for your dream kitchen or bath, but also to help avoid unpleasant surprises or mitigate the consequences of the unknown. From a simple appliance replacement to a complete renovation, we can make the job so much easier and less stressful. Want to learn more? Check out our website: centralkitchen.dev
Paul Greenspan is a 30 year Veteran of the Kitchen and Bath industry and has been published in a number of local and national magazines. He has taken leadership roles with the National Kitchen & Bath Association, Bath & Kitchen Buying Group, and others. He is currently the General Manager for Central Kitchen and Bath in Winter Park Florida. If you would like more information on Kitchen or Bath remodeling check out his website: centralkitchen.dev or call 407-629-9366
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