Cabinet warranty period
What is a reasonable warranty period for a custom cabinet installation? July 24, 2001
What is a reasonable warranty period for a custom cabinet installation? And for custom furniture?
On installation, 1 year. On cabinets, it depends if we made them in-house or ordered in factory stock. Our work is all warrantied for 1 year. Stand behind your work and work will always be there for you to do.
There is a market issue that makes the one year a minimum. Builders warrant their product, including cabinets, for at least a year, so that sets a benchmark for warrantee.
I have gone on service calls 3 years after installation to fix a loose hinge or slide at no charge. Clients love this and our repeat business list can attest to the fact that it is good business practice. I always try to get someone to the job site within a week of the service call.
Within a reasonable time, even if the blame lies with the owner, take care of the problem (provided it doesn't cost too much). This will be the best advertisement you can have.
You also may want to check with your local codes. In Indiana, law mandates that we warrant our product for one year.
If you feel your product should last for 10 years, then back it that long (maybe not 100% parts and labor, though). When you impress your customers with quality and integrity, you will create a staunch and loyal advocate.
Not that it's a current issue due to the still active housing market, but in the past, some of our customers (home builders) insisted on a one-year warranty after the close of escrow. Sometimes homes would sit for months before they were sold and defects wouldn't show up until homeowners moved in.
Standing behind your work is one of your best calling cards, but don't allow yourselves to be taken advantage of in extreme cases.
I once sold a kitchen (about a 20K cherry deal) through a dealer. My dealer picked up the cabinets in January. In August I got a call from the dealer saying that all of the joints on the raised panel doors were swelled. The worst part was the arches on the raised panel doors. I asked why they were just now discovering this. He said they were just now installing them. They'd been in one of the customer's mini warehouses since January. January in Indiana is generally cold, with no humidity. Summers in Indiana are hot and 90%+ humidity is not unusual.
So what do you do in this situation? I haven't done anything wrong. The end user is completely at fault. Yet here are these people with 20K worth of cabinets with doors that look like shit. I explained why they were the way they were. I told them to go ahead and install them, and turn the air conditioning on. Give them about 6-8 months to get situated. If they were still unhappy, I would remake the doors at my standard price, I would eat half of it and they'd have to come up with the other half. I never heard from them again.
Just an interesting twist to the whole warranty thing. Sometimes even though we aren't at fault we still end up with the black eye.
The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).
Comment from contributor A:
We always warranty our products, whether cabinetry, fine furniture, or anything else, for a period of 25 years, to the original owner only, for our workmanship. If it fails due to customer's lack of care, it's on them. We stand behind our work and overbuild our products so they don't fail. Stand behind your stuff and it will help your advertisement.