Understanding the Kitchen Remodeling Industry & Different Providers

Here we discuss the different providers that make up the kitchen remodeling industry. Kitchen remodeling providers can be involved in selling products and/or selling services and labor.


The manufacturer is the foundation of the process. They produce the kitchen cabinets and other products in mass quantities. Some manufacturers assemble the cabinets as part of their process, while others do not. They make money by selling large quantities of projects with a small profit margin on each item.


The distributor is the liaison between the manufacturer and the retailer/dealer. Essentially, a distributor takes a manufacturer's products and splits them up amongst the retailers and dealers they serve. They must also mark up a percentage of the manufacturer's price to compensate themselves for their services.


A retailer or dealer sells many different manufacturing brands and products to the public. Some retailers and dealers also provide design and installation services. There are two main types:

Home Centers

Home Centers offer a wide variety of products from manufacturers but have large overhead costs which are passed on to customers and are reflected in the cost of the products. Please see how we sell kitchen cabinets online for a better understanding of this process. Because home centers are so large, customer service is often not the best quality after a customer has already made their purchase. Fixing any product mistakes often have long wait times. Overall, home centers do carry some good products but often charge much higher prices than a factory direct manufacturer.

Independent Dealers

Independent dealers offer a more customized line of products than home centers. Working with less volume than home centers, independent dealers have less negotiating power with major suppliers. Independent dealers can offer a more personal experience for customers and often give free in-home estimates. On the downside, they have large overhead and often charge higher prices than home centers. If using an independent dealer, it is important to use a dealer with a great reputation because credibility can be an issue.

Cabinet ShopCabinet Shop

These are normally small “Mom & Pop” shops designed to serve small quantity, fully customized kitchen and bath cabinets. Cabinet shops generally make the cabinet boxes and doors by themselves. Because they do not mass produce and focus on full customization, material and labor costs are extremely high.


Online Cabinet RetailersOnline Retailer

Online retailers generally sell products directly to consumers through their webstore. Consumers save money by shopping through online retailers because these stores don't have physical locations and related operating costs. Some online retailers represent the manufacturers directly, which is good for consumers because they bypass the price mark-up and can save money. Some online retailers are equipped to offer much faster delivery than their competition. Overall, online retailers offer the best price and value.

Kitchen and Bath DesignerKitchen/Bath Designer

These designers provide comprehensive kitchen and bath design services. They usually create a 3-D version for you to preview as well. Designers normally work for retailers or dealers.

Kitchen and Bath InstallerKitchen/Bath Installer

Cabinet Installer

Finding great cabinets is only half the job of getting a beautiful kitchen. Cabinet installers play a very important role in your project. People often assume that it is not difficult to install cabinets. However, there are many possible problems which may arise during installation, such as floor levels, uneven walls, security and stability of wall cabinets, and angle of crown molding. Trained professionals who specialize in cabinet installation can handle these situations best. Cabinet installation will be a major factor in how your kitchen will ultimately look, so it is well worth it to have a professional do your kitchen cabinet installation.

Stone Countertop Installer

Countertop installers are often a different group than cabinet installers because the skill set, installation process and tools are completely different.
There are two typical types:

1. An installer who is also a fabricator and has a warehouse to hold granite/quartz slabs. They will sell you everything at one price which includes material, fabrication and installation.
2. The installer is also a fabricator but doesn’t have a warehouse. You must buy the stone from a stone distributor/retailer and then they will fabricate and install it for you.

HandymanHandyman/Trade Contractor

A trade contractor will provide multiple trade services to customers, such as kitchen installation, plumbing, electric, dry-wall, and many others. They can be a great resource to find many services at lower prices.

General ContractorRemodeler/General Contractor

Remodelers and general contractors provide total kitchen remodeling and building services from beginning to end. Most states require a license to be a general contractor and have special statewide licenses for plumbing and electric. Remodelers buy all of their materials from distributors or retailers. Remodelers/ general contractors sometimes sub-contract work out to more specialized companies.

General contractors can be great for renovation type projects and they usually have a large resource of contacts for all types of project. It is important to find a good and reputable general contractor because you fully rely on them for your entire renovation project.

RefacersCabinet Refacers

Refacing cabinets can be a very time consuming process. A refacing job involves many steps. It is often more efficient to replace the cabinets instead of refacing them.

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