My name is Bob Aungst, and as a cabinet sales rep, my goal is simple. I want you to sell cabinets from the manufacturer that accomplishes two things:
1. Their cabinets best suit the needs of your design business, and
2. They meet the demands of your customers.
No designer changes cabinet manufacturers unless there is a problem. That problem could have been a major screw up that hurt you financially. Or hurt your reputation. The problem could be many small issues, like the manufacturer not meeting your customer service expectations. Or not delivering on time. Or there is always some sort of quality problem. Or doing things that show a lack of appreciation for your business, like not going out of their way to fix a cabinet that got damaged during shipping. Maybe their lead times are too long. Or the quality isn’t what you expected for what the product costs.
Whatever the case may be, I want to get to the bottom of how your current cabinet manufacturer is hurting your kitchen design business. And determine if a company that I represent fixes the problem.
How We Decide What Works For You
The first thing we’ll do is talk about the manufacturers I represent:
- ordering procedures
- credit policies
- pricing programs
- 2020 Technologies
- customer service technical expertise
- quoting non-catalog items
- finishing and production capabilities -- what we can and can’t do
- lead times and what affects lead times
- expediting an order
- custom color matching
- display discounts
- cost of samples
- how they build their cabinets
- their process for addressing problems
- branding via their web sites and social media presence.
I know the importance of how the right cabinet manufacturer can make life a lot better. I know from personal experience the difference that a good cabinet manufacturer choice can make for your life and business.
The 15% More Guy
It seems I have always been the “15% more guy”. I’m amazed at how often prospective kitchen designers want cabinets that are “15% less” than what I offer. This applies to both custom and imported cabinets, and everything in between.
The conversation goes something like this.
The designer explains their exhaustion over the headaches and frustrations they are experiencing. There is a long list of grievances with the supplier.
Throughout this scenario, the designer will generally tell me that as long as the problems are fixed, the relationship with customers doesn’t suffer. And that it would be a struggle to sell kitchens to their “typical customer” with my manufacturer’s cabinets costing 15% more. They will even admit after looking at samples and talking about company policies, customer service, etc., that there is something worth getting for the 15%.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Will I get customers who can pay more If I don’t sell the cheapest product available for a price point?”
I know that companies whose cabinets are cheaper are cheaper for a good reason -- they cut corners somewhere. The cabinet industry is a business where it is almost always obvious why something costs less. And while some of the “15% less” manufacturers cut corners that aren’t always visible to your clients but trust me – your installer notices and probably complains about. Usually, however, that corner-cutting creates issues with construction and finishing issues. And those are visible, to you and your clients.
And while the 15% less cabinets might be a good value on their best days, those “best days” come infrequently. And at great cost to the kitchen designer who needs to address and fix the problems.
I just ask that you consider the whole picture as we talk through things.
My History in the Business
I’m not going to bore you with too many details, but the year 2022 will represent my 28th year in the business. I’ve never installed cabinets and I haven’t worked in manufacturing, but I have covered a lot of other ground.
I started off selling wire closet shelving, mirrors, bath accessories and shower doors as an installed package to builders. Early on I was a builder sales rep for a distributor supplying hundreds of kitchens a year to the new construction market. I did almost the same job for a custom manufacturer, with fewer, but more complicated, projects.
I have managed hundreds of installed cabinet projects. And many complete kitchen remodels when I was a partner in a kitchen dealership. All of this gave me a great education that I continue to use when working with designers.
Today my rep agency is focused in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey market, selling exclusively to the designer market.
Most all of my history involves custom cabinetry, and my current lines now are no exception -- Brighton Cabinetry, Great Northern Cabinetry and Jay Rambo. Four years ago, I added an import line, US Cabinet Depot. US Cabinet Depot was a great addition and has given me a totally different segment of the kitchen cabinet market to work with.
I look forward to speaking with you.