7 mistakes cabinet manufacturers make when buying cabinet doors

Are you a cabinet maker considering buying cabinet doors? Read this article to learn how to avoid common mistakes cabinet manufacturers make.

A black and white image of the word Mistake, partially erased, with a pencil lying in the top right corner.

Buying cabinet doors can seem confusing. There are so many options available that it can be difficult to order what you need. And when the pressure of expenses, delays and customer frustrations get piled on top, it can be overwhelming.

How can you ensure you order the right product, especially when you are buying from a supplier for the first time?

Cutting Edge Doors & Woodworking has produced cabinet doors for over 20 years. Throughout that time, we have noticed some common mistakes cabinet manufacturers make when they buy cabinet doors for the first time.

In this article, you will learn the seven common mistakes cabinet manufacturers make when buying cabinet doors and how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Confusing the cabinet door profile codes

The problem: choosing the right door style and profile is a large part of ordering cabinet doors. Every supplier has different profile codes for the parts of the door. 

At Cutting Edge, we use letters for panel profiles and numbers for inside and outside profiles. Other suppliers use a combination of numbers and letters for different profiles.

An infographic showing how Cutting Edge's profile codes apply to cabinet doors.

If you do not understand a supplier’s profile codes and which profile codes affect each component of the cabinet doors, there is a high likelihood you will order the wrong door style.

The solution: make sure you take the time to review the profile codes your supplier uses before placing an order. If you are not confident you have chosen the right profile codes, double-check – ask your cabinet door supplier to show you how the profile combination looks.

Mistake #2: Misunderstanding the wood options

The problem: the wood you choose for your cabinet doors has a major impact on the appearance. Choosing Maple when you need Alder is an obvious problem – but what about less noticeable issues?

Different cabinet door suppliers use different terms for the wood grades and lumber cuts available.

For example, we use our standard grade material for most cabinet door orders. Standard grade material works well for cabinet doors with a medium to dark stained finish.

An infographic comparing natural wood characteristics of standard grade versus select grade woods.

Other suppliers refer to this material grade as stain grade, select grade or another grade entirely. 

The solution: ensure you know that the wood type and material grade you select is what you need. If you are not sure, contact your cabinet door supplier to double-check.

Mistake #3: Not discussing quality expectations

The problem: a lot of frustration comes from not discussing quality expectations before placing your cabinet door order. Many times, a 10-minute discussion about quality expectations can prevent a significant amount of order issues.

For example, taking the time to ensure that your supplier will break the square edges on your cabinet doors will prevent your team from having to break the square edges when they receive the cabinet doors. Ensuring your supplier sands the cabinet doors to the correct grit will prevent staining issues.

The solution: ensure you discuss your quality expectations with your cabinet door supplier. Talk about how you expect to receive your cabinet doors and what your process is to prep your cabinet doors for installation. 

Mistake #4: Not discussing lead time expectations

The problem: clarifying the lead time for your cabinet doors before placing the order can save you a lot of grief – not only in your shop but also with your client. Knowing the lead time in advance can prevent you from having to adjust the install date, leading to a better customer experience.

At Cutting Edge, most of our cabinet door orders ship out within 10 working days of the date you confirm your order. However, some door styles or cabinet door options can lengthen the lead time.

Discussing the lead time before you order your cabinet doors can help prevent order delays that affect your schedule.

An infographic showing the lead times for Cutting Edge's common cabinet door styles.

The solution: ask your cabinet door supplier about the lead time for your cabinet doors. Explain the door style, order size, and any other important details so they can provide you with accurate information. 

In addition, discuss the standard lead time for warranty orders or additional pieces – some suppliers charge a rush fee for expedited orders; others do not have an expedited order option.

Mistake #5: Thinking all you need to do is send in your door list

The problem: It is easy to assume that, once you send in your order, the cabinet door maker will go ahead and make your cabinet doors without any other steps.

While it might seem that way, there are often additional steps that you need to take. These steps occur between the time you send in the cabinet door order and the time the cabinet door order ships, and they directly affect your cabinet doors.

Still, why is that important?

Not understanding your supplier’s process or assuming you only need to submit your order can cause delays or miscommunications.  

For example, most cabinet door suppliers send you a confirmation file. They require you to review that confirmation file and sign off on it before your order is put into production.

In addition, some cabinet door suppliers expect you to arrange shipping for your cabinet door order, or even pick up the cabinet doors in person.

Understanding what happens after you place your order can make a difference in how quickly you receive your cabinet doors and prevent delays and frustrations for both you and your client.

The solution: if your cabinet door supplier does not take the time to explain their process to you, ask them about it. Consider asking your supplier these three questions:

What happens after I place my order?

What information do I need to provide to prevent delays?

Do I need to pay for or confirm my order before it goes into production?

Mistake #6: Only selling the cabinet doors in your showroom

The problem: keeping an up-to-date showroom display is a good idea. However, displaying all the cabinet door options is difficult – if not impossible. 

So, it is important to not limit your customers to choosing only the cabinet doors displayed in your showroom. 

If a customer wants a different option, you should consider contacting a cabinet door manufacturer to see if that door style is available. Otherwise, you risk losing that order.

The solution: when a customer requests a new door style, contact your cabinet door supplier to see if it is available.

Mistake #7: Comparing outsourced doors to doors made internally

The problem: if you currently produce your cabinet doors in-house, this is a big one. Producing cabinet doors one order at a time makes it easier to achieve high-quality results while underestimating the labour and time you and your team put into them.

If you move from creating your cabinet doors to purchasing outsourced doors, you will likely expect higher-quality doors.

It is important to remember that cabinet door manufacturers produce hundreds of doors per day. They have to remain efficient to meet lead time and quality demands. Therefore, each supplier has standard quality expectations. When you move from making your doors to purchasing cabinet doors from a supplier, you will likely take some quality expectations for granted; you may be unpleasantly surprised when the doors you receive are not what you expect.

For example, if you make your cabinet doors, you may colour-match the cabinet doors for consistency or make sure to sand smooth any sharp edges. These steps aren’t necessarily standard across all companies, however. You should communicate those extra efforts and find out if your outsourced cabinet producer can or will accommodate them.

The solution: remember that outsourcing cabinet doors saves you and your team time. Also, ensuring you discuss quality expectations before you place your first order for outsourced doors will help you understand what to expect.

Download your checklist for outsourcing cabinet doors

At the end of the day, we have all experienced issues when it comes to ordering products from a new supplier. This is especially true in the woodworking and cabinet door industry where there is very little information available online to assist you.

Now that you have learned about the 7 mistakes cabinet manufacturers make, it is time for you to avoid those mistakes. Download your checklist for painless cabinet door outsourcing!