Appliance Panels and Floor Edge Mouldings: Whose Job?

Cabinet installers discuss their policies on dealing with end-of-job punch list items. January 26, 2008

On the past couple of kitchens that I have done, the general and the homeowner have been trying to get me to install their appliance panels, which I supply for them. In the past this has not been a problem, as the appliance technicians have always taken care of this (for a fee). Whose job is this, and if it's mine, how much should I charge per panel?

Also on the same two jobs, they are trying to get me to provide and install quarter round molding around all of the cabs. Note that the cabs went in first, floors after, so it is the poor workmanship of the floor installers that have caused the gaps that need to be covered by the quarter round. Again, whose job is it? I feel like if I keep running around trying to provide all of these extras, I'm going to lose my profits very fast.

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor D:
The quarter round is the flooring or the trim guy's job, not yours. I'm not sure of the appliance panels. My guess would be either the appliance people or the cabinet installers. If you do your own installs, then it's your job.

From contributor W:
We've had a few cases where we've installed before the floor or some other stuff going on. Because of wanting finishes to match, we've often finished quarter round (or milled something with a different profile to use as base shoe) and then left it for the floor guy, GC, or homeowner to install later.

When we've done appliance panels, we've usually left it for the appliance installers, but haven't had to do a lot of those (I think we've only done them for dishwashers).

The important part is to bring this stuff up at the beginning. Give them an option up front - you can come back and install quarter round after the floor guy, or come back to install the appliance panels, for $X amount. The amount needs to cover your time and travel expenses. It should sound just a little steep if you have to make a special trip - then maybe they'll utilize the floor guy or appliance guy instead, when they're already on the job site. But the important part is to not assume that someone else has already thought about these little details. Chances are you're the only one who has thought about it ahead of time.

From contributor J:
It's funny how at the tail end of a job there is always a punch list of stuff nobody wants to do. And for some reason the GC thinks he can push it onto us.

For me, appliance panels are part of the install. Whoever does the kitchen install does the panels (me). The floor molding is the responsibility of the flooring guys. If they want you to do it, fine, but give them an invoice before you do anything so you're on the same page.

The exception for me is if the homeowner asks me to do it and I know the people who should be doing it are long gone. In a case like that, I'll usually do it as a little good will work. But I still make sure they know it's not my responsibility, I'm just helping them out.

From the original questioner:
So the way I see it, the appliance panels are mine to deal with if I have not specified otherwise, and the base shoe in this instance is the floor guy's problem. My real problem here is that I don't have the manpower to pick up this type of extra on a regular basis and I seem to be experiencing this dilemma more frequently than ever. The general was trying to convince me that the appliance company did not install appliance panels, so I called them up only to find that they do indeed install them at a rate of 100 dollars a piece (the GC expects me to do it for free).

From contributor W:
In the future, deal with it when the bid goes out. Maybe even have a standard clause in the contract about base shoe and appliance panels not being your responsibility unless specified otherwise. I would say that if you have to come back to install appliance panels, $125 makes you just a little more expensive than the appliance guys. Similarly, charge a fee for coming back to put in base shoe. Make sure it's more than the floor guy would charge.

Mainly, these are just things that the other guys don't want to deal with. If everyone knows up front that it's cheaper to have someone else do it, then they will.

I had a job bid for a non-profit I work with and do work for. They wanted us to refinish all the old and new doors in their newly renovated 3rd floor. I gave them a price if we re-installed them and a price if their maintenance guys installed them. They paid to have us do it. I made sure up front they knew, and they had the choice of which way to go.

As far as general contractors go, of course they're going to want you to do it for free - part of their job is to keep the costs down. Doesn't mean you have to do it for free, though.

From contributor S:
These little punch list jobs and be real money makers. It's a matter of educating the GC and customer as to what you will do for how much.