What Architects & General Contractors Should Consider When Hiring A Woodworking Firm

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Choosing a quality woodworking firm is an important decision for architects and general contractors. The quality of materials, the woodworkers’ knowledge, skills, and expertise, and ultimately the quality of the work you present to your client, will in some ways depend on the credibility and quality standards of your woodworking firm. Read on for tips and considerations when it comes to choosing and hiring a millwork firm for your next interior woodwork project.


How do I Choose a Woodworking Firm?

When choosing a millwork firm, you should have a set of minimum criteria that will ensure high quality architectural woodwork that meets your vision in terms of durability, aesthetics, and compliance with best industry standards and practices. It’s also important to base your assessment and selection on verifiable and independent facts, rather than claims. Here are some factors you could look at when choosing a woodworking firm:

  • Past projects

One important criteria is the reputation of the woodworking firm, based on the projects they have worked on in the past. You could conduct some background research on their website, and even visit the sites so you can see their quality of work. One of the best ways to get a good overview of previous work is to find testimonies from their previous clients, typically listed on a firm’s website.

  • Client testimonials

Once you’ve read any client testimonials you find, you could take it a step further and contact their previous clients to get a first-hand account of what it was like to work with a particular woodworking firm. Talking to previous clients allows you to assess a woodworking firm in terms of satisfying the needs of their clients. They may also be willing to put you in touch with previous clients.

  • Visit their manufacturing plant

You could also visit the woodworking firm’s manufacturing or processing plant to check their equipment and processes. It’s also crucial that you know their production capacity, especially if you’re working on a large interior woodwork project. 

  • Request product samples

Asking for some samples of finished products will help you assess the work quality, and you can compare samples from various prospective woodworking firms. Woodworking firms  are normally willing to give away samples from their catalogs.

  • QCP license

A stamp of excellence is knowing that a woodworking firm holds a QCP license. A QCP license ensures that a woodworking firm adheres to AWI standards of Architectural Woodwork, has best practices in place, and has been pre-vetted by qualified, experienced inspectors. 


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What are the Qualities I Should Look for in a Woodworking Firm?

We recommend choosing a woodworking firm based on two main qualities, namely, good references and a good reputation. These are easy to verify if you talk to their past and current clients and do some research on the background of the firms you’re considering.

Good references may come from architects and general contractors, or any contractors who’ve previously worked with a millwork firm. While published customer testimonials are important, you’ll probably get better insights by talking directly to people who’ve worked on projects with the firms you’re considering. A good reputation is more a matter of public knowledge.


What are the Questions I Should ask Woodworkers?

Assessing a woodworking firm can be initially done by asking them two basic questions. The first one is about the types of projects their company works on, and the second is their cost-effectiveness.

Asking about the types of projects a woodworking firm can deliver will provide you with crucial information about whether they could handle your project or not, and sets the benchmark on what you should and should not expect.

Asking about how cost-effective or competitively priced they are will help you understand how they might fit into your project budget. 


How do I get Recommendations for Woodworking Firms?

Getting the right recommendations for woodworking firms is often about reaching out to trusted sources and your network of connections – which is much easier if you’ve been in the industry for a long time!

You could ask general contractors you work with, existing clients, other contractors, and other architects about woodworking firms they’ve had good experiences of working with. Having recommendations from your contacts is often better than doing online research to find a firm. (That said, you can find pre-vetted, excellent woodworking firms in your local area here, and rest assured that they carry the QCP mark of quality.) 


Is There Anything I Should Expect a Woodworker to ask me?

A quality woodworker is highly competent and experienced, and will ask you as many questions as you might ask them.

Generally, a good woodworking firm will ask about your project schedule, and your expectations or desired level of quality of materials and workmanship. They may also ask you whether you will simply be accepting the lowest quote on your bid, or whether you have different criteria for choosing a woodworking firm. 


How can I be Sure That a Woodworker Will Provide Quality Work at a Good Price?

As previously mentioned, there are several criteria you can use to choose the best millwork firm to hire. Recommendations and years of experience are a good basis to start from, but if a company has a QCP license, it means that you can count on their quality of work and their work ethic.

Find a QCP-licensed woodworking firm for your next project today.

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