Allowing time to get your countertop order in line can be as important as your cabinets. Once you order your cabinetry, you have a good idea as to when they are to arrive. All too often, customers wait too long to start looking or thinking about counters, assuming that they are in a warehouse, basically ready to go, or can be gotten very quickly. In some cases, this may be true; but for the most part, tops need selection, templating and installation.
Laminate tops (Formica is one trade name) can be ordered ahead of time in some cases and trimmed on site. As for the bulk of items used on countertops (Corian, granite or other stones, quartz, or tile), these materials need selection and maybe ordering time. You may not always see what you like on the first go-around. Once selections are made, locking them in is important (or you may lose them), either with a deposit or payment in full.
Now that you have selected your countertop type, you need to plan the install. To fit countertops correctly, you should have a template done (other than laminate tops, most will insist on this being done). All of the cabinets do not need to be installed, just the base cabinets of any items the countertops will be sitting on.
From the time the tops get templated, you will need about 7 to 10 working days before they come back to install. This is why it is important to keep everyone in the loop. If you do not keep your countertop fabricator up to date on job progress, they may not have a day open for you when you need or want them. This could cost you time and money.
So keep in mind, the more prep you do ahead of time, the smoother your job will go.