Whether you want to improve your kitchen’s functionality or boost your home’s resale value, remodeling your kitchen is the answer. Once you’ve collected the inspiration for your dream kitchen and figured out your budget, the next step is to find someone to do the work. Unless you are experienced in DIY with time for another home improvement project, you’re going to want to choose a kitchen remodeling contractor to work with.
Remodeling is typically one of the most significant investments a homeowner can make, so you want to make sure it’s done right. Think of it as hiring a new employee. You wouldn’t hire the first one to apply. Instead, you would carefully vet their applications and choose the best one of all of them. We have compiled some pointers to help you avoid hiring the wrong constructor.
Colleagues, friends, family, or neighbors are all potential sources for recommendations. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a qualified professional for your kitchen remodeling project, and if you know someone, you may even get to preview their work firsthand.
Consider asking them about their experience with the constructor. Ask whether they were pleased with the work, if they would hire them again for another job, and what made working with this builder a positive experience. Also ask how the builder handled any problems that came up during the project. The answers to these questions can be very telling about the quality and integrity of the constructor.
With a selection of contractors on your list, you can now begin to do some research into potential professional remodeling companies. This includes searching for their website or contacting the business to learn more about their specialties. A contractor’s website can tell you a lot about the builder and the quality of work they do.
Red flags that they are not up to par include not having a professional website, having poor reviews on Yelp, Google, or other directories, and being shy about showing you their previous work. A good constructor is proud of the work they do and will likely display examples on their website or directory page.
When deciding on which builder to hire, also consider whether they are a general builder with kitchen remodeling experience or a specialist kitchen remodeling builder. The difference between the two is that a general contractor handles a variety of projects, including kitchen remodeling, while a specialist kitchen remodeling contractor only focuses on kitchen projects.
General contractors likely have experience in adjacent projects, such as earthwork or masonry, all of which are things a kitschen remodel specialist likely doesn’t do. If your project involves an addition to your home, or an entire home remodel, then a general contractor would be the best fit.
Kitchen remodeling specialists are most helpful if you only plan on remodeling the kitchen. Some may even help you with the design process, so you can create a kitchen that fits your needs and wants.
Regardless of whether they’re a general or specialist constructor, both should be licensed and insured. States grant contractor licenses, which includes a vigorous test to prove the builder is knowledgeable about the trade, business practice, and laws. If they have active professional association memberships, such as with the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), or National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), this generally acts as further proof of their legitimacy.
Narrow down the pool of potential candidates before you begin interviews. Generally speaking, it is good to interview at least three. Contacting more than three constructors may provide you with a greater range of bids to choose from but interviewing that many may prove overwhelming. In that case, consider limiting interview batches to three at a time, so you can compare quotes easily.
During the interview, provide the builder with a brief overview of the project and ask basic questions about their business. It’s recommended you take notes, so you don’t forget anything later when you review the builders. You may also consider scheduling a site visit.
Examples of questions to ask them include:
Pay attention to how the constructor answers these questions. Immediate red flags include reluctance to share references or reluctance to answer any of the questions. Also consider how the constructor listens to you. There should be trust and open communication between you and your builder. This includes them listening to any concerns, modifications to the design plan, and further questions you may have for them.
If you haven’t already, you should ask for references and portfolios of previous work. Some red flags to look for include a lack of recent references, large time gaps between references, and poor reviews from their references.
The more positive and forthcoming a reference is with answers to your questions, the more likely it is the builder is a good choice. Some questions you can ask include whether the reference was happy with the final product, if the project was completed on schedule and within budget, and whether the builder and their crew was punctual.
It is also a good idea to check that the builder’s license and insurance are up to date.
By now, hopefully, you have a better idea of which constructors are worth your consideration. You can then request bids, or estimates, from them. Most builders will provide a detailed list of costs, including labor, and the estimated cost to complete the overall project.
Verbal estimates, while initially useful, mean little in a court of law. Be sure you get the proposed plans, detailed list of materials, appliances, and labor costs, and an estimated timeline for completing the project.
Keep in mind that construction bids are not the place to hunt for a bargain. You get what you pay for, so the lowest bid may result in disappointing work. Evaluate the bids based on the builder’s knowledge and experience, as well as the other factors mentioned above.
If there are conflicts or other timing issues relating to the project schedule, be sure to go over them with your contractor and adjust them before you sign the contract. Consider the starting date for the project and how long it will take. Also consider whether you will be living at home or will need another place to stay during the project. You don’t want to suddenly return home and get in the way of construction.
Make sure you and the constructor are on the same page and finalize the schedule within the contract so you can sign it.
After you have made your choice and requested a constructor for your project, you can now sign the contract. Like with the estimate, you should carefully read over the document and take the time to ensure everything is agreed upon. Make sure any details you want included in the contract are added before you sign.
The final contract should include:
Remodeling your kitchen is a great way to improve your home for you, your family, or its resale value. The process can quickly become overwhelming, however, and leave you wondering how to get the project done. Our team at Kaminskiy Design and Remodeling can help you design and build your dream kitchen.
We offer in-house design and build services in the San Diego area, so you don’t need to worry about finding a designer. We work with you to make sure you get the kitchen of your dreams and are happy with our work. Our main concern is your satisfaction and ease of mind. Call us for your free design consultation and get started on your kitchen remodel right away.