Fixing your kitchen is a huge job, and you’re certainly not alone if you decide to entrust the task to a professional remodeling company. The cost of a good kitchen remodel – and the quality of the finished product – will depend on hiring a trustworthy kitchen contractor. Here are some pointers to help you track down a great one.
Assembling A Short List
All it takes is a fast Google search to discover that there are plenty of contractors in your community that handle kitchen remodeling; many companies even specialize in it. You’ll need to narrow down your choices before you start researching any one company in depth.
Referrals and recommendations are by far the most valuable leads you have. Talk to anyone you know who’s had renovation work done recently – not just in the kitchen, but anywhere in the house. If they’ve had good experiences with their contractor (ask if they’d hire the same company again), make sure you put their choice on your short list.
If you have specialized ideas in mind for your kitchen remodel (e.g. customized countertops, unusual appliance layouts, etc.), you should look for contractors who have experience doing the sort of work you seek.
Once you’ve narrowed your field down to a few choices, it’s time to find out more about the firms you have to choose from. Take a closer look at the contractors’ websites. Gather information on licensing, insurance, and certifications. Certifications that are likely to be helpful for a kitchen job include those of the National Association of Kitchen Remodeling (NAHB), the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), and especially the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA).
Speaking to contractors face-to-face will give you a fair idea of how easy they’ll be to work with. You want a remodeler who’s patient, clear, easy to communicate with, and responsive to your ideas. A kitchen can be challenging enough without dealing with a contractor who’s hard to get through to!
Once you’ve spoken to several different remodeling companies, solicit quotes from the most promising ones. You don’t need to get numbers from more than three contractors; this will give you an ample field for comparison.
Checking The Fine Print
Go in depth when you compare contractors’ proposals; don’t just look at the bottom line. Look at exactly what’s included in each company’s quote. If you’d like one contractor to provide greater detail so that you can compare their estimate to someone else’s, don’t hesitate to ask for the information you need.
Before you make any commitments, make sure your chosen contractor delivers all of the documentation you’ll need along with a contract. You’ll want to see (at least) basic plans, a payment schedule, a work schedule, a scope of work, and precise arrangements regarding change orders and final punch-out approval after the job is done.
All of the time you invest in searching for the right kitchen remodeler will pay off when you sign a contract with a skilled and trustworthy contractor. The right remodeling company will turn your dream kitchen into a reality without overrunning your budget or your schedule, and that’s the kind of reliability that’s worth a little digging to find.