Whether your a new homeowner or an existing one, you will probably want to remodel your kitchen at some point. So, how do you find a great kitchen remodeler?
Most people begin by asking their family and friends or some neighbors that recently had their kitchen remodeled. While you might be tempted to open up a phone book and pick a random name from it, you might accidentally hit an unreliable and/or poor kitchen remodeler. You might want to consider using an online home improvement directories like SmartGuy.com, which lists thousands of local professionals many with ratings you can verify.
Regardless, here are a handful of things that will help you find a great kitchen remodeler.
Get organized. Do this first. Make sure you have come up with a complete plan before beginning any changes. It’s one thing if you want to simply put down some new floor tiling, but if you’re planning on redoing the entire kitchen, that requires significantly more planning. In order to minimize your spending, you want to do it right the first time.
Interview the candidates. While you might hear about 4 or 5 kitchen remodelers that sound competent, you need to narrow down the list, and set up in person meetings. In order to not confuse them or what they are offering, try to keep it down to 2-3. While speaking with them on the phone is fine, you need to see ho you get alonf with them face-to-face. Remodeling a kitchen can be quite frustrating as it imposes changes to a home and family. Are they good listeners? Do they take notes? Are they interested in what you have to say or only in getting the job done fast? Choose wisely.
Secure a few written estimates. After meeting with them, secure a written detailed estimate from each of the kitchen remodelers. The kitchen remodeling estimate should include a summary of labor, material costs, the specific brand of materials, and details of the scope of the job, as well as a time frame for completion.
Look into references and past jobs. Ask for a list of past clients from each kitchen remodeler and get a hold of them to see how they did, how long it took them to complete the kitchen remodel and if they experienced any issues or setbacks working with them.
Look into reviews. Before hiring any kitchen remodeler, look to see if they have a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating or SmartGuy rating. You can also enter the kitchen remodeler’s name or the company’s name followed by the words “rip off” or “scam” and see if anything comes to light. You might also want to see if there is any listed information on their company at your State’s Contractor Reference Sites.
Request a detailed contract. Make sure everything that is discussed (over the phone or in person) pertaining to the job is in writing. The contract needs to include all the kitchen remodelers information, including: name, address, office and cell numbers, and license number, plus whatever details were in the estimate. Other things to include might be: the scope of work, a site plan, a schedule of the primary construction tasks, a change-order clause and a clause about dispute resolution and a waiver of lien. The lien waivers prevent subcontractors and suppliers from putting a lien on a house should their invoices go unpaid by the contractor.
Obviously, be sure that the contract clearly states what is and is not included in the job including when the job will be completed. Also, make sure to get a copy of the kitchen remodelers liability and workers’ compensation insurance certificates. Be aware if he tells you that he doesn’t have coverage. If something goes wrong, you could be responsible. For example, if a worker gets hurt or some other unforeseen senario.
Request a guarantee. Any good and competent kitchen remodeler should be confident of his work and be happy to provide a guarantee after the job is done at no or little cost, which is usually common practice.
Last but not least, make sure you never give more than 20% in advance. You don’t want the money that your giving him as a deposit to go to bills from his last job or for materials on a current job that another crew is doing, rather than for your materials. Similarily, don’t pay him the last 20% until the entire job is done to your approval and you have recevied all signed waivers. When wanting to find a good kitchen remodeler, it always pays to take the necessary and correct steps.