Looking for tips for hiring a kitchen remodeler? After all, virtually everyone has a kitchen where they live right? The problem is not all kitchen remodelers are the same. Some are very good, some are ok and some are terrible. However, whether your a new homeowner or an existing one, you will probably want to remodel your kitchen at some point. So, here are some tips for hiring a kitchen remodeler...
Most people start by asking their family, friends or neighbors that have recently had their kitchen remodeled. Others, might be tempted to just open up a phone book and just pick a random name out of it. Other still have had success using online home improvement directories like SmartGuy.com, which lists thousands of local professionals many with ratings you can verify. Regardless, here are a a few tips for hiring a kitchen remodeler.
Get organized. Before starting anything, 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. Which wall do you want the refrigerator? Do you want the sink under the window? Do you want to add windows? There is a great deal to consider when wanting an efficient and aesthetically appealing kitchen.
Interview the kitchen remodelers. While you might hear about 4 or 5 kitchen remodelers that sound competent, you need to narrow down the list, and set up meetings. In order to not confuse them or what they are offering, try to keep it down to 2-3. Are they good listeners? Do they provide you with great ideas and feedback? How long have them been remodeling kitchens? Create a list of questions to ask them before the interview.
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. The kitchen is a very important part of your home, and the lifestyle of your family. Any delays could significantly change how things are done.
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 and if they experienced any issues or setbacks working with the kitchen remodeler. Was the kitchen remodeler on time, were his subcontractors neat and tidy? Did he get the work completed on time? Did the kitchen remodeler charge many change orders?
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 find some pertinent information on their company at your state’s Contractors License Reference Site.
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 are in the kitchen estimate. Other things to include might be: the scope of work, a site plan for the kitchen, 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 kitchen 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 another crew is doing, rather than for your materials. Also, don’t pay him the last 20% until the entire job is done to your approval.