We’re so glad you asked! Hiring a contractor to remodel your kitchen is a big deal. That’s a lot of money and time and you want to make sure you’ll get exactly what you want. Here are a few things to consider before you move forward to ensure you’ll hire the right contractor for your kitchen.
Do I Even Need to Hire a Contractor? Can I Do It Myself?
There are many DIY projects you can do in your kitchen remodel. However, there are some that are best left to someone with experience, a license, and insurance. If you’re only making small adjustments and have the time to manage a kitchen project, go for it. If your project will be a little more involved, you might want to hire a contractor. For instance, if you
- Are making big structural changes to the kitchen
- Know there are large repairs that need to be made
- Foresee any demolition or restoration work
- Need a permit for any part of your project
- Will involve other professionals like electricians, plumbers, etc.
Bottom line is to know your abilities and limitations and not overreach them. If you do, you’ll end up hiring a contractor anyway and it might cost you more time and money.
Should I Hire a General Contractor or a Kitchen Specialist?
Both the general contractor (GC) and the specialist have the same license. The difference is that the GC takes on all kinds of projects and the specialist takes on only kitchen projects. If your remodel involves more than just the kitchen, a GC is a must. He or she can handle your entire project from start to finish without any interruption.
If you’re doing the kitchen only or have some unique request for the kitchen, it may be best to go with a kitchen remodeling specialist. You’ll have access to your contractor’s colleagues such as designers, architects, and vendors all with specialized kitchen knowledge.
What Should I Find Out Before I Hire a Kitchen Contractor?
If you’re worried about finding a reliable contractor with a good track record, there are a few key things to look for that will make the process a snap.
Ask your family, friends, and neighbors to give you some good recommendations. People who have remodeled recently are especially valuable. You can even get a look at their completed projects to get an idea of what you’re getting into.
Reviews & Business Ratings
Along with getting personal referrals, check out reviews and business ratings too. Reviews are easy to find online simply by looking at the contractor’s Google listing. You can seek out reviews elsewhere online with a simple search.
The Better Business Bureau and similar organizations are still alive and kicking. They are more than happy to supply you with ratings and reviews of the contractor as well. Looking for reviews and ratings helps you tap into other people’s experiences with the contractor and get a sense of whether it might be a good fit for you or not.
Contractors are required to be licensed and insured and have to provide you with proof of this when you ask for it. A business license issued by the county or city is only evidence of their ability to have a business in the area and is not the same as a contractor license. A contractor license is issued by the state and proves the contractor’s fitness to perform the work.
Ask for the contractor’s license number and certificate of insurance. You can call the state licensing board to follow up on the standing of the contractor if you have any questions. Many contractors are also members of associations such as the National Kitchen & Bath Association or the National Association of Home Builders which gives further credence to their fitness.
In order to get a quote from a contractor, you have to make a few decisions. You need to know what you want to do with your kitchen, the materials and brands you prefer for your kitchen. You need to know where you want the appliances, outlets, and fixtures to be. You need to know your timeline and your budget.
A prospective contractor will want to know all those things (plus more) before he or she can provide an accurate quote. The better you communicate your expectations, the more accurate your quote will be. You might learn a few things about the contractor along the way too. Be sure to pay attention to the contractor’s communication style and questions to evaluate how you might get along.
You may want to take the quote experience further and conduct an interview with prospective contractors. This is a great time to ask about the licence and insurance if you haven’t already.
You can also ask about details like what written contracts will look like, what payment terms would be, who/how many would be working on the site and their hours. You can request references and any other details you think you might want to know.
Before you ever sign a contract, be sure you know exactly what you’re getting into with any kind of contractor. A little forethought and the right questions will help you know how to hire the right contractor for your kitchen project.
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