Okay, so at this point, you’ve already decided you’re going to remodel your kitchen. You’ve also got some ideas, and you’ve even decided to go with a professional general contractor instead of getting a friend of a friend who’s a handyman to remodel your kitchen for you. But that’s not where it stops! With so many options out there when it comes to choosing the right contractor, it’s not hard to want to give up after a lot of research. It also doesn’t help that there’s so much terminology getting thrown around, making it even more confusing when you’re trying to make what should be a simple decision. But that’s why we’ve written this blog post—to provide you with a handy checklist of some of the most important things you should be on the lookout for to make sure you’ve got the right contractor to remodel your kitchen for you.
Ask For Referrals
Okay, this one may seem obvious, but hear us out—it’s always important to make sure that you can verify that other people have had pleasant experiences working with your potential contractor. Ask family, friends, or neighbors who you know have had some remodeling work done how their experience was and if they’d recommend the contractor they did business with. Other options include lawyers or real estate agents in the area. Another alternative would be asking people who you see are in the middle of a (recently finished) construction project about who their contractor was. Word-of-mouth goes a long way, so this is always a sure-fire way to get started in your research.
Check out Credentials
Once you’ve got a few potential contractors, it’s time to do a little bit of research into all of your options. You want to make sure that they hold any necessary licenses mandated by state and local municipalities. Many contractors will also have tests and certifications completed to help boost their credentials and allow them to stand out. Others will have done course work for the same reason. Pay close attention to these, as they will be your best bet.
It’s important to make sure a contractor is properly licensed because it demonstrates the integrity and commitment of the company, which will then transfer into their dedication to getting your project completed. But it also protects you: worker’s compensation insurance is the responsibility of the contractor—provided he’s licensed and holds proper insurance. If he’s not, the burden would most likely fall on you.
By doing a little bit of homework, you’ll be able to make an educated decision and quickly rule out the contractors that you shouldn’t even continue to consider.
Have a Phone Interview
Now that you’ve narrowed the list down once again, it’s time to get into contact with the ones that still have your attention. Some important questions to ask include making sure they take a project of your size if they’re able to provide financial references, if they can give you a list of previous clients, and if they’ve had a long relationship with their subcontractors. These should give you a good sense of whether or not you would feel comfortable working with the contractor for an extended period.
Meet Up Face-to-Face
Try not to have more than three or four contractors for a physical meeting—more than that will quickly become overwhelming. See if there’s a connection, and continue to ask questions. Be prepared to answer some questions, too! Suitable candidates will have a two-way dialogue with you.
Double-Check Their References
Make sure you don’t just take someone’s word at face value! Always put a little effort into verifying what they’ve said. After all, you’re paying for a service. Call up former clients and ask them how the contractor handled the situation and if they had any complaints. Check to see if the contractor stayed on-time and within the budget, and how any unforeseen issues were handled.
Make Sure You Understand the Contract and Other Terms
Once you’ve chosen the contractor you want to have remodel your kitchen, look over the contract closely during the review of the permit process. Make sure you’ll get updates, and don’t sign the contract till everything has been approved. Also, do plan for a (relatively) small potential increase in the budget. This shouldn’t be more than 10%, however. Set up a payment plan, have a start and end date, and all the other paperwork.
Trust Your Gut
By far, the most important thing on this list is to make sure you’re comfortable with who you hire. You need to be able to communicate openly, not feel pressured, and trust the person who’s going to remodel your kitchen. Our team at Re-Bath & Kitchens here in Arizona strongly believes that we can meet all of these items and beyond—so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us so that we can answer any and all of your questions. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!