A kitchen makeover is one of the best ways to revitalize the look, feel, and function of a home. But with even minor kitchen remodels averaging over $26,000 in 2021, it’s more crucial than ever to plan your investment with care.
When you want the best value, choosing your contractor is the most important decision you’ll make during your remodel. The contractor you pick will determine the price you pay and the quality you receive — quality you’ll experience every day for years to come.
Hiring kitchen remodeling contractors takes effort. But with the right approach, you can make the process easy and rewarding. Let’s look at the top seven tips to remember when you need the perfect kitchen contractor for your next project.
Ask for Referrals and Check Reviews
Word-of-mouth is the best way to get reasonable and reliable expectations about a contractor’s quality of work. Talk to friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers about any recent remodeling projects. How did their contractor approach the job?
Not only will you start to build your shortlist of candidates, but you’ll also get insight into how your own experience will play out. Ask about the work your peers had done, questions they wished they’d asked, prices they paid, and any other details that can help you in your project.
Reading online reviews is the next step in hiring kitchen remodeling contractors. Look for recent 5-star ratings on Google, HomeAdvisor, Angi, Houzz, and other review sites.
Assess Experience and Services
Look for contractors with kitchen remodeling experience and services that match your needs. You’ll have general contractors, kitchen designers, and architects to pick from, and they’ll all have their unique skill sets.
If your kitchen remodel includes major changes to your home’s structure, a general contractor will be the best starting point. But for help creating a functional, efficient, and beautiful kitchen, consider working with a designer.
Check the websites of reputable remodelers in your area and research their services. Look for testimonials and portfolios to see the quality of their work and where it aligns with your goals.
Contractors will often show off their credentials from national and local organizations, including:
- National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)
- National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB)
- National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA)
Membership or certifications from associations like these show professionalism and specialization. Research the different certifications to understand their value and what the coursework covered.
Aside from certifications, you also need to get the basics out of the way — licenses and insurance. You can find out what licenses your contractor needs by contacting your state licensing office.
Licensed contractors will usually have general liability insurance. But it’s critical to examine all of their business insurance, such as workers compensation or cyber liability. Depending on how the contractors do business, added protection can give you more peace of mind if unexpected problems emerge.
Interview Select Contractors
After finding a few reputable contractors with the skills to manage your kitchen remodel, you can talk to them face-to-face. It’s your chance to ask vital questions to aid your final decision.
You don’t want to get too many quotes, but if you’re still not satisfied after interviews, feel free to continue your search. The hope is that your research will deliver excellent candidates, making any extra searching unnecessary.
Do a walkthrough so you can understand each contractor’s processes and ideas for accomplishing your goals. By having a look at the kitchen, they’ll be able to discuss any issues they find and get more information to make the best quote.
Compare Quotes vs. Scope of Work
Once the contractors know your needs and the design, you can start getting quotes. You’ll need to know how to calculate renovation cost for your project to set a reasonable budget and manage expectations. Staying strict to your budget will be essential for finding and negotiating with the right contractor.
Bottom-line price is crucial, but there are several factors at work that determine the overall value.
Every bid should come with some essential paperwork. Along with the final fixed price, check the details of these documents:
- Scope of work
- Site plan
- Construction task schedule
- Project closeout checklist
- Change order clause
- Down payment amount and payment schedule
- Builder warranties
- Waiver of lien
- Dispute resolution clause
Understand exactly who will be coming in and out of your house as well. If there will be several subcontractors, you’ll need to make sure the crew is consistent and well-coordinated. Once you feel comfortable with the price, scope of work, and assurances, you can sign on with a contractor.
Understand the Schedule
Review the construction schedule to make sure that it fits your needs and to prepare yourself for each phase. Get your permits and other obligations taken care of ahead of time to avoid any disruptions.
Watch the Professionalism Throughout the Process
From the website to the bid, keep a close eye on the professionalism each contractor displays throughout the process. That includes their certifications and experience, but also their presentation and communication style.
You’ll learn a lot about a contractor’s professionalism during the interview and bidding process.
When they arrive for the interview, make note of how they arrive. Are they dressed in company uniforms or driving the company vehicle? Is it one contractor or is it a team of specialists?
Pay attention to how they communicate. During the interview, do they display active listening and let you guide the conversation? After the interview, do they respond quickly to messages and answer questions in their entirety?
Noting a contractor’s professionalism will give you confidence that they’ll meet expectations. If a company is dependable and predictable during your research, they’ll be honest and reliable after winning the contract.
Hiring Kitchen Remodeling Contractors with Confidence
A kitchen remodel carries a ton of financial, emotional, and functional value for you and your family, so it’s easy to stress over getting it right. With these tips, hiring kitchen remodeling contractors who can offer support and peace of mind turns into a simple process.
From concept to creation, we’ve got tips for every step of your home remodeling journey. Follow us for regular updates and advice to continue creating your dream home.