Top Tips to Remember When Choosing
Kitchen Remodeling Companies
Renovation of an existing kitchen in a home is a big project, but one with a high return on your investment. According to financial experts, the national average ROI for a major upscale kitchen remodel is almost 54%, while the average ROI on a small kitchen remodel is approximately 81%.
Renovating or updating your kitchen will increase the resale value of your home, not to mention giving you a sleek space to create magnificent meals.
If a kitchen make-over is in your plans, you will need to investigate kitchen remodeling companies to find a contractor that can work with you to achieve your dream space. Here's what you need to know to hire the right kitchen contractor.
Have a Design Plan in Mind Before Hiring
Know the dimensions of the room you will create as a kitchen, and look at different floor plans and designs for that size space online. Think about how you use your kitchen now, where your appliances need to be placed for good flow, and if you have space for an island and/or barstool seating.
What kind of storage do you need? A pantry, cleaning supply closet, plenty of room for dinnerware, glassware, linens, plus all your pots and pans need to be factored into your design. Also, think about materials and colors for your walls, cabinets, countertops, appliances, and flooring.
If you're not sure how to start the design process, you can visit a kitchen redesign site for kitchen design ideas, including the latest trends. Once you have an idea of what you want in your kitchen remodel, it's time to hire a contractor.
Compile a List of Contractors
Start by putting a list of @10 reputable contractors in your area. Get recommendations from friends, family, or anyone you know who has had a great experience with a contractor.
Use social media, including Yelp and Google reviews to rate any contractors recommended to you. Referral sites like Angie's List, Thumbtack, or HomeAdvisor, will help you connect to local contractors and even get initial quotes.
You are looking for contractors with experience, licensing, and/or certification, who have an online presence. Be wary of those who lack any of these.
Licensing and Certification for Contractors
It's crucial for your financial protection that your chosen contractor be licensed and bonded to work in your state and locality. Reputable contractors will carry liability insurance to cover any potential damages to your home during construction. The contractor and any other workers should also be covered by worker’s compensation policies.
Find out whether your potential contractor has been certified by any of these professional associations: the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Association of Homebuilders. See if your contractor has taken extra course work to earn credentials in particular areas, such as tile installation.
Since certifications vary from state-to-state, call your county licensing office to learn what is required for contractors in your area, and to verify any contractor's credentials.
Review Contractor's Past Projects
Good contractors will have a website where they post pictures of past kitchen renovations for you to view. You are looking for at least 10 completed projects in any one portfolio, indicating that the contractor has experience. If the contractor has no website or does not post any pictures, that is a red flag, and you should eliminate that contractor from the list.
Taking time to review a contractors' portfolio and projects will also help you determine which design features appeal to you, and which to avoid.
Narrow your original list of 10 contractors down to 3-4, so that you can begin the interview process.
Interviewing Kitchen Remodeling Companies
Once you have just a few companies in mind, sit down with their managers to ask questions, and obtain a bid for your project. Some things to ask your contractor are:
1: What is Your Contact Information?
You want more than just a cell phone number. A reputable business will have a permanent mailing address, e-mail address, personal phone number, fax number, cell phone, and voicemail. These are the marks of a long-standing organization.
2: Can We Have a Copy of Your Insurance and Licenses?
Ask for a copy of the remodeler's insurance certificates, so you have proof should you need it later. Another thing to remember: ask your contractor how much the project will add to the value of your home, as you also will need additional insurance from your own provider.
3: Is Your Company Visible?
Does your contractor market their services locally, on TV and radio, as well as online? How long has the company been in business under the name they are currently using? What kind of working relationships does your contractor have with other construction professionals such as plumbers or electricians?
4. Can You Provide References?
Ask your contractor to provide you with at least 3 references, and be sure to follow up with these references, asking some things as:
- Were you happy with the work that was done?
- Would you hire the same contractor again?
- Did the project come in on time and on-budget?
- Were there any problems or concerns and how were they handled?
Another great idea is to ask a reference if you might be able to visit their new kitchen. This allows you to see a contractor's finished project up-close, so you can evaluate their work and ask other questions of the owners. Things to watch out for on this tour are:
- Shoddy work or poor materials
- Inadequate flow between the stove, refrigerator, cabinetry, and sink
- Lack of lighting
- Not enough storage or counter space
- Crooked tiles or tile cracks
- Sloppy caulking
- Uneven countertops or cabinets
- Flooring problems
5. Other Questions to Ask Contractors:
- Will you be obtaining all the necessary permits?
- How soon can you start?
- How long does this type of project usually take?
- How many other projects are you currently working on?
- May I have a list of your suppliers and sub-contractors?
Take time with these interviews, and make sure you are comfortable communicating with the company representative. If you get a bad feeling, or can't get your questions answered, take that contractor off the list.
Ask for bids from no less than 3 contractors.The bids should be detailed documents and include the estimated kitchen remodel cost. Make sure the bid and the initial sketch of the project answer these questions:
- Does the placement and flow between the stove, refrigerator, cabinetry, and sink match your cooking needs?
- Does the proposal include a timeline for the project and an estimated completion date?
- Is there a detailed list of materials, appliances, and labor costs needed to complete the project?
- Is there a change-order clause? (This is a statement that clarifies what happens if there is a change in the scope of your job, the cost of that change, and how that change affects the timeline to completion.)
- Is there a limited warranty on materials and labor?
- Is there a clause that deals with disputes between the contractor and the employer?
- Is there a waiver of lien, which would prevent subcontractors and suppliers from putting a lien on a house in case your contractor fails to pay them?
Again, take the time to review your bids thoroughly. Don't let a contractor pressure you into acting right away with talk of "limited time offers." Good contractors will allow you to consider their proposals over a few days.
Making Your Choice
The cheapest bid is not necessarily the best bid, especially if it is significantly lower than the others. Go with the bid and the company that seems to fit your needs on paper, and in conversation, as you want to "partner" with this contractor for the time it takes to complete your kitchen remodel.
When you decide on a contractor, he or she will draft a contract that finalizes all details needed to complete the kitchen. Once more, review this final contract carefully and don't sign it without a full understanding of everything it contains. Don't be afraid to ask questions if you see something missing, or you are confused by anything in the contract.
After you sign the contract, you will put down an agreed-upon deposit, and create a schedule of payment with your new contractor. Do NOT pay the entire cost of the job until all the work is done to your complete satisfaction.
Have Fun Remodeling
Although it may seem like an overwhelming task, a kitchen remodeling project can be fun. You have complete control over the design, and the contents, and it can be exciting to explore all the different options available in today's kitchens. Remember to be patient and thorough with the process of hiring kitchen remodeling companies.
By completing all the steps above, you can create a kitchen that is both functional and fabulous. Your new kitchen will not only make planning, preparing, and cleaning up meals easier, but will bring renewed value to your home, making it a place of pride, and a worthy investment.
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