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How To Choose A Kitchen Contractor

For many homeowners, the hardest part of any remodeling project isn’t the work itself, rather it’s finding a reliable, competent, and trustworthy contractor to do the work. Everyone has heard horror stories about the contractor who tore apart someone’s home and never finished or a contractor who charged someone three times the going rate. Some handy homeowners elect to do many projects themselves to avoid the headache of trying to find a good contractor. However, a kitchen remodel is a large, expensive job – hiring a kitchen installation professional is your best chance at protecting your investment and making sure the job is done correctly. Choosing the right contractor can be the difference between a successful kitchen remode project and a disaster.

Consider these tips when searching for a contractor for your kitchen remodeling project:

Know What You Want

Knowledge is power. The best way to start looking for a contractor is to decide exactly what you would like done and what materials you would like to use. Have an idea of what these materials cost, and be very specific when requesting a quote from a contractor. The more specific you are, the more accurate of a quote you will get.

Research and Gather Information

There are many online resources you can use to find a kitchen contractor, such as HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, Yelp, Google, and social media websites. You can also check with friends, neighbors, and relatives who have done remodeling recently. If you can, take a look at the work their contractor did and ask about their experience. Once you have some names, search for their website, Better Business Bureau rating, and any reviews you can find. You can also search for the name of the company along with “complaint” or “scam” to see if anything comes up. Has this contractor done a kitchen remodel or a bathroom remodel before? You want to make sure the contractor has experience with the work you want to be done, and is not using you as a guinea pig.

Ask For References

Get a list of recent, local references from each kitchen contractor. Ask the references about their overall experience with the contractor and the quality of the work. You can also ask if the contractor stuck to the estimated budget and completion date. Try to get pictures of the work if you can.

Interview & Get Quotes

Interview at least three kitchen contractors: ask a lot of questions and get a written bid from each one. Make sure each one includes the same materials and tasks so that you can compare each one side by side. Even if you have a contractor you like, it is a good idea to get a few other bids to see where your kitchen contractor stands on price. This will, at the very least, give you some negotiating power before you sign any contract.

Every estimate should be in writing. Do not allow yourself to be pressured to sign any contract before you have read and understand everything in it. The contract should include contact information, start and complete dates, a detailed description of the work being done, and any associated costs and arrangements for payment. Specify who is going to obtain any necessary permits and who is responsible for clean-up. Any verbal promises that the contractor has made you should be included in the contract. If there are any subcontractors involved, be sure to get information on them as well as the contractor. Be careful accepting low-ball estimates; if one of your estimates is significantly lower than the others, there is a chance the kitchen contractor may be cutting corners to lower costs or may not fully understand the scope of work you are requesting, leading to an increased likelihood of costs down the stretch.

Verify Licenses & Insurance

Before making your final decision, it is a good idea to verify that your contractor has all the necessary licenses and insurance. Contact your state’s licensing agency, or enlist your local Better Business Bureau for help. Call the listed insurance carrier to verify appropriate compensation for worker’s compensation, property damage, and personal liability in case of accidents. It may seem tedious, but if anything happens, you will thank yourself later.

You should also inquire about a lien waiver, or a statement from your contractor stating that all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for the work. If you do not obtain a lien waiver, and your contractor has not paid the suppliers for your goods, like your kitchen cabinets, the suppliers and/or subcontractors are allowed to come after you directly for payment, even if you have already paid your contractor for the same goods. You should receive this waiver before you make any final payments to your contractor.

Sign Contract & Arrange Payment Schedule

You should have a signed contract before any work begins, detailing everything you and your contractor have agreed upon. Usually, the contract will specify a deposit, but you should never pay in full up front. Stagger your payment schedule so that your final payment will be after the work is completed and you have a chance to inspect it. Do not pay cash, pay by either check or credit card. This way, if the kitchen contractor breaks your agreement, you have some recourse to try and get your money back. All checks should be made out to a company, not an individual. When you have made your last payment, request a receipt marked “Paid In Full”.

Let Norfolk Install Your Kitchen

Don’t want to deal with finding a contractor for your kitchen remodel? Norfolk Kitchen & Bath offers professional, expert kitchen installation services for the kitchen & bathroom cabinets we sell. Kitchen installation is a specialized field and we only hire the most experienced and talented installers to install our kitchens. We will take ownership of your project from start to finish, to spare you any headaches and give you the peace of mind you deserve during the remodeling process. Contact us today to get started on your hassle-free kitchen remodel.