Kitchen remodeling is on the upswing. According to these statistics, at least, which show that the kitchen remodel was the second most popular home renovation during 2015. It makes sense, as a kitchen renovation, in addition to providing greater convenience and utility to homeowners, can, in many cases, boost the value of a home.
Kitchen remodeling can also be a rather involved process, so it also makes sense to want to hire a professional to do the job right. If you’re considering having this essential part of your home upgraded, keep some of the following details in mind as you search for a contractor to handle the work.
Know What You Want First
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there,” is what popular wisdom tells us. The saying is as applicable to life as it is to finding a kitchen remodeling contractor. If you aren’t sure of how you want your kitchen improved, the contractors you interview won’t be sure either, and you could end up with an estimate that doesn’t accurately reflect what you had in mind.
Before you even start looking for a contractor, do some research. Know specifics about the renovations you’d like to include, and communicate these clearly during negotiations so that there are no misunderstandings and you get precisely what you want once the project is said and done.
Choose A Contractor with The Right Specializations
Not every contractor can handle every kind of job. Some are great at doing bathrooms or room additions, but that doesn’t mean that they will be equally skilled at working on your kitchen. Always ask potential contractors about their area of specialization, and verify that they have the experience that they claim to have.
Licensing & Insurance Are Key Factors
When a contractor is licensed, it shows that they are both credible and knowledgeable. To obtain proper licensing, contractors must take specific exams showing that they know building codes, processes, etc. Working with licensed contractors minimizes the possibility of you getting stuck with sub-par work.
Insurance helps limit your liability in the event something goes wrong. Say a contractor gets injured on the job or an accident during construction damages your property or a neighbor’s property. Insurance will cover the cost of those damages, instead of potentially sticking you with the bill.
Consider Interviewing Candidates & Checking For References
It pays to shop around. At minimum, you should interview three contractors and pick the best of the bunch. You can search different websites to track down potential candidates, or ask for referrals from people you know had work done on their homes.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the contractors that you interview, as you will learn more about the process from scrutinizing each candidate, and can use their answers to help you narrow down your final option.
When considering a contractor for the job, ask for examples of their previous work and seek out others who have used their services. Online reviews are an OK start, but you should follow through by calling recent customers. Their testimony about a contractor’s level of quality and customer service will be invaluable in making your final selection.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Proper communication is vital throughout all steps of the project. At the onset, you should negotiate “ground rules” with your contractor—what times they can work at your home, how they will notify you when they are coming and going, how much they should clean up at the end of the work day, etc. Throughout the job, you should speak up immediately if you notice a potential problem, as it’s easier to correct mistakes during the process than after. You should also have your contractor keep you up-to-date on how the schedule is progressing and if they anticipate any possible hindrances that will slow your completion date.
Get It All in Writing & Check Those Documents
Before a contractor performs any work on your home, you want to get the contract, your terms, in writing. Scrutinize these documents carefully. Are they professionally drafted? Are the terms fair? Is your estimate too high or low?
Your contract should also include details. Make sure the scope of work, work & payment schedule, and specific clauses about dispute resolutions and the like are all in the final document. Only when it looks complete should you sign your name and let the contractor get started.