Finding the Right Kitchen Remodeling Contractor
Looking for a good contractor for your kitchen remodeling project may seem daunting, but it need not be so. Knowing what steps to take will lead you to your best choice.
Most certainly, word of mouth is your best route to a qualified kitchen remodeling contractor. Your relatives, friends and neighbors could refer you to some of those they may have happily worked with. Most people will be glad to tell you their good experiences. As an option, you can read reviews featured on popular third-party consumer websites.
Examine your prospect’s credentials.
With a list of prospects in hand, you can start calling these contractors to pre-screen them, or visit their websites to learn more about them. First off, you’ll want to know if they have all the required state and local licenses, along with certifications from professional associations like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) or the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). None of these assure you of a good job, but they will certainly increase your chances of getting a good one. Keep in mind, however, that certifications are not all created equal. Take time to ask what their certifications are and what it took to get them.
Interview the candidates.
Trim down your list of prospects and book a meeting with all of them (separately, of course). How many contractors should you interview? Probably one but do stay open for three at most.
More quotes only mean more confusion. On the NARI website, you can find a checklist of good questions to ask a prospective contractor. Observe how they answer these questions, but take note that effective communication always works both ways. At this stage, it’s important to find someone who will listen to what you have to say, instead of doing all the talking. This is a longstanding relationship, so it’s important that you have a personal connection with your contractor. Trust is crucial.
Ask for references and call them.
This part is more important than you may think. References let you see what’s in store for you with the contractor by hearing the stories of those who have hired them before. Any contractor who refuses to provide references probably has skeletons in their closet.
Have a written contract.
Once you have zeroed in on a particular contractor, scrutinize their contract. Is it presented professionally? Is it fair enough to you? The contract should include, among several other things, the bid price and payment schedule, a waiver of lien (so unpaid suppliers and subcontractors cannot put a lien on your property), an express limited warranty, and the job’s start and end dates. If you’re not confident about your ability to assess a kitchen remodeling contract, look for a relative or friend who may be able to help.