6 Steps to Finding a Solid Contractor

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Wouldn’t you rather hire a contractor to install that new custom cabinetry you’ve been daydreaming about? Kitchen design and remodeling may seem like a fun adventure, but despite what you see on TV, folks who attempt remodel projects often realize they’re in over their heads too late. Likely, they’ve already spent money and maybe even done some damage. Which is why you really want to hire someone that knows what they’re doing when it comes to kitchen remodeling and custom cabinetry.
Over seven million homeowners will remodel their kitchens in the U.S. this year, and plenty of contractors are vying for your buck, so the question is, how to choose a good one?
6 Steps to a Solid Contractor

  • Get Recommendations
    Ask family and friends, but always consult the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, which can provide a list of regional members. Also, talking with a building inspector can reveal the names of contractors who are known to regularly meet code requirements. Visit the local hardware outlet, lumberyard or home-ware depot for some useful names.

  • Pick Up the Phone
    After putting together a list of potential hires, start making calls. Ask them to supply references, how long their subcontractors have been on board, whether they actually do projects of your size and how much other work they’ll be doing simultaneously. The answers to these questions can help you whittle down your options substantially.

  • Meet with Them
    Pick a trio based on your phone research and meet them face to face to obtain estimates and discuss your project. This is an important step: beware if you don’t feel at ease or as though your questions were all satisfactorily answered. The contractor you hire will be working in your home, and you want to feel comfortable with them and know that you can communicate well. Don’t be fooled by a smooth talker: consult with the state consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau to make sure there isn’t a history of problems already on record.

  • Further Investigation
    Make the research you’ve done work for you. Call former clients or maybe even see about visiting a current job site to get a feel for how it’s going.

  • Blueprints and Bidding
    With your short list of (now) maybe two or three contractors, you will want to present them with blueprints for your design. Be sure that they ask you about your expectations and what the budget is – these are signs of a thorough mind. Compare the bids you get by asking them to break down the costs, i.e., materials, labor, profit and other costs. Materials usually average about 40% of total costs, while profit margins average 15% to 20%. Don’t let pricing call all the shots however – the lowest bid isn’t always the best.

  • Devise a Payment Plan
    Contractors usually have a set of parameters for this – let that tell you some valuable information. If they want half up front, this may indicate financial unrest or even prior issues of clients dissatisfaction. 10% at signing (get it all in writing!) and three payments of 25% during the project’s completion is more standard, the final 15% due upon finishing.
    Trust us when we say: don’t let the DIY craze convince you otherwise… remodeling is tricky. Whether you’re just looking for a bathroom vanity design, custom cabinetry, or or a full custom kitchen design, let a professional handle it. And use the above steps to find the right one for you.
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