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How to Find a Reliable Home Contractor for your Kitchen

How to Find a Reliable Home Contractor for your Kitchen

For most homeowners, the hardest part of any home renovation project isn’t the work itself, it’s finding a competent and reliable contractor to do the job. Installing kitchen cabinets, knocking down a wall or retiling the bathroom is simple compared with the struggle of hiring a quality contractor who will perform at a high level from start to finish.

When choosing a contractor to head up your kitchen remodel, these simple steps can mean the difference between complete confidence and sleepless nights.

Remember, companies like Cabinets ASAP are NOT contractors that install your new cabinets, you need to hire local contractors for yourself for that specific task, so it is important to choose a reliable contractor to install them.

Ask for Referrals and Look at Credentials

When you speak with contractors, get the official name of their registered business.

References, such as current customers and subcontractors, can help you learn about the quality of the work. Current customers can share personal experiences and subcontractors can provide red flags, such as not paying on time or cutting corners by using less than stellar materials.

The official name of the contractor’s business will help you properly search the Better Business Bureau for complaints and other problems the contractor has experienced in the past. The BBB can help you see how well problems were resolved too.

Knowing their official name will also help you check their licenses, and it will help you verify what professional organizations they’re a part of in your area.

Interview at least three contractors 

Ask a lot of questions and get a written bid from each one. When you compare bids, make sure each one includes the same materials and the same tasks, so you’re comparing apples and apples. Get three bids even if you have a contractor you like because you’ll learn something from each interview. “Don’t be afraid to negotiate,” Hicks says. While you might do some haggling at the interview, be prepared to do most of the negotiation after you get the bid and before you sign the contract.

Business Experience and Management

Check this on their profile:

  • Maintain a permanent mailing address, e-mail address, personal phone number, fax number, cell phone and voicemail?
  • Carry insurance that protects you from liability? Ask for a copy of the remodeler’s insurance certificates to be sure. Also, ask the remodeler how much the project will add to the home’s value and attain additional insurance from your provider.
  • Have an established presence in the community? How long has the company been in business under this name? Does the remodeler maintain solid relationships with contractors such as plumbers and electricians and work with them as a team?
  • Possess a trustworthy reputation among customers and peers? Is there a track record of success?
  • Have any professional designations, such as Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), Certified Bath or Kitchen Designer (CBD), etc.? How long has the remodeler been a member or any trade organizations?

Seek Well Defined Bids

For all potential contractors show them any blueprints you have. Tell them what you’re willing to spend and ask for a full quote.

To best compare your bids, ask each contractor to provide details about the costs for labor, materials and other expenses. This Old House says materials should represent about 40% of your total cost, another 40% should be allocated to labor and other expenses, and up to 20% should be used for the profit margin.

Once you have a bid you like, start the negotiation process. Make sure the contract is detailed and that you’re comfortable with it before the project starts. Once work begins, communication is the key to a happy and successful home remodel.

Don’t pay more than 10 percent of the job total before the job starts.

You don’t want a contractor to use your money to finish someone else’s job, unless there are  expensive materials  needed to start immediately, in that case 30% is fair. The contract should include a payment schedule and triggers for progress payments.

Don’t sign a contract for your entire renovation budget. 

No matter how careful you and the contractor are in preparing for the job, there will be surprises that will add to the cost. So, if your budget is $20,000 for a project, the most if should sign a first contract for is between $15,000 and $18,000, to have some flexibility of $2,000 to $5,000 for any extra cost out of the contact.

If you don’t have a contactor yet for you project, Cabinets ASAP can help you to find a local one in your market.

 

References:

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20539027_21071438,00.html
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/resource-center/choosing-a-contractor/overview/index.htm
http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/11/14/18-tips-for-finding-a-reliable-home-contractor

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