According to statistics, 89 percent of homeowners hire professionals for kitchen projects. From 2020 to 2022, 29% of Americans were motivated to remodel their kitchen since their old one had deteriorated or failed.
Would you like to give your kitchen a new look? Remodeling is the best option.
Your kitchen is the heart of your house, and a place to cook and eat. However, it becomes obsolete over time and requires an upgrade. However, renovating a kitchen can be a daunting task.
This is why you should hire a qualified professional to help you realize your dream kitchen. But, sometimes, finding the right person for the job takes a bit more than searching “kitchen remodel near me.”
With a multitude of kitchen remodeling contractors to choose from, it’s not just about hiring well-known kitchen designers. If you require kitchen remodeling, read on for handy tips on choosing the best kitchen remodeling contractor.
Determine the Type of Contractor You Prefer
You can either hire a general contractor or a contractor specializing in kitchen remodels. If you choose to hire a general contractor, they should have extensive kitchen remodeling experience. A general remodeling contractor can be an asset if they have worked on kitchens before.
A general contractor has worked on projects outside the kitchen. So, they bring in additional skills such as masonry. This makes them a good fit if your project includes a room addition.
Kitchen remodeling specialists have done multiple kitchen renovation projects. So, they offer design services to help you create a space you love. A kitchen specialist is ideal if you plan to change the look of your entire kitchen.
Make a List of Contractors for Kitchen Remodel Near Me
After deciding whether to hire a kitchen specialist or general contractor, create a list of contractors you can work with. If you have never done a remodeling project before, you may not know where to start looking. Here are tips to get you started on your list:
Ask for Recommendations
Friends and family are a great source of information when searching for a kitchen remodeling contractor. Ask your friends and family to recommend contractors they have worked with on their remodeling projects if you liked the results.
Search “Kitchen Contractor Near Me” Online
Google “kitchen contractor near me” for local listings for remodeling contractors. Then, search for the top contractors on listings on platforms like Google My Business and Yelp to see customer reviews.
Finally, check each company’s social media pages to see how they interact with clients. If you cannot find enough information on a contractor online, do not consider them.
Research the Shortlisted Contractors Further
Check each contractor’s social media communication. Note how they address customers’ queries and complaints. This information tells you a company’s communication style and whether they value their customers.
Check each contractor’s portfolio on their websites. Look at the number of kitchen projects indicated on a contractor’s portfolio. If no kitchen remodeling projects feature in a contractor’s portfolio, strike them off your list.
Reach out to contractors if you cannot find their portfolios online and ask to see them. Ensure to get a portfolio that shows recent projects. Portfolios should show clear before and after images of remodeling projects. Blueprints and sketches are also important.
Be wary of hiring a contractor whose portfolio has unclear images.
Ask for References
Any reputable contractor should have a reference list with at least ten or more former clients who can vouch for them.
The reference list should include each previous client’s contact details. It is also best to have references from jobs from different timelines, recent and past jobs. That way, you can see if the contractor’s work lasts.
Make sure you get in touch with every referenced person. Prepare a list of questions you’d like to ask each person. Ask the following questions:
- Did you like the contractor’s work?
- How was the contractor’s communication?
- Did the contractor work within the timeline they had given?
- Was the work within your proposed budget estimate?
- Did the work crew show up on time?
- Were there any problems during the project?
- How did the contractor respond to any problems that occurred?
- For how many hours did the crew work?
- Have you had to redo or repair the areas the contractor worked on?
- Would you hire this contractor again?
- Can I visit to see how your kitchen turned out?
Focus on contractors from whose references you get the most positive responses. Address any time gaps you observe in a contractor’s references. If a contractor is forthcoming with information, it is easier to trust them.
Visit Finished Project Sites
After talking to the people listed in the references, you have likely narrowed down your list further. Next, visit each person who allowed you to visit to see if you like each contractor’s work. Visit homes with a kitchen remodel similar to what you have in mind.
Among the sites you visit, some should have work done years back. Looking at past projects tells you how the contractor’s work has held up over the years. Take note of any defects in the work. These may include:
- Poor tile work
- Poor quality materials
- Visible seams on the kitchen countertop
- Poorly installed light fixtures
- Uneven surfaces
- Wrongly placed appliances
- Uneven cabinetry
Ask the Right Questions
A bad kitchen remodeling job is expensive to repair. So, it is better if the contractor gets the job right the first time.
After eliminating contractors based on the quality of their work, interview them to determine if they are a good fit. You must ask the right questions to get a good contractor.
The following are questions you may ask a kitchen contractor before hiring them:
How Long Have You Been in Business?
A contractor that has been in the construction business for a long time already has an established reputation. They have likely done multiple remodeling projects similar to yours. So they know vendors with the best products and can offer discounts.
A long-standing company has already established systems to ensure projects run as expected. They also likely have controls to handle unexpected occurrences.
Some contractors have worked in the construction industry for years but have new companies. Because they have extensive industry experience, such a contractor will still deliver.
How Often Do You Redo Jobs?
You can gauge the quality of a contractor’s work based on their answer to this question. If a contractor often has to redo jobs, be sure you will not like their work. Be wary of a contractor who offers a vague answer to this question.
Who Will Work on this Project?
Construction companies often take on many home projects at a go. General contractors may also not have every necessary technician in their employ. In this case, a company may subcontract technicians from other companies to work on the project.
If a company works with subcontractors, make sure you know how the company plans to supervise the whole team. Get the name of every subcontractor your contractor plans to work with and research their qualifications.
What Type of Guarantees Do You Offer?
Most contractors guarantee their work using warranties. Some warranties cover prices, while others cover workmanship. If the contractor uses materials with a manufacturer’s warranty, ask them to give you a copy.
How Will I Pay for the Work?
A payment schedule is essential in a project. So you must ensure you and the contractor agree on the schedule beforehand. Know what percent of the contractor’s price you have to pay upfront.
It is best to take a contractor off your list if you are not comfortable with their downpayment. Also, do not pay the full price of a project before completion.
How Often Do You Ask for an Extension on Project Timelines?
During a kitchen remodeling project, you may not have access to your kitchen for some time. This can be inconvenient, and extending the project completion time worsens matters.
So before you hire someone, ensure they can finish the work at the appointed time.
If a contractor often asks for timeline extensions, they are likely to delay your project. So if you are on a tight schedule, hire someone you can trust to finish the work on time.
Can You Describe Your Work Process?
Ask prospective contractor’s how they work on projects from beginning to end. This question helps you determine how well a contractor knows their job.
Understanding how a company operates also helps you decide if it can meet your expectations.
Can You Provide Me With Your Physical Address?
Working with a local contractor is better because they are more accessible. You can easily pop into their office for inquiries, and in case of any concerns, you can reach them quickly.
A local contractor will likely invest more in building a good reputation within the local community.
A local company also understands the municipal and community building codes. So, they know what permits to get for the project. They are also easy to track down if any errors show up in their work.
Finally, a local contractor likely knows local vendors and suppliers. So the materials they use for the project will come from nearby areas.
Transporting materials and workers from nearby areas lowers transportation costs. So, a local company may charge less for the work.
Do You Have a Showroom?
Many remodeling companies have showrooms where they display their designs. If a contractor has a showroom, decide on a day to visit.
Visiting a showroom helps you decide on the features you want for your remodeling project. A showroom visit also helps you visualize the final results of a project.
When you visit the showroom, check the arrangement of the place. Is the place clean, or does it look messy? A messy showroom indicates that a contractor may be unable to manage the project site.
Consider how the staff address visitors during the showroom visit. Are they friendly? Do they answer visitors’ questions clearly? Your experience with the staff will tell you what to expect during the course of the project.
Kitchen remodeling projects take weeks, sometimes months, to complete. If the professionals you choose are not good communicators, you will have a frustrating time.
Look at the designs in the showroom to see if any of them match your style. You may ask to see a portfolio, which the staff will likely have on hand. If you do not like any of the styles, consider other contractors.
Can You Describe Your Work Schedule?
Knowing a contractor’s work schedule tells you if they can complete your project within your desired timeline. Know if a contractor has pending projects they may want to finish before starting on yours. You do not want to wait for a prolonged period before a contractor starts working on your project.
If you want to remodel a kitchen within a short time, not all the contractors on your list may be able to meet your expectations.
Ask every contractor you talk to provide you with an estimated completion time for the project. If your family uses the kitchen often, having it out of bounds for a prolonged period is inconvenient. In this case, hire a contractor who can get the job done quickly.
How Can I Reach You For Questions and Input?
You may want to relay some information to your contractor as the project is underway.
So, you should know which communication mediums they mostly use. Your contractor should inform you whether to call, text, or email them for queries.
Your contractor should also provide a schedule for when they will be updating you on the project’s progress.
What After-Service Support Do You Offer?
A construction process does not end after the structures are in place. The crew must clean up the site and repair any property damages that occurred during the project.
Ask if a contractor does a quality check before declaring the project done. Ask also what happens if you do not find the outcome satisfactory.
Check Contractors’ Credentials
A license is one of the most important credentials a contractor should possess. Different states have varying licensing requirements for contractors. So consult your state’s licensing department to know what to look for.
Both states and local municipalities grant contractors licenses. Contractors must pass rigorous testing and criteria to qualify for a license. So, you can trust the quality of work of a licensed contractor.
Do not just take a contractor’s word for it when they say they have a license. Ask each contractor you talk to for their license number. Then check with your local licensing department to verify the license number.
It helps if a contractor has an affiliation with professional bodies for contractors. Ask prospective contractors if they are members of the following organizations:
- The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)
- The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
- The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA).
Contractors who are members of these associations have training on best practices in home remodeling. Remodeling organizations also inform members of the latest construction technologies in the industry.
Research different remodeling contractor associations to understand the membership criteria. Also, look into the training members of different organizations receive.
Ask About Insurance
Insurance is a must-have for contractors. It helps you avoid liability for any accidents that may occur during the remodeling project.
All contractors should have professional liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance coverage. Professional liability insurance provides you with compensation for damages resulting from construction errors.
Construction work poses a significant risk of personal injury. That is where worker’s compensation insurance comes in. This policy compensates construction crew members for damages from workplace accidents.
Working with an insured contractor puts you at ease because you will not be liable for any accidents as the crew works. You need to see proof of insurance before hiring a contractor.
Ask each contractor to show you their certificate of insurance. Then follow up with the insurance provider indicated in the certificate. That way, you will know if a contractor has a current insurance cover.
Work With a Bonded Contractor
Hiring a contractor with a construction bond assures you that they take their work seriously. A bonded contractor provides you with financial surety for the entire project.
The surety guarantees that the contractor will not charge you to repair any defects in the work. However, all repairs must be within the period covered by the bond.
If a contractor cannot fix the errors or the company closes within the period covered by the bond, you will get compensation for the damages.
It is best to hire a contractor that can work within your budget. So, you must review each contractor’s charges. Describe your project to each contractor.
Then, ask each to provide you with a written estimate of their costs. Clearly describe your goal to get a detailed quote. The quotation you get should include labor and material costs.
Quotes for each contractor will vary based on the materials they recommend. Below are some material details that affect kitchen remodeling costs:
Laminate and vinyl flooring are low-cost options, while engineered wood has a medium price. If you don’t mind higher costs, go for natural stone, tile, and hardwood floors. The later flooring options are more durable.
Water resistance and foot traffic are important considerations when selecting flooring material. Consider also the maintenance requirements of each material.
The material you choose for your cabinets determines their cost. Stainless steel is the most costly kitchen cabinet material.
Wood veneer, laminate, and acrylic cabinets are less costly. The number of cabinets you want to install also determines costs.
Most kitchen countertops range from $40 to $150 per square foot. But, laminate is an inexpensive option at $10-$40 per square foot.
Do not just choose countertop material based on aesthetics. Consider factors like whether it stains or scratches easily and heat resistance.
Layout changes also determine the costs of a remodeling project. You may want to add or move windows.
Maybe you want to knock down a wall, add an extra room like a pantry, change the location of your sink, or install new appliances. All these layout changes increase your costs.
Determine the average costs of your kitchen remodeling project. Base your estimate on the quotes you get from different contractors. Consider your budget when evaluating costs.
Be wary of contractors whose quotes are way below or above the average. A contractor whose charges are too low may use subpar materials. They may also be understaffed and overworking their crew. If a contractor’s charges are too high, they are likely overcharging you.
Do not hire any contractor who pressures you to accept their bid. A trustworthy contractor gives you time to consider your options before deciding.
Get a Written Contract
After evaluating all bids from contractors, hire one who meets all the above criteria and offers a reasonable bid. Get a written contract from the contractor with details on the project. Ensure you read every detail indicated in the contract to ensure nothing important is missing.
Details to look out for in the contract include:
- Projected timeline for completion (this must include the start and finish date)
- Total itemized costs of the project
- Payment terms
- The crew’s work hours
- A copy of insurance and licensing documents
- A conflict resolution clause
- Details on required permits (including who will get the permits)
- A waiver of lien
If you find the terms of the contract satisfactory, ensure you and the contractor sign it.
A contract is legally binding. Thus, it protects you when a contractor does not meet the end of the bargain. No one likes getting caught up in legal issues.
So, you can trust a contractor to fulfill their obligations if they sign a contract. Do not work with a contractor who refuses to provide a written agreement.
Choosing the best kitchen remodeling contractor is not an easy task. The Alpha Living team works 24/7 on the back end to simplify your selection process. We ensure our selected contractor checks all your boxes, and that you have found the perfect partner for your remodeling project. Tap here to get Started!