Like any other home renovation project, when you’re embarking on a kitchen remodel, whether major or minor, don’t skip on the planning. A project that impacts the heart of your home requires careful thought.
Do you know how the construction process will affect your (and your family’s) life? What’s a reasonable timeline from start to finish? What do you envision the end product to look like? And what will it cost?
Before you hire a kitchen remodeling contractor, ask these questions
We know you’re eager to rip out those ugly, dark brown cabinets and 1980’s lighting. But before you begin your remodel, here are some important questions to ask your contractor so there are no illusions and you know what to expect.
Do You Have References?
When you’re putting out thousands of dollars, it’s not unreasonable to want to know what you’ll be getting. A reputable contractor should be able to provide you with names and numbers of past clients. Don’t be bashful about contacting the people on that list and asking them for feedback.
How Long Have You Been in Business?
Contractors who’ve been in business for many years are likely to have worked out the kinks of their trade, and know what problems are most likely to arise and how to handle them quickly and efficiently.
This shouldn’t cause you to rule out newer contracting businesses – everyone needs to start somewhere. But the business owner should still have an ample history working for other companies, with a good individual reputation to back them.
Do You Have a Contractor’s License?
In North Carolina, any construction project exceeding $30,000 requires the contractor to have a general contractor’s license. This ensures your contractor knows North Carolina building codes, and is an important step in hiring a qualified professional.
How is Payment Handled?
You should never pay for the entire project before any work is done. While it’s not uncommon to be asked to pay a minimal portion up front, look for a set schedule that outlines payments as certain milestones for the work are completed.
Do You Have a Contract?
Ask for a written contract that clearly details all aspects of the job. It should include:
- The Contractor’s complete information including address, phone, and license number.
- A detailed description of the work to be done.
- The total contracted price.
- A payment schedule.
- Start and end dates for the project.
- A statement of permit responsibility that indicates your contractor will be responsible for obtaining all required permits before work starts, and obtain the required inspections when it’s done.
- A guarantee of liability coverage.
- A statement of warranty on the work.
- A statement of details.
- A right to cancel clause.
Can I See Your Certificate of Insurance?
Don’t just take their word for it. Ask to see the contractor’s certificate of insurance. They should have both worker’s compensation and liability insurance that covers them in the capacity of the work you’re hiring them for.
What’s the Timeline for the Project?
You’ll want to know when the project is scheduled to begin, and how long it should reasonably take with considerations for delays due to weather or holidays. You don’t want to have a project drag out for months on end because of a contractor who isn’t making your project a priority. Know the reasonable timeline and your recourse if the project is dragging out for an unreasonably long period of time.
How Many Trucks Will Be Here Each Day? What Considerations Will You Give to My Neighbors in Regard to Parking?
You need to know how this project is going to inconvenience not only you, but your neighbors. And if you have an HOA, you’ll need to be sure your contractor is respectful of any legal rules and regulations. Having an agreed upon plan with your contractor makes things easier for you, and for their crew.
Where Will You Store Your Tools and Equipment?
You should not be responsible for your contractor’s tools and equipment. Not only do they represent a potential hazard to young children in your family, but you don’t want to be on the hook for paying for them if they’re damaged or stolen. Some contractors will park a work trailer on your property, keeping things there at the end of each day. Ask your contractor how they handle this.
What times Will Your Crew Be Here Working?
Mornings and evenings are hectic. It’s helpful to know what each day is going to look like, so you can plan accordingly. Knowing the crew will be at your home by 7 a.m. and gone by 5 p.m. allows you to adjust your schedule as necessary so you’ll be out of their way and they’ll be out of yours.
What Appliances, Plumbing, and Basic Systems Will Be Available / Unavailable During the Project and for How Long?
With kitchen remodels, especially with a full remodel, it’s likely that you’ll be completely without a kitchen during the project. Knowing the scope of the work can allow you to put contingency plans in place. Moving the old appliances into the garage allows you to have access to a refrigerator. Arranging for alternate food storage there as well will keep you from being completely inconvenienced as your remodel gets underway.
What’s Your Cleanup Responsibility?
Know how the contractor will leave your home at the end of each day, and at the end of the project. Will they utilize a dumpster and if so, how long will it be on your property? Will any dust, or dangerous debris be cleaned up in a reasonable manner so your children or guests won’t be in danger? And once the project is fully done, it’s reasonable to expect that there will be no construction materials left on your property – disposal should be the responsibility of the contractor.
At Kitchen Recreations, we welcome your questions – in fact, the more the better! We’re fully transparent in what we do and take pride in our work. Our reputation depends on you!