Five Questions to Ask Your Kitchen Contractor

Five Questions to Ask Your Kitchen Contractor Lifestyle Cabinetry and MIllwork

Finding the right contractor to do your kitchen remodel may seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t need to be – especially if you ask the right questions from the outset. Most contractors are respectable businessmen who have spent a number of years building up their reputation in the local community and want to continue to do so. With that thought in mind, here are five of the most important questions to ask before making a preliminary decision on who to use:

  • Will you itemize the bid? As should be obvious, contractors do not work for free – they need to make a profit to stay in business. Still, some contractors prefer to hide their costs in a single combined number rather than to itemize the costs. The tactic allows them to hide a number of extraneous costs that the homeowner is better off not paying. The best contractors do not do this and instead will show you exactly where you are spending your remodeling dollars and on what.
  • Is the price fixed? – Some contractors treat their bids as estimates. They are not being dishonest but are simply trying to cover themselves in case something unknown is encountered during the project. In general, this fact means that the final bill will usually be higher and almost never lower. Nevertheless, an experienced contractor should know what to expect on almost any kitchen remodeling job or can take the necessary steps ahead of time to determine so. In short, insist that the contractor you choose provide a fixed bid
  • How long have you been in business? – By and large, kitchen remodeling contractors rely on word of mouth to find new work. The best ones will be able to provide local references as well the paperwork – certification, insurance, and bonding – required by the state. Any contractor who will not or is even hesitant to provide this documentation should be avoided at all costs. In addition, it is advisable to use one that has a permanent address rather than just a P.O. Box.
  • Where do you get your materials? – Similarly, an established remodeling contractor will have a wide range of contacts within the local construction industry. This fact means that they have ready access to all of the materials needed to complete your job on time and on budget. It is also a verification that they pay their bills on time and live up to their word. Finally, it means that they can obtain superior pricing and can pass some of these savings on to you, their client.
  • Who will be running the job on site? For all but the smallest of remodeling contractors, the person who bids the job – whether the owner or a salesperson – will not actually show up on the job site on a daily basis. Instead, a foreman will be appointed to oversee the actual construction. Ask to meet this person before signing the contract – preferably on a job site he is currently running. Doing this will give a great sense of how responsible the foreman is and even allow you get a reference from a current client.

Depending on the scope of the project, a kitchen remodel can run the gamut from extremely simple to monumentally complicated. In either case, it pays to do your homework before signing the contract. For more information on these and other specific questions you should ask a contractor before hiring one, please contact us at Lifestyle Cabinetry and Millwork.