Choosing Your Contractor

Creating a kitchen to your specification is a humongous task. It requires careful planning of details in different areas. Trying to translate what you have in mind into paper may be a difficult thing to do as you will have to take into considerations all the pros and cons of decisions you make, as well as the practicality and feasibility of each aspect of your new kitchen. Not to mention staying within your budget yet not compromising on what you ultimately desire without ending up with a result that would seem everything but a lost cause.

Get the idea?

A thorough plan can ultimately bring you the results you want. Browse the internet for ideas, visit home depots and start a file to save the pictures and specifications as well as cabinet, appliance and flowing information. Establish a budget before you have the plans drawn. Spend your money on what is important to you. Once you’ve done this, its time to begin planning your dream kitchen.

The basic layout of a kitchen revolves around the “Work Triangle”. The triangle is composed of three work areas: food storage, food preparation and clean up (i.e. Refrigerator, Cooktop, Dishwasher). Many Internet sites offer virtual planning that allows you to construct an image of your proposed custom kitchen designs. 

Have more than one plan as you get opportunities to compare, evaluate and combine solutions to create near perfect custom kitchens. It gives you some time to look at what you’ve created so you have exactly what you want, make minor modifications, before your construction begins.

Contractors You Love to Hate or Hate to Love?

If you prefer having professional help, consider hiring a kitchen designer. A kitchen designer is not a contractor, as he/she deal more with the overall design and aesthetics of your kitchen. The good designer will ultimately work to merge the workings of a good kitchen with the aesthetic part of it. Hiring a designer must be done time ahead. This will also help you get an accurate pricing and a better estimate of the project timeline from your contractor and will minimize any problems that may arise during the construction phase. Finding the right contractor for your project and communicating your plans via the designer ensures the contractor understands your needs, style, and desires before the project starts. 

Tips on getting the right Contractor

Ask for references

Past experience and word of mouth can make or break your decision when deciding on whether a contractor is reliable. Were they satisfied with the work? Was the work finished? Did the contractor keep to the agreed-upon schedule? Did the contractor return phone calls?

Get two or three specific written bids

Get several estimates on your project, especially if it’s a large project. Make sure that you explain the job fully to each of the contractors to ensure each one bids on the same exact job so that you can compare the estimates.

Don’t automatically accept the lowest bid

 “You get what you pay for” can’t ring much truer here. A higher bid may be worth the price in better materials, workmanship and reliability. A large number of complaints filed against contractors are the result of homeowner taking the lowest bid and then being unhappy with the low quality of work. Cutting corners will become evident when the work takes longer than originally planned, and the contractor feel ‘squeezed’ by the budget.

Make sure your contractor is properly licensed

This provides some financial protection for the customer. A license is not an endorsement of the quality of work. 

Make sure your contractor is properly insured

Ask your contractor for a copy of his proof of liability insurance and bonding or the name and number of his/her insurance agent to call and verify proof of coverage.

Most importantly…Do you trust this person to work on your home?

It is important that you trust your gut feeling ultimately when deciding on a contractor. How do you feel about this contractor working on what is probably your single largest investment – your home? Do you trust this person inside your home? Are they ‘in tune’ to your needs? Around your children? Can you communicate well with this person about the project?