How to Hire a Contractor for Your Small Kitchen Remodel
Finding the best contractor as the best price can be a challenge. Click here to learn the process of hiring a contractor for your small kitchen remodel.
Kitchen remodeling horror stories are very common. A simple Google search can show what a disaster it can be if you hire the wrong contractor for your remodel.
But we’ve figured out how to help you find the best contractor at the best price, for your small kitchen remodel. Keep reading to learn how to avoid the most common mistakes in hiring contractors.
Small Kitchen Remodel: Estimate Your Cost
First, if you’ve got a small kitchen and are seeking to remodel, get into the headspace of DIY. That means to save on your costs and to expedite the process, you’ll want to figure out some things on your own.
You should know that the smaller your kitchen, the more limited your options for a remodel will be. But on the plus side, the costs aren’t as steep. Most small kitchen remodels average between $5,000 and $15,000 and that will depend on what appliances you’re hoping to install or upgrade.
You can make significant changes to your kitchen without doing more invasive structural changes. Let’s look at what some of those DIY projects could be:
Improve Your Storage
A cluttered space is a big reason for wanting to remodel. But you might not have taken advantage of space-savers like cabinets and pantries that offer roll-outs, double pull-outs, lazy susans, or even tiered racks. Included in this DIY upgrade are pull-out countertops, but you might want to save this task for a hired contractor.
It’s easy to discover more about countertops with a little research.
It’s relatively simple to upgrade your kitchen with LED lighting, eco-friendly faucets, energy saving windows and green, solar-powered appliances. Recessed lighting is another nice addition, and wouldn’t need complicated wiring.
Older kitchens usually have large appliances, like bulky dishwashers and clunky stoves. The newer models are more streamlined, and going green is a surefire way to save space and costs.
Knock Down Walls
You can do this task yourself, just be sure to check your home’s blueprint to avoid hitting any wiring or pipes. Consulting with a contractor about your architecture is ideal. But if you really want a bigger kitchen, this is the way to go.
Prep for Your Remodel: Before Hiring
Even if you’re able to do some DIY projects, you’ll still likely want to hire a contractor for more skilled labor.
One thing you can do to save costs and speed things up is to purchase some of your own materials. Some of the projects that most often need specialty materials are sink and faucet upgrades, and installing new countertops with newer materials. Others include adding accents and decor, cabinet refacing and paintings walls and ceilings.
It does pay to hire someone skilled. If you attempt to do the whole remodeling job, there is a chance you could make a costly mistake.
Ready To Remodel: The Hiring Process
Ok, now we’ll cover the actual hiring process. You’ll want to hire a contractor who has good communication skills and understanding of family boundaries, because this is someone who will be in your home for an extended period of time.
It’s true that word-of-mouth referrals are how most people find their contractors. However, if you don’t have that option, you’ll want to check out some reputable sources for a list of their licensed builders.
Next, you’ll want to research the contractor’s reviews and business ratings. You can do this with a general Google search, or Angie’s list. A good idea is to read through customer reviews. Many people are very honest online, especially if they’re anonymous.
Once you’ve selected a few potential contractors, you should contact each prospect and give them your exact project specs. This is how you’ll get the best bid to choose from. You’ll want to include your kitchen design plan and installation notes, your choice of appliances and cabinets, and where you want fixtures to be placed.
If you’re replacing flooring or countertops, you’ll want to include your plans and materials, as well as your schedule, time frame, and any other special instructions.
Interview Each Contractor
Now is the time to really interact with your contractor candidates. You’ll be in close proximity to this person and any of their assistants and staff, so make sure you’re comfortable with them.
You’ll want to ask some important questions during the interview process. Their business history is a good thing to establish, as well as how long they’ve been in business. Asking about their licensing, bonding, and insurance is important.
You’ll want to find out if they belong to any national trade association, and how much of their business is repeat and referrals. Also, ask for some of those referrals from their last 3 or 4 projects.
You should request that they provide a detailed written contract, to avoid miscommunication or legal issues. You will also want to anticipate change orders, because they’re very common for kitchen remodels. And you can also establish what the payment terms are, and the deposit fee. An itemized pricing list could help you organize better.
Inquire after their assistant staff. There could be several different workers on site, along with the contractor. These are their subcontractors, and they’re just as important to vet.
Request Bids for Your Remodel
After you’ve interviewed your candidates, you can request a bid from each of them. They’ll need to include a breakdown of their price along with an estimated start and completion date. At this point, you can start contacting their referrals.
Be sure to ask for honest opinions and experiences from those referrals!
Then, you’ll be ready to hire and sign the contract. Don’t be cheap, though. Bids aren’t intended to be a bargain-basement race for the cheapest deal. You want the bid that is the fairest, from a contractor who seems to have the best work for the price.
Construction bids are not the time to bargain-hunt. The lowest bid may result in disappointing work, costing you in the long run. Evaluate bids based on the contractor’s competence and experience executing similar projects. But don’t be afraid to haggle on some prices that seem unreasonable.
Ready To Hire Your Contractor?
This guide will have given you an idea of what to do when hiring a contractor. Small kitchen remodels aren’t the most complex contracting jobs, but they’re still involved.
Hiring the best possible contractor will ensure you’re pleased with your results. Still have questions on how to hire or anything else home remodel related? Check out our resources for more answers.