There are many factors to consider when hiring a kitchen and bath remodeling company. Here are a some tips on what to look out for with your investment.
Start with a simple search online. We live in a digital age, so take advantage of it. Chances are that most reputable kitchen remodeling companies have an internet footprint. Check for online reviews. Good kitchen remodeling companies are also proud of their work, so you should be able to stumble onto pictures of their work. Make your way to your preferred search engine, or you could head to websites like Houzz, Angie’s List, and Facebook which will have customer reviews and pictures.
You may also want to search the website of remodeling industry and construction associations like NARI ( national association of the remodeling industry) and NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) for kitchen remodeling companies near you. Many of the pro’s belong to these organizations because of the continuing education offered and networking. Remodeling companies that belong to these organizations are more likely to be up to date on current design trends and building codes from sharing industry insight while attending chapter meetings and conferences.
Finally, when you find a few companies you may want to reach out to, give them a call. A lot can be said about how a company operates by how they answer the phone, handle appointments and what information is given and taken from your first conversation with them.
Once they’re in the door
Let your guard down. The best way to get an honest estimate and a fitting design is to give as much information to a designer or representative as possible. By the end of a meeting, a kitchen designer should know your project budget, appliance preferences or requirements, how long you intend on living in your current home, preferred styles, colors, and textures. When you work with a kitchen design firm, you should feel like you and the designer are teaming together against the project goals and budgets. You should not feel like it is you versus the kitchen design remodeling firm. This approach will allow you to see who will be giving you the best value for your project, not the best price.
Follow up meeting
So you’ve narrowed down a couple of potential companies to work with. Now it’s time to see what value will be proposed to you. This is the a great time to screen a company on things like customer focus and procedures. While reviewing the design and quote proposed, you should feel like the designer really did a great job on listening to what you expressed. Were your needs and wants mentioned at the first meeting incorporated well? A good designer will take your ideas and translate them into a well thought out design, with some of their suggestions based on experience, industry standards and current building codes.
Do the numbers add up? The quote should also be thorough and reflect products, materials and all labor charges, hopefully within a few percent of the budget originally discussed and ask for what is not included.
Once you’ve reviewed the design and quote, ask about payments and scheduling. A solid company should have a multiple draw payment schedule or milestone payments spread throughout the duration of the project. Be wary of anyone that asks for more than a one-third deposit for a total project at signing. This may be a sign of an under budgeted quote or unprofessional practices that may lead to discrepancies mid project. You should also look into your state’s law regarding payments and deposits for contractors.
Ask for local and state requirements that a kitchen and bath remodeling company should have like liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, safety training, and licensing. They should be readily available and up to date.
Begin your search for the right company at least two or even three months before you want your renovation to begin. Do not expect a semi-custom or custom kitchen to be designed and started within a couple of weeks of your inquiry. Cabinets will typically take at least four or five weeks to come in after ordered. Then add at least another week to that as an experienced kitchen and bath dealer will strongly suggest that you purchase a sample door of the approved cabinet , in your selected wood species and color. Your door sample may take over a week to come in or to be made. Do not wait until your kitchen if filled up with new cabinets to realize you did not make the best selection.
You will also need to set time aside to choose all finishes and textures involved in your project. Expect to be asked to schedule meetings with your designer to review and choose these products. A kitchen design-build company with a good reputation will typically be scheduled out for at least a few weeks up to a few months, but be patient as it will be worth the wait.
You’re on board
By now you have seen at least two or three potential designers and companies to work with, and you are leaning the most strongly towards one of them. Ok, time to sign the contract, right? Not so fast! Let’s go over some details. If it hasn’t already been discussed, now is a good time to find out some last-minute details. Remember, established and reputable kitchen remodeling companies are proud of what they do. Ask about their skilled work force. Will a single crew be working on your job start to finish? Do any of them have any certifications or accolades? How will precautions, safety and security of your home and property be handled? How is communication established and conducted between you as the client, the crew and the office. The answer to these types of questions will indicate how things will most likely unfold during the course of your project.
Ok, you’re hired….right?
Let’s talk warranty. The company of your choice should have all warranty information on the products and services they are offering on hand. Find out the length of warranties offered as well as what they will and will not cover. Get documentation.
Finally, put the contract back on the table. Make sure all aspects of the build are accounted for and are in writing. If all aspects of the project within reason are already accounted for, there is less of a chance for blowing out the budget with things like change orders, additional work orders and even design changes. All floor plans, elevations and drawings should be a part of and involved in the contract. A good kitchen designer will provide a copy of all the detailed sheets, but it will be left up to you to make sure you know what you are agreeing to buy.