To ensure that your remodel project is done correctly and potentially a bit quicker than you may be able to do on your own, do your research so you can have peace of mind. In today’s blog post, we have compiled a list of questions you should consider as you plan your remodel project and weigh your options to hire a contractor or tackle the project yourself. For some of us, it is more than worth it to hire an experienced professional to do all or even a portion of a remodel. Keep in mind that a true professional contractor can be costly, so be sure you know your budget limitations. On the other hand, if you’re an adventurous or experienced DIY’er who has the time to do the project, you can save quite a bit of money by doing it yourself. If hiring a contractor is a better fit for you make sure you spend a little time up front researching local professionals. It’s particularly important that you find someone who has experience in cabinet installation. You may also find a great trim carpenter who might be able to do the job for you. There are a lot of handy people out there and many may be perfectly qualified to do the job. Keep in mind that cabinetry is a commitment and can not be easily switched out if something goes wrong , so you will want to ask a lot of questions to ensure the job will be done correctly and efficiently. Kitchen and bathroom cabinetry is an investment if you want quality that will last.
Things to Consider When Hiring a Contractor:
- Does the contractor have any references? Typically contractors, even small ones, at least have photos of prior projects they have completed.
- Do they have a license or proper training for the job? You may want to think about the insurance implications if you hire a non-licensed or non-insured contractor. Be sure to consider the things that could go wrong with the actual job to the possibility of someone getting injured.Talk with your insurance agent to find out if you have any coverage in case the unexpected happens.
- Does the contractor have actual kitchen or bath cabinetry installation experience? I cannot tell you how many calls we get from contractors working on a project for a client of theirs and they need instructions on how to cut and/or install crown molding. Regardless of whom you hire, you need to know that the person you’ve hired knows what they are doing.
- Establish a clear timeframe with your contractor by asking them when they will begin your project. The contract should state when they will begin and include a projected completion date. You’ll also want to discuss delivery dates and times so you can determine if the contractor will be there to unload your cabinets and what they charge to do so.
- Be aware that sometimes things can change during the course of a cabinet project. Ask your contractor to explain how they handle changes to the original layout, installation, timeline, and materials. How do they bill you? By the hour? How flexible and willing are they to work through changes? What happens if you need a different and/or additional piece that will delay the install? Will they give you priority and return to complete your job when the new piece arrives or will they put you on the bottom of the calendar? Get it in writing and be sure you are comfortable with the terms. The contract should also include working hours that will tell you when someone will arrive and how many hours per day the average expected schedule will be. Sometimes things cannot be known up front and can change as the job starts and progresses so make sure both you and your contractor understand this when looking over the contract together.
- Will you need to get a permit for the remodel? If so, can your contractor secure that for you? In some cases a licensed contractor is required to secure a permit.
- How do they bill for materials? Will they charge for the drive time if they have to drive to pick up any additional materials? Be sure they provide you with itemized pricing and ask them if they upcharge for materials they pick-up and/or order. If they do, confirm with them if you should expect that in the billing. If you do not want to pay the contractor upcharge for materials, then have it agreed upon and put into writing that you will be purchasing the items yourself and providing them to the contractor.
- Does the project estimate include dumpster or waste removal if needed? Will they charge for the drive time to visit the dump site? Make sure they explain these procedures and potential costs up front and get them in writing.
- How will you pay the contractor? How much must be paid up front, during the job, or upon completion? Make sure these agreements are in writing and that you have a clear understanding of charges, acceptable forms of payment, and when payment is due.
Warnings From the Experienced
Specify clearly the amount you want to spend on the actual cabinetry and trim materials. It is important to be realistic in budgeting so you don’t put a contractor in the position of making promises that they simply cannot keep. While there are reliable and trustworthy contractors who will give you a fair cost and estimate for materials and labor; unfortunately, there a few bad eggs out there who do take advantage of their clients. In some cases, a contractor will go as cheap as possible on the cabinetry to save money so they have more for themselves, which is sad, but very true. Plan your budget carefully and make sure the contractor shows you the actual receipt from whomever supplied your cabinetry. This is one of the biggest and most common problems we see at WoodCabinets4Less. Homeowners often call because they have to replace cabinetry they purchased through a contractor within the last one to three years due to breaking glides, poor finish, and bad wear. They think they paid a certain amount for their actual cabinetry only to find out later it was not what they expected. These are situations where the contractor they hired went for the least expensive cabinetry they could get instead of spending the budget the homeowner expected on their cabinetry. The homeowner is then left to replace that cabinetry.
We hope you have found this advice helpful as you consider hiring a contractor for your remodel project. We at WoodCabinets4Less want your project to go as smoothly as possible, which is why knowing which questions to ask your contractor can save you money and stress in the long run. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our support team. For all of your kitchen and bath remodel projects, check out our tremendous selection of cabinetry for your home.