Blog Contributor: Sandy Beyer, Senior Kitchen and Bath Designer at Kitchen Kraft Inc.
When choosing a contractor doing your home work can save a lot of time, frustration and money. We’ve all heard of those nightmare stories of projects dragging out for a year, or the less than honest contractor who takes your money and leaves a half finished project.
I suggest when starting the process of looking for a good contractor request a referral from a friend or relative, research the internet or attend a trade show or even stop by your neighborhood remodel company. Interview your potential construction team to see how they work projects. Do they have a one-man team or are there multiple people involved in the process, such as a separate project manager, electrician, plumber, and general carpenter. Make inquiries about how experienced the contractor is and what types of projects they typically do, such as kitchens or bathrooms or maybe just finished basements. Ask how many years the contractor has been in business and whether they have a showroom, website and other support that shows permanency such as e-mail, voice mail and fax for good communication availability.
As you do your interviews in choosing a contractor ask if they are members of professional associations such as NARI or the NKBA. These affiliations help keep contractors up on current trends and industry codes. Check to see if the contractor is in good standing with the better business bureau for your area, if they are not, a red light should be going off for you and you should rethink your hiring of this firm. Also inquire if the contractor has any professional awards or publications in design magazines. These types of recognition are not so easy to come by and it is a sign of a company with higher standards. Request a copy of all contractor licenses and remodeling insurance certificates.
When choosing a contractor asks what types of legal agreements and contracts are used once the project is ready to purchase. There should be a: *Scope of Work *Design Plan *Change Order Process *Warranty Policy *Final Bid Price *Payment Schedule *Details for Dispute Resolution.
Remember that a low bid is not always the best bid. Picking a contractor should feel comfortable. The construction team will be in your home for several weeks and you should feel confident of your choice. When the project is finished the contractor should be someone you would invite to do a second project and feel comfortable referring to a friend or family member.