If you’ve never had to deal with renovations or home repairs, undergoing an entire kitchen remodel including kitchen cabinets may leave you in a vulnerable place. There are tons of stories on the internet about people who have lost money to contractors who left them with incomplete or poorly done work. Without the proper knowledge and preparation, you run the risk of being taken advantage of by unscrupulous contractors.
Always do your research. There are a ton of resources available online to help you do the proper research before you hire a contractor. A great first place to start is the Better Business Bureau, which offers listings for accredited local contractors in your area. With access to information regarding a particular contractor’s history with customer complaints you can make a more informed hiring decision. Another benefit of using a BBB accredited contractor is that the organization can intervene to assist in any disputes that may arise over the course of your remodel. Social media is also another great tool to use to find contractors because it allows you to gain insight into the experiences of other customers. Sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List provide ratings and reviews from past customers, which helps you to figure out what you may be getting yourself into when hiring a particular contractor.
Shop around. Before choosing a contractor, find a handful to get quotes from. This will allow you to get a feel for how much the job should cost you, and also gives you the opportunity to save money. Don’t immediately run with the lowest quoted price – be sure to weigh your background research against the price to make sure that you’re making the decision that is best for you. If you take the time to consider your options, you’re more likely to find a contractor that will charge you a fair price for top-notch work.
Contracts, contracts, contracts. This cannot be stressed enough. Thorough communication with your contractor is extremely important, so be sure to detail exactly what you will be requiring of them. Then be sure to put all of this information in writing to ensure that you’re both on the same page. This contract should also include a reasonable date of completion in order to prevent unnecessary and inconvenient delays. This date should be discussed and negotiated between the two of you so that the contractor has a reasonable amount of time within which to complete the work. Include a clause detailing a refund for any work that is not completed within the allotted time. You may also want to include information regarding the clean-up responsibilities for any debris that accumulates during the job. After negotiating the total costs for the job, do not make the mistake of paying for everything up front. Unfortunately, even a contract won’t prevent some people from taking advantage of you. Pay a portion of the cost up front, and pay the rest at the completion of the job.
Build rapport. Once the job has begun, you’ll want to develop a positive relationship with your contractor. Be firm with your demands, but don’t be disrespectful. Listen to any suggestions the contractor may make, and then do any necessary additional research regarding major decisions. Don’t be afraid to speak up if the contractor is doing something that you don’t agree with. At the same time, however, don’t linger and micromanage unnecessarily. If you’ve hired a contractor that you feel is trustworthy, then trust that they will complete the job as outlined in your contract. Be nice and make your contractor feel comfortable; a positive work environment will allow your contractor to complete the job efficiently.
Seek legal advice. Sometimes, things just don’t turn out as we’d hoped they would. If things go awry, don’t hesitate to seek assistance. If the issue is minor, consider going to the Better Business Bureau for help. However, if you come into a major financial issue, legal counsel may be necessary. Being too afraid to fight against a contractor who may be trying to take advantage of you may cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Don’t be afraid to seek legal help.
Be positive! Most contractors aren’t out to steal your money. There are thousands of contractors out there who can do a great job at a reasonable cost. Doing thorough research and establishing an open avenue of communication between you and your contractor will prevent unnecessary headaches. Approach your kitchen remodel cautiously but positively. Chances are, you’ll have a great remodeling experience.