Looking for a Kitchen Remodeling Contractor?

When you choose a kitchen remodeling contractor, think about how a company hires new employees. They do not pick the first applicant that walks in the door for the job. Instead, they collect applications from many candidates. The applications include samples of their work and a list of references. After examining all the resumes, the company hires the best candidate for the job. 

Homeowners hiring a kitchen remodeling contractor should follow the same process by examining each contractor’s project portfolio, requesting references, and asking for bids from each remodeling company before making a final decision. Hiring the wrong company could be a costly mistake. To avoid big problems down the road, we recommend the following these five steps to finding the best kitchen remodeling contractor for your project:
Step 1: Compile A List of Kitchen Remodeling Contractors 
Step 2: Compare Portfolios
Step 3: Follow-up on References
Step 4: Visit Finished Kitchen Projects
Step 5: Bid Requests and Contractor Selection

Step 1: Compile A List of Kitchen Remodeling Contractors 

It takes homework to find the best kitchen improvement contractor for your project. The first step is to create a list of 5 to 10 local kitchen remodeling contractors. Homeowners should hire locally since the contractor will be familiar with local codes required in Denver and its surrounding suburbs. Successful contractors are proud of their craft. They proudly displayed their work on a professional website and Facebook page. They get good ratings on popular referral networks such as Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook. 

Below are sources to find contractors:

  1. Ask your neighbors for recommendations. They will probably know someone nearby who recently had their kitchen remodeled. Quality kitchen contractors tend to do several jobs in a neighborhood as word spreads about the quality of their work.
  2. Search for kitchen contractors in Google or Bing. Take the top five contractors on the search result page. Then use your favorite referral network, such as Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook, to check each contractor’s online reputation. 
  3. Ask for a recommendation on Facebook or NextDoor for a kitchen remodeling contractor. Follow-up on any suggestions, and if they make the grade add them to your list. 

Red Flags
Take any kitchen remodelers off your list if they are shy about their work, do not have a professional website, or do not possess good recommendations. 

Step 2: Check The Contractor’s Kitchen Remodel Portfolio

The easiest way for an established and successful kitchen remodel contractor to show their work is to display their projects on a website. Their gallery should list at least ten completed kitchens. Even better, ask the contractor to take you to an ongoing project. While on-site, be sure to review blueprints, sketches, or other plans to get an idea of how a contractor approaches a project.

Red Flags
New kitchens are expensive and complicated projects. It is not best to be a contractor’s first project. Avoid hiring contractors whose websites list only a few projects. Look closely at the pictures of their sample work. If it is below your standards or you do not see anything you like, take the contractor off your list. 

Step 3: Follow-Up on References

By now, your list is down to a hand full of contenders. It is time to start checking references. Any reputable kitchen remodel contractor will expect you to ask for a list of clients. It is a good sign when asked they immediately email you a list of at least ten references with name, address, telephone number, and date of completion. Once you receive the recommendations, sit down and contact them. Below is a list of questions to ask and be sure to take notes. 

  1. How do you like your kitchen?
  2. Was the kitchen completed on schedule?
  3. Were problems addressed promptly?
  4. Was the contractor punctual for appointments?
  5. Did work crews show up when promised?
  6. Was the project completed within the budget?
  7. How has the work held up?
  8. Why would you recommend the contractor to a friend or family member? 
  9. Is it ok for me to drop by and see your kitchen?

If a reference is positive and forthcoming about their experience, keep the contractor on your list. If their experience was poor, the homeowner might be reluctant to answer your questions directly since they do not want to be unkind. Eliminate any contractors that get bad or ambivalent reviews. 

Red Flags
The most apparent flag is if a contractor is unwilling to supply references. The next red flag would be too few references or significant time gaps between projects. Ask questions. The contractor’s openness and willingness to give you more information is a good sign.

Step 4: Visit Finished Kitchen Projects

After the reference review, you are probably down to two to three contractors. Now it is time to see their work. Choose kitchens that are similar in design and scope to your project and completed within the last 18-24 months. During the visit, check if the work has held up and ask the homeowners if their kitchen needed servicing or repairs. 

Red Flags
Here are a few red flags to look for:

  1. Shoddy work
  2. Use of substandard materials
  3. Poor flow between the stove, refrigerator, cabinetry, and sink
  4. Inferior lighting
  5. Inadequate storage or counter space
  6. Crooked tile work
  7. Tile or grout cracking
  8. Sloppy grout or caulking along edges
  9. Unlevel countertops with rough transitions between surfaces
  10. Cabinetry installation not straight or true
  11. Flooring issues

Step 5: Bid Requests and Contractor Selection  

Ask for bids from the top contractors on your list. Each contractor will present you with a detailed proposal and an estimated cost to complete the project. Take particular attention to the following: 

  1. Does the flow between the stove, refrigerator, cabinetry, and sink match your cooking needs? 
  2. Does the proposal include a timeline for the project and an estimated completion date?
  3. Is there a detail list of materials, appliances, and labor costs needed to complete the project?
  4. Does the proposal include a total cost to complete the kitchen project?

You will select your contractor from these bids. Do not necessarily pick the lowest bid. Remember that you will be living with this kitchen for some time. It is best to select the proposal that best fits your family’s needs and budget.Once selected, the kitchen contractor will draft a contract that finalizes the timeline, materials, appliances, and labor needed to complete the kitchen. After the contract is signed, the homeowner will write a deposit check and agree to a payment schedule. Your project will start on a mutually agreed date. 

Red Flags
Quality contractors who stand by their work know this is a significant investment, and they will give the homeowner time to review their proposal. Reject any kitchen contractor that tries to apply pressure or say their prices are accurate for a limited period.

Congratulations, you just started a journey to build your dream kitchen. If you would like to leave a comment on this white paper, click here to access our Facebook page.