Hiring a Pro for an Outdoor Project
Know what questions to ask when choosing professionals for your outdoor kitchen project.
By: Amanda Lecky
Landscape architects, architects, kitchen designers and contractors have all been known to design and install outdoor kitchens. Which professional you choose should depend less on affiliation and more on experience.
Mark Allen, president of the National Outdoor Kitchen and Fireplace Association, offers these tips for hiring professionals.
- Go with a company that's well-established in the outdoor kitchen business, with at least 25 kitchens under their belt.
- Make sure you can visit several past projects so you can judge the workmanship and talk to the clients about how the project has held up.
- If you live in a rural area without an outdoor kitchen company nearby, arrange for a long-distance consultation between your contractor and an experienced outdoor kitchen installer.
- It may seem like a simple project, but you're dealing with electric and gas. If the connections aren't precise, and if the cabinets aren't vented correctly, you can end up with a very dangerous situation.
As you interview designers and installers, be sure to give each the same information, so their bids will be coincide. Check references carefully, and call your local Better Business Bureau to check the professional's complaint history.
One or two grievances aren't any cause for concern particularly if they've been in business a long time, but more than that should be a red flag. It's also a good idea to ask about the contractor's insurance. If he's not properly insured, you could be liable for injuries on the job, or damage to neighbors or municipal property. Finally, don't move forward on any project without a detailed contract.
The contract should include the following basic items:
- Contractor's name, address and license number
- Begin and end dates for the projects
- Names of all subcontractors
- Terms of the agreement, including how changes will be handled and disputes resolved
- Description of the work to be done and what isn't included, like trash removal
- Materials and equipment involved
- Demolition and clean-up provisions
- Payment schedule
A Place for Your Outdoor Kitchen
From convenience to budget, use these tips to evaluate where you should build your outdoor kitchen.
Outdoor Kitchen Appliances
Get tips on how to find the right oven, fridge and more for your outdoor kitchen.
Optimizing an Outdoor Kitchen Layout
Bring your indoor kitchen design outdoors, with these tips on creating a functional layout.
Budgeting Your Outdoor Kitchen
One of the most important decisions is your budget. Find a balance between what you want and what you can afford.
Outdoor Kitchen Costs to Consider
Learn to make a budget so your outdoor kitchen won't be a wallet buster.
Utilities in an Outdoor Kitchen
It pays to learn about electricity, plumbing and gas during the outdoor kitchen planning process.
Planning Your Outdoor Kitchen
Extend your living and entertaining space with an outdoor kitchen that suits your lifestyle needs.
Outdoor Kitchen Countertops Options
Stone, concrete or tile? Get tips on how to find the right surface for your outdoor kitchen.
Outdoor Kitchen Flooring Options
Get tips on finding the right floor surface for your outdoor kitchen.
Charcoal vs. Gas: Outdoor Grills
It's the most important feature in an outdoor kitchen, but before you go shopping for a grill make sure you've done your research.
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