Hiring Contractors for a Remodel

Know what questions to ask when choosing professionals to do your kitchen renovation.
By: Kristen Hampshire

Homeowner references are invaluable when searching for a kitchen professional. You want genuine feedback from real people who have lived through a kitchen renovation project with the designer/firm you’re considering. Get the dirty details. Ask a contractor's references these questions.

Also find out the company’s history. “If the firm has been open for six months, let someone else hire them.” says Brad Burgin of Burgin Construction Inc. in North Tustin, California. He suggests going with a contractor that has a track record with the Better Business Bureau and has carried insurance for many years. “This is an expensive, risky business to own,” Burgin says.

“If you can get a better price with a starter company, there is a reason,” continues Burgin, who has been in business for more than 20 years.

References will tell the real story, says Ellen Rady of Ellen Rady Designs in Cleveland, Ohio. “The most important thing is to have seen the designer’s work,” she adds. “I’m really shocked when someone calls me who has no idea what my work looks like.”

Don’t delegate your kitchen renovation to just any pro. Do your homework and check out any tradesperson before you hire them.

Hiring Tips

  • Ask for proof of insurance. Contractors should carry personal liability, workers’ compensation and property damage coverage.
  • Check the company’s track record with the BBB.
  • Consult with your local building department to find out local licensing requirements (they vary by state and municipality). Ask to see the contractor’s license and make sure it's current.
  • Ask for a list of references, and call at least three. Find out what projects the contractor has completed in the last year.
  • If hiring a general contractor, find out what subcontractors they will hire. Do some research to make sure they have a solid reputation with the BBB.
  • Interview more than one contractor for the job and ask for written proposals/estimates.

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