How to hire a Contractor for your Kitchen Remodeling Project
1. Take the time to develop a clear idea of what scale and scope of renovation you want and what financial resources you can direct toward the project. There is no sense to lie to yourself or a contractor about what you can afford.
2. Take photos of homes you admire, cut pictures out of magazines, and assemble other images which will help describe the type of results you hope see when your project is complete.
3. Drive around your area looking for homes that you like. When you find a house you like, contact the owner (while it may seem a bit forward, if you approach with "I really love what you have done with your home. I'm considering a similar renovation on my home and wondered if you'd be willing to share with me the name of your contractor" you'll be surprised how helpful people are. People love to hear that others admire their taste or their home).
4. Once you have a list of contractors whose work you like, be sure to contact 3-5 different contractors. Let each know that you have heard good things about them and you hoped they could come to your house for a brief look at a potential project.
5. Outline for them your goals for the project, your budget, and show them the photo/image collection mentioned in Step 2. A picture is worth a thousand words. Ask the contractor if this type of project would be interesting and appealing to him/her. If they don't show immediate interest - move on.
6. Get references from the contractors you are seriously considering -- especially from projects they have completed in the last year. Call each reference and go see the results: It's one thing to have someone say they loved their contractor on the phone, it is much more valuable to stand in their house and get a feel for the "finished product".
7. If you have narrowed it down to 2-3 candidates, ask yourself with whom you would most enjoy having dinner. A renovation takes weeks/months of your time and the contractor will be in your home almost every day so good communication and a good "fit" is key. Trust your instincts and wait for the right fit.
8. Once you hire a contractor, treat them and their team as professionals. You can set the tone for the relationship on the very first day by buying the crew pizza. If you treat them with respect they will likely return the favor....and your home will get the same treatment in exchange.
P.S. You may have heard horror stories from your friends and family about contractors, but rest assured that contractors have horror stories about owners as well.