You have a vision: You can see your new kitchen, with dinner already bubbling on the state of the art stove, kids peacefully doing homework at the granite island, and your teenager filling out college applications at the mini office that is built in to the kitchen area.
Our kitchen is the center of our home. We spend so much time there and cherish the memories that we are creating. You just find yourself with a couple minor problems. The oven does not work, the refrigerator is too small, the cabinets were hung at the end of the Vietnam War, and if you trip over the split seam of the tile floor one more time you might really break your ankle this time!
How do you move from point A, reality, to point B, your dream kitchen? The easiest choice is a local home improvement contractor! National companies may feel too impersonal and a one-man handyman company may not be able to complete the whole job. Your local home remodeling company can give your job the attention it needs, and call on their employees and subcontractors to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
The first criteria is to ensure you chose a contractor who is licensed by your state. Licensing is a rigorous process-if your contractor has gone to the trouble and expense to practice legitimately, they are in it for the long haul. That company wants to STAY in business and the best way to do that is to keep their customers satisfied.
The second step is to ask your friends, neighbors, and co-workers for recommendations. Most successful contractors rely on word of mouth referrals. If your neighbor is happy with their work, and recommends the company to you, then you can rest assured you will most likely have the same level of customer service and craftsmanship.
There are other ways to find a local contractor. Search the internet, but pay close attention to customer reviews. Join Angie's List and again, read the reviews carefully. Study your prospective contractor's web site, see if their philosophy matches yours.
After you have identified a prospective contractor, call for an estimate. Listen to their ideas, as they have seen plenty more kitchens than you have! Ask for pictures of other similar jobs. Listen to your “gut” -do you trust this person? Do they show up on time in a marked vehicle for the quote? Do they present themselves and their company well?
The final step is to review the quote. Did you receive it in a timely fashion? Is it detailed to your satisfaction? Did you ask for a list of suppliers through which you can get a “contractor's discount” for your tile, appliances, etc? Do you understand and agree on the timeline for the project?
If you get more than one quote, be sure to weigh all factors (quality, reputation, licensing, location) before making a decision. The cheapest price is usually not the best deal.
Now the hard part is over and the fun begins! Watch your dream kitchen become a reality!