Everyone’s heard the horror stories of the remodel that went wrong, very wrong: the contractor skips town with the deposit, the product doesn’t arrive and you wait months for a workable kitchen or bathroom, the kitchen is left so dirty and in such disarray that it takes days to clean it up and feel like you can cook in it again. It doesn’t have to be that way! There are honest, hard working contractors out there who are good at what they do and will make your kitchen, bath, or wood floor look spectacular for a reasonable price.
So, what should you look out for when entrusting your beloved home to someone you don’t know? Here are five common mistakes you can avoid. We’ll also give you some tips on things you can do to ensure your remodeling experience is the best it can be.
- Don’t expect your project to run perfectly. Problems most likely will arise. If you get upset about a few days slippage, you’ll drive yourself insane. Remember, you will have this kitchen for a good number of years. A few days here or there are insignificant to the overall result. The important thing is that your contractor is reacting to it, getting it handled and gets everything back on track as soon as possible. For example, your contractor pulls the old cabinets off and discovers there has been a leak that has rotted the flooring and joists under the floor, so everything must stop until another company can come in and fix it. If everyone is busy, it could be a week or more. You need to be prepared for that possibility. Don’t worry, a good contractor will let you know about the problem immediately and offer solutions to get the project back on track as soon as possible.
- Don’t expect a working kitchen until the project’s done unless otherwise stated. Make arrangements so you won’t need one. Cabinet refacing does not shut down your kitchen, but new countertops in addition to refacing will. You will probably be without running water and a sink for a day or two. New kitchens are shut down on day one, as soon as the old cabinets are torn out. Depending on the countertop chosen, you’re typically looking at 2-4 weeks before you have a fully functional kitchen again.
- Don’t start your remodel before you’ve chosen your appliances. Make sure you have the specs in the contractors’ hands prior to cabinets being ordered. That way they can arrange a better fit for the appliance into the cabinets. This applies especially to wall ovens, built in microwaves, cook tops, and large refrigerators.
- Don’t pay for the entire project until the entire project is completed. Most projects will require you to make a significant down payment. This is normal since the contractor has to place orders for products that are designed specifically for your kitchen. If you decided to withdraw from the project, the down payment is their financial safety net. However, you deserve a safety net too. It is good policy to always leave a portion outstanding until the kitchen is finished. 10% is pretty typical. If you have a problem giving your contractor a down payment, then you don’t trust them. If you feel your contractor is untrustworthy, it’s time for a new one. You should always be able to trust your contractor. They’re the one that will be in your home and making big changes.
- Don’t fall for the “big discount if you sign now” routine. Some remodeling companies offer huge discounts if you sign with them on the spot. If they offer an extremely large discount, it just means their price is too high to begin with. It is more cost effective for the company to be able to wrap things up on the first call, so a modest discount to save a second trip is reasonable, just use common sense. High quality companies won’t use high-pressure tactics to get you to sign. Their products, services and references speak for themselves.
Make sure you check out your contractor thoroughly in advance. Call their references, talk to friends and family who might have worked with them before. There are such things as “difficult” or “unreasonable” clients, though. If a contractor has a bad comment or complaint, consider it against the length of time they’ve been in business and ask them to explain any issues you found. It is expected that on occasion, good contractors may have bad customers. If you see a pattern of complaints, however, you know you shouldn’t use that contractor.
You should be comfortable with and “click” with the contractor you’ve chosen for your remodel. Make sure they have a good amount of experience, positive references and valid liability insurance if something does go wrong.
Since Kitchen Tune-Up franchises are owned and operated by people from your community, it shouldn’t be hard to find someone you can trust who can vouch for them. Additionally, we assure our client’s satisfaction with our eight trustpoints.
If you have any questions, or want to learn more about how Kitchen Tune-Up can help you with your next project, contact your local Kitchen Tune-Up franchise. To find the location nearest you, [click here](link to locations page).
Susan, Charlie and their staff did an excellent job of designing and installing our cabinets.
From start to finish, Jim and his staff provided excellent service that was attentive, helpful and thorough.