It's tough to find a good kitchen contractor. And because your kitchen is such an important place where you spend so much of your time, you want to get it absolutely right. Here's how to find a kitchen contractor who can help you remodel you kitchen, without breaking your bank account.
1. Do Friends and Neighbors Know Any Kitchen Contractors?
Word of mouth rules! And the closer the person is to you, the more honest the opinion. Good neighbors and relatives are the best bet for references.
2. What is His License?
Every kitchen contractor will be licensed by the state. In addition, all will have a local business license. Checking with the state is your best bet for information about licensing and infractions. If he is not licensed, do not use him.
3. Beware "Contractor Matching" Services
ServiceMagic and all those other Internet matching services: they look great, but what's the real story? Well, the real story is that kitchen contractors (and others) pay these matching services fees of $5 to $40 and sometimes more for a sales lead to you. Just because you are matched to a contractor means nothing in terms of that contractor's quality.
4. Expand Your Neighborhood Search!
Have you tapped out your close friends, relatives, and neighbors? Try this: drive around the larger neighborhood and surrounding areas, looking for those tell-tale "This Bathroom Remodeling Project is Proudly Under Contract to...(Business Name)." Don't be shy. While I would advise against knocking on doors, most people will be happy to express their opinion if you happen to see them working in the yard or in their driveway.
5. Use Seasons to Your Advantage
Holiday seasons are slow, slow times for all contractors. While you probably cannot expect any special "deals" with the contractor on account of the season (but you never know), you can probably get a contractor you wouldn't normally be able to get.
6. It's All About People Skills
Yes, the kitchen contractor's portfolio is valuable to look at. And his references--yes, check them out. But what are his people skills like? If he cannot communicate well with you at the interview meeting (i.e., is not attentive to your requests), you cannot expect him to be attentive later on in the project.
7. "But Do I Really Need Three Estimates?"
We could write a whole book about this, but: yes. Yes, you should get those fabled 3 estimates and as many more as you can stand.