How To Find A Contractor For Kitchen Remodel

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Let’s dive into how to find a contractor for a kitchen remodel. From our own kitchen remodel to working with clients, the experience can be very overwhelming, and we are in the business! It’s not just about choosing a contractor, it’s about finding the right fit for your specific project.

I’ll share essential steps to not only ensure a smooth kitchen remodel but also to prepare you for any unexpected twists and costs along the way. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of making your kitchen remodel a success without the stress.

how much to paint cabinets professionally
how to find a kitchen remodel contractor

Do I Need a Contractor for a Kitchen Remodel

Unless you are highly skilled in structural or home improvement construction, I highly recommend hiring a general contractor for your kitchen remodel and one who specifically has experience with kitchen renovations. 

Many of you emailed after I shared our grey kitchen cabinets with white quartz remodel last week, asking how to hire a contractor for a kitchen remodel so I put together a list of things for you to consider and even made you a checklist towards the bottom of the post that you can print out!

Jim was the acting general contractor for our kitchen remodel project and I won’t lie, it’s a nice perk having a fiance who is a contractor!

kitchen remodel with grey cabinets and white quartz
Loving our new grey kitchen cabinets with white quartz countertops!

The kitchen remodel below is an example of when and why you need to hire a contractor.

The kitchen renovation that Jim did at the ranch flip house required removing walls and structural changes which require a professional.

renovation showing living room and dining room with walls removed and studs showing
how to hire a general contractor for a kitchen remodel

Situations like, removing old cabinetry and installing new require precision and knowledge when it comes to installing properly as well as addressing existing electrical work and plumbing. 

Understanding the Scope of Work

Narrowing down the specifics and what your dream kitchen project will entail, is the first task that needs to be completed. 

If you are looking for help in narrowing down your kitchen renovation, download and print my handy kitchen checklist – thought starter guide below.

Once you determine the scope of work to be completed, it’s time to figure out if you need to hire a professional or if your DIY skills are up to par!

Preparing for Your Kitchen Remodel

Creating a vision for your new space on paper is one of the best ways to get laser focused. This will help narrow down the scope and will impact the selection process which is a vital part of the remodeling process. 

You have 2 options when it comes to designing your kitchen. Either replacing cabinets or keep your existing cabinets.

The kitchen example below shows our kitchen cabinets before we painted them grey and installed white quartz countertops.

grey painted kitchen cabinets before and after

If you followed along during our kitchen remodel, you know that saved a boat load of money by keeping our existing cabinets and replacing the countertops.

If you opt for this choice, be sure the kitchen remodeler you hire, has a professional cabinet painter on board and ask to see samples of previous kitchens they have painted. You can see my entire post on how to paint kitchen cabinets professionally for more details.

New Cabinets

If you are planning to install new kitchen cabinets, it is beneficial to purchase cabinets from either customer cabinet maker or a kitchen company that sells cabinets.

Either way, they will have a design center where you can meet with a professional designer who will visit your home, take measurements and create a 3d rendering of your kitchen layout and new cabinet specifications. 

Below is the kitchen cabinet layout that the Horner Millwork Kitchen Design Center provided me when we installed new cabinets at the split level home renovation project.

This rendering will either need to be given to your kitchen remodeler contractor for installation or many times, the place your purchase your cabinets from will complete the installation.

A full kitchen rendition of each cabinet size (as shown above) and wall measurements will be necessary for the install process.

kitchen cabinet and island installation split level house
Jim installing the new kitchen cabinets during the split level home kitchen remodel project

Paint Existing Cabinets

If you are painting your existing cabinets, your general contractor will most likely hire a good cabinet painter to complete that portion of the job. 

best kitchen cabinet paint brand

For our kitchen remodel, we hired a professional cabinet painter to paint our existing cabinets. 

What Do I Need to Decide Before My Kitchen Remodel?

1. Create a vision on paper for your new space and how it impacts the selection process. This will help you determine the scale of your project.

2. Create a budget and ideal timeline on paper

kitchen renovation checklist

Being organized with what your expectations are and an idea of how much money you want to spend on the project is key to narrow down before hiring a kitchen contractor.

Beginning Your Search for a Kitchen Contractor

If price is the most important aspect to you then getting a couple estimates from different contractors is a good idea.

Things to look for when hiring an experienced kitchen remodeler: 

Referals 

Referrals are worth their weight in gold!

Start the hiring process by asking friends and family for referrals. Chances are if a contractor has earned the stamp of approval from a friend or family member, they will be a great asset to your project.

You can also ask for referrals in public or private Facebook groups within your town. Many towns have dedicated private Facebook groups typically run by a member of the community and this is a great way to find professional help.

Utilizing Various Resources

Many kitchen and bath professional associations will also have a listing of certified and licensed contractors. These are not the end all be all to finding a contractor but they are available. 

Vetting Potential Contractors

Checking for contractor licenses, verifying they are in good standing and obtaining a copy of their liability and workers compensation insurance policy is a good idea. If a contractor isn’t willing to give you a copy of these, that may be a red flag.

Keep in mind that for projects needing a permit, it’s typically the responsibility of your licensed and insured general contractor to pull the permit.

Make sure your contractor fulfills these criteria to prevent any hold-ups with town or state regulations. Every state and town is different, so call your local town hall building department to inquire if you have questions.

Asking for referrals that you can call or see the contractors work is also a great way to vet a potential contractor.

Understanding Quotes and Timelines

How Long Does a Kitchen Remodel Take?

Discussing the typical wait time and project cost for kitchen remodeling projects.

slab dolly to remove large stone countertops
hiring a kitchen remodel contractor who has good relationships with vendors is important

Hiring a general contractor that has established relationships with a kitchen designer, countertop brands and fabricators, flooring installers, electricians and plumbers will all help prevent significant time gaps between installs. 

When you work with a countertop company, they will provide you with a counter template and layout. Below you will see our our rendering from Discover Surfaces who fabricated and installed our new quartz countertops.

kitchen countertop template

Depending on the type of renovation, the completion dates may vary depending on the scope of work but it’s important to have cohesiveness and an established relationship between all the vendors and that is where the seasoned kitchen remodelers will have an edge over others. 

Analyzing and Comparing Quotes

Just because someone has the given you the lowest quote, does not mean they are the best contractor for the job.

Often times, you will get what you pay for and if the estimated cost is significantly less than other estimates, ask the question – why? 

Consider the type of materials that will be used in the contract. If the price is based on cheap materials and you are expecting a specific brand or quality, then be sure to ask what the contract includes. 

Does the contract include permits from the town and disposal. If your town requires that you pull a permit for the project, there will be a fee. Many towns also require contractors to use a licensed disposal company for job site debris (ie. old kitchen cabinets, counters ect) which will also have a cost.

If the kitchen project includes structural changes, like removing a load bearing beam, make sure the contract includes architect fees for the design process of those changes. 

Does the contract have allowances for cabinets, counters, backsplash, fixtures, lighting, flooring, paint and appliances. If it does not, then you obviously will need to purchase and have those installed at an additional cost. Keep in mind, labor costs can vary significantly depending on the area you live.

A kitchen renovation project can get expensive quickly if key components of the remodel are missing from the contract. 

I can say from experience, that a home improvement contractor who has plenty of experience will have a detailed final contract that will many times include allowances for certain categories like fixtures, cabinets, counters and hardware. 

Key Questions to Ask Your Contractor

Developing a list of questions to ensure a good fit and understanding of the entire project is a great way to prepare for a meeting with a contractor. 

Download my free list of questions below.

Discussing payment schedule, change-order clause, and project manager roles. Will there be subcontractors hired and if so, which ones.

Change orders are a key aspect of any home improvement project and they should be in writing.

Making Your Final Decision

When some asks the question, how to find a contractor for a kitchen remodel, it’s important to weight all the pros and cons between various estimates. When balancing cost, quality and compatibility it can get overwhelming quickly.

Factors to consider beyond the price quote, would be workmanship, good reputation and a high standard of professionalism.

If you meet a contractor at your home and immediately feel a personality conflict or something doesn’t seem right, take that into consideration even if their price is appealing. The last thing you want to do is hire someone who rubs you the wrong way just to save a buck!

Successful contractors will have years of experience in the kitchen remodeling field and will have no problem giving you their insurance certificate, referrals, a written contract detailing the scope of work, payment schedule and warranty on their work. 

One thing to note, this isn’t to say that someone just starting out in their business isn’t the best candidate, they may actually be the best depending on the scope of work.  

Choosing the right contractor is the first step in bringing your dream kitchen to life. With the right approach and knowledge, you can find a contractor who not only meets your needs but also adds value to your home, ensuring a boost in both enjoyment and resale value.

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Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.

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