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How to Select Contractors for Your Kitchen Remodeling Project
Jatin Dhillon

Possibly one of the most critical decisions you make while planning a major kitchen remodeling project is the choice of your contractor. Choosing the wrong person can lead to inflated costs, frustrations and an unsatisfied end result. Choosing the right person can make a difficult job easy, while the wrong one can turn the best job into a horrow show.

In the construction industry there are two types of contractors: General contractors and subcontractors. General contractors will look after each and every aspect of your kitchen remodeling project. Sub contractors, on the other hand, perform a specific task in the remodeling project. Subcontractors for a kitchen remodeling project are tile contractors, electricians, cabinet installers, insulation installers, wallpaper hangers, painters and plumbers, heating mechanics, drywall hangers and rough carpenters (who do the framing work).

If you want to save yourself the hassle of hiring sub contractors you can easily hire a general contractor for your kitchen remodeling project, though their fee is generally higher. General contractors actually hire sub contractors under them who do the work. If you have a tight budget or want to manage the project yourself you might have to deal with sub contractors yourself.

Where to look for contractors or subcontractors?

While hiring any contractor, always compare quotes from at least three prospects. This will give you a good idea of the industry rates and what to expect. If a contractor is reputed, expect to pay more.

The advertising pages of your local phone book are a good place to start. Local newspapers and magazines also feature ads. Some contractors find the fees to be listed in the phone book too high. Being on a limited budget they instead advertise in papers and local magazines.

Many contractors display signs with their company names and phone numbers when doing a job, as it gives them free publicity. If you spot a sign you can also probably gain permission to inspect the work they are involved with.

Possibly the safest way to hire a quality contractor is to simply ask your friends or someone from your neighborhood for past testimonials. Good work never goes unnoticed and you can easily leverage on past experiences of others. Moreover you can also see live examples of projects completed which will give you an idea of what to expect.

You could also use online contractor matching services which have recently become very popular. Just type in your pin code and project requirements and the local contractors contact you with quotes. Some websites also let you read reviews of contractors given by past customers.

What to look for while hiring a contractor Some common attributes which you should look for in a contractor are:

Licensing: The contractor you hire should have a license to the conduct business. Many trades, such as plumbing, heating, and electrical contracting require special licensing. Don’t associate yourself with contractors who are not properly licensed. If in doubt always check with your local code and licensing authorities to determine which licenses are needed for a particular trade.

Insurance: Many contractors don’t have insurance as it is expensive due to the nature of their job. Hiring a contractor who is not uninsured can turn into a risky situation. (Depending on which country you live in).

Experience: Experience always brings expertise. Ask the contractors for their past work and any special remodeling projects undertaken. Contractors who usually take new construction projects need not be skilled kitchen remodeling contractors. The difference in the two projects is significant.

Business Stability: The contractor business is susceptible to varying changes with swings and trends in the economy. Before entrusting your money to a contractor get a feel for whether they are a healthy company.

Beware of Sales Hype: Many businesses are skilled at making excellent promises but always fail to deliver real value. Ask for past projects completed –some of them do keep photographs. It is never a good idea to depend solely on one contractor for your project. Before starting out make sure to have 3-4 contractors on your contact list in case the original person fails to turn up.

Jatin Dhillon is a freelance writer, web publisher and a hopeless barbecue addict. His website www.outdoor-kitchens.org gives numerous articles and insights on building outdoor kitchen islands and choosing an outdoor grill.