Think for a hot minute.
When was the last time you heard of a great experience someone had a great experience with a kitchen remodeling contractor? A kitchen remodeling contractor who just blew a friend, a neighbor, or a family away with his professionalism?
Okay, now, think of a time when you heard something bad about a contractor? A botched remodel, or a kitchen remodel from hell, or a contractor who shamelessly ripped everyone off.
Here is the test?
Which of those two scenarios have you heard the most often? I've wager that you've heard way more horror stories than you have success stories. Bad news travels fast and no one talks about all the projects that successfully landed, am I right?
The truth is that there are a lot of bad general contractors and kitchen remodeling contractors out there. When you are on the hunt for a contractor to remodel your kitchen (or anything else) there are a lot of things to watch out for, to beware of, and to just plain avoid.
I'll touch on a few.
4. Contractor's License? We Do not Need No Stinkin 'Contractors License
Do not use an unlicensed contractor. It is really that simple.
A contractor's license insures that your contractor has met the basic requirements to be a general contractor. Almost every state in the United States requires a contractor to be licensed, and to obtain a license must typically demonstrate knowledge of construction, proper safety, and labor laws.
Hiring a kitchen remodeling contractor without a license is not asking for trouble. It is actively inviting trouble to find you and damage your property. And expose you, the homeowner, to legal liabilities.
Solution: Ask a contractor for his license number (most contractors will have their lic. Number prominently displayed on their business cards, ads, or websites) and verify that license with your state's licensing board. For instance, in California, you'd call or go to the CSLB's website to verify a contractor's license.
3. Contractors Who Will not Give Estimates, or Charge for Estimates
A free estimate is a standard request for any type of remodel or home improvement. An estimation should be provided in writing and should be thoroughly itemized.
If you run across a contractor who does not provide estimates, find another contractor. If you run across a kitchen remodeling contractor who provides estimates, but insists on charging you for an estimate, run away. Run far away.
Solution: Get three written estimates from three reputable contractors. Get them in writing.
2. Contractors Who Will Not Provide References
Asking and receiving references for past work are a standard request when hiring any type of contractor. A general contractor should be able to provide several verifiable references and a portfolio of work.
And if a kitchen remodeler can not or just will not provide verifiable references? Yep. You got it. Walk away.
Solution: Call your contractor's references. Ask questions like, Were you happy with the work done?
1. Contractors Who Are Perennially Late
You make an appointment for an estimate, or to review some blueprints, or change a design element. You take off work, and you show up on time, and your contractor … does not. He's late, very late, or simply flakes on you altogether.
You would not tolerate chronic lateness from an employee and your employer would not tolerate it from you. Make sure you do not tolerate it from your contractor.
Solution: Make sure your contractor has a clear understanding of your expectations. And hold him or her to those expectations.