This guide will help you find experienced and reliable contractors for your kitchen renovation project. You find tips to guide you as you collect contractor estimates and decide how to pay for your remodel project.
It’s no surprise that kitchens are one of the most popular types of remodels amongst homeowners. And year over year, this type of renovation only continues to increase in projects completed and project spend.
As the heart of the home, upgrading various elements of your kitchen can be a total game changer in terms of functionality and value. So whether you’re remodeling your space to enjoy it for yourself or prepare it for resale, the return on investment can be a big one — if done properly.
And one of the biggest factors to make sure of that when remodeling your kitchen is your contractor. That’s why in this guide, we’ll provide helpful tips to find the right kitchen renovation contractor for your project.
Tips for Choosing the Best Kitchen Remodeling Contractors
The search for a quality kitchen remodeling contractor can be overwhelming — especially if you’re simply relying on Google to “find kitchen remodel contractors near me.” The list is likely endless, so it’s better to turn to friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors first. They can be the best resources to help narrow down your list quickly and confidently. If you know someone who’s completed a kitchen remodel recently, ask who they worked with. Would they recommend them? Were there any major issues during the project? When the information is coming from a source you know and can trust, the more details you’ll be able to get to ensure they’re a good fit.
Then do some digging on your own. Look for these contractors online to check out their rating and reviews. Browse their websites and portfolios to see if it feels like a style and quality that meets your standards. If they seem to check all the initial boxes, then the real work can begin. Here are all the steps you should take when choosing your kitchen contractor.
Learn More: How to do a legal dispute for contractors
Steps to Finding the Best Kitchen Renovation Contractor for Your Project
- Evaluate their Experience & Expertise
While the hope is that any contractor you choose will do a great job, every professional will have their own specializations and unique skills that they’ll bring to a project. Ideally, you’ll want to find a kitchen remodel specialist with extensive experience in this area.
Even further, some kitchen remodeling contractors will focus more on additions versus renovations or vice versa. Based on your specific needs, these niche contractors better help you flesh out your vision for the new space, make smart decisions and pivots wherever necessary, and ultimately get you the best value for your project.
- Check out their portfolio.
Ask to see photos and virtual tours of the home remodeling contractor’s past work. Take note of how many examples they have to share and how many of them are actually kitchen remodels. If their portfolio isn’t very deep, they either don’t have a lot of experience or they only have a few that they’re proud to display — or didn’t have any issues along the way.
Ask for photos, blueprints, sketches and other visuals from projects within the past year to get the best understanding of how they approach a project. Pay attention to specific details regarding workmanship and style to make sure it meets your standards and matches your personal preferences.
- Verify their credentials.
A kitchen renovation contractor’s experience will only go so far without the proper licensing and insurance. Proper bonding, insurance, and licensing is a must. While all kitchen remodeling contractors should have them, you’ll want to verify that everything is current and to code. Ask for license and policy numbers, and double check there are no legal actions, past or pending. And make sure to ask about their process for following local building codes and regulations with the necessary permits.
If any issues happen throughout the project, you don’t want to be held responsible. Your contractor’s insurance will ensure that any injuries that subcontractors may sustain on site are covered, while protecting you if your home has any significant damage as a result of the construction.
- Verify contractor’s reputation online.
Check out the contractor’s history with other projects. Browse online reviews and look for any red flags. Have there been any major issues or even legal disputes with past clients? Are their reviews more negative than positive? Reversely, look for positives as well. In either case, if you are able to contact the sources posting their experiences directly, it could help you get the full story before making any major decisions about your project.
- Schedule Interviews with Your Top Choices
Once you’ve created your short list of kitchen remodeling contractors, set up some time to meet face-to-face for a consultation. We recommend going through this process with at least three contractors (4-5 is even better!) so you have a stronger baseline for comparison. Be prepared with a lot of questions. The more you know leaving the interview, the better position you’ll be to hold each contractor accountable and make the best decision possible. Here are some questions to get you started:
- Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
- What is your experience with remodeling kitchens? Have you completed any projects like this one?
- Can I have a list of references from kitchen remodels that you’ve completed recently?
- How many projects do you run at the same time?
- What phases of the project will you be handling versus subcontractors?
- How long do you anticipate my project to take?
- What permits will be required for my project? Who will obtain them?
- What are your methods for communication? How can I contact you throughout the project?
- What’s your expected payment schedule?
- Why is your quote different from another I received from a kitchen remodel contractor near me?
- Get Written Estimates
When remodeling a kitchen, your contractor should be as thorough as possible in their estimate. You’ll want to request a written estimate from each of the contractors on your short list and ensure that they are itemized with as much detail as possible. This information is crucial to helping you compare pricing, materials, and labor costs across each company, and leverage lower estimates across contractors to get the best value for your project. You should also do a little research in regard to high and low national and local averages for kitchen remodels of your size. This will also help you bring some credibility to the negotiation table.
Learn More: Average cost of a kitchen remodel
- Evaluate Your Options & Make a Decision
Once you have all the estimates in hand and your questions answered, it’s time for the final review. Assess the scope of work and the cost breakdown of each. Consider your budget, as well as which contractor you feel would be the most compatible to your style and needs. If you feel one kitchen remodel contractor is better than another but has higher costs, are the extra costs worth it? You shouldn’t have to sacrifice items on your wish list, but there may be areas that carry more weight in terms of your overall project goals that are worth the extra costs and compromising a little elsewhere. Make the right decision based on what’s most important to you.
And when reviewing all costs, make sure you consider a contingency fund — this is crucial for any unforeseen issues or changes that may arise during your project.
Speaking of finances, this is where you’ll start to consider your loan options if that’s how you plan to pay for your kitchen remodel.
RenoFi can help you with this process by helping you understand the loans available to you and the benefits and pitfalls of each. Our Renovation Advisors can even connect you with local lenders to make your search a lot easier.
- Finalize the Contract — but First, Negotiate!
Before you sign anything, see where your kitchen renovation contractor may be willing to negotiate. Leverage those other quotes and national/local averages to negotiate wherever possible to put you in the best position financially. If there have been any changes or modifications to the original estimate, make sure everything is reflected in the final contract. Do a thorough read through to make sure you’re on the same page from the get-go.
Walk through all of your project timelines and milestones. Make sure you know who will be working on what phases of the project, when they should be completed, how your payment schedule will work, and the best way to communicate with your contractor while the project progresses. Make sure all terms and conditions are clearly defined and in writing to avoid discrepancies or disputes down the road.
What RenoFi Can Do to Help
For the smartest way to finance your kitchen renovation, RenoFi is here to help. For us, that process starts with finding the best kitchen remodeling contractor for the job. We know this decision will play a huge role in the quality and cost of your project, as well as your overall experience, so we can help you throughout the vetting process. We know what questions to ask for your unique situation and even have a network of qualified contractors to help get you started.
When it comes to financing, we’ll help you borrow against your home’s future value after the kitchen remodel is complete, so you can get the most money for your project at the lowest rates. Contact our Renovation Advisors for a cost estimate and start the process for your kitchen remodel today!**