Hiring a Kitchen Remodeler

How to Find and Hire the Right Kitchen Remodeler for Your Kitchen Remodeling Project

By Mark J. Donovan

A kitchen remodel can cost a fortune. Typical kitchen remodeling costs can range between $10K and $50K, and even higher in some cases, depending upon the size of the kitchen and the materials and appliances incorporated into the remodel. Consequently hiring a kitchen remodeler who’s an experienced professional is critical. Hire the wrong kitchen remodeler and you could end up wasting a lot of time and money, and experience major hassles. This said, remodeling a kitchen is a great way to improve the live-in value of your home.

For most homeowners the kitchen is the most important room in the house. In addition, a kitchen remodel also provides a high rate of return on investment because most prospective home buyers highly value a modern and luxurious kitchen.

When hiring a kitchen remodeler it’s important to first thoroughly interview multiple prospective candidates and conduct reference and background checks. As part of the initial interview each kitchen remodeler should present to you a portfolio of their past work, specifically as it relates to kitchen remodels. Who cares if they know how to build a deck or sunroom! It’s a remodeled kitchen that you’re looking for, so be wary of the contractor who has few kitchen remodeling projects to show you that they’ve personally completed.

An experienced kitchen remodeler should be able to demonstrate to you craftsmanship skills along with a strong knowledge base on the latest kitchen remodeling trends. Carefully review the kitchen remodeling design features that each kitchen remodeler incorporates into their kitchen remodels, and see if they match your kitchen remodeling design ideas and goals.

Also make sure each kitchen remodeler includes a list of references, with contact information, in their portfolio presentations.

Hiring a kitchen remodeler

I highly recommend doing at least three reference checks for each candidate, and at least one reference should be from a slightly older project, such as 3 to 5 years out. This way you can obtain an accurate handle on each kitchen remodeler’s current work habits as well as get a sense on how well their work holds up over time. Also I suggest checking with the Better Business Bureau and your state to see if any of your kitchen remodeler candidates have any past complaints or legal issues.

For your part, you should provide to each prospective kitchen remodeler candidate a list of the key features you want to incorporate into your kitchen remodel. Also, sketches of your proposed kitchen layout can also be of great help in explaining your kitchen remodeling objectives. In addition, any pictures of specific kitchen design ideas that you want to incorporate into your kitchen remodel should also be provided to the kitchen remodeler candidates. This way they can provide you with bids that meet your specific kitchen objectives.

Besides the top level kitchen design features, it’s also important to discuss during the kitchen remodeler hiring process any type of structural or mechanical changes that may be required.

Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet

For example, will any existing kitchen walls need to be moved or framed, or will any additional electrical wiring or rough plumbing be required to support your kitchen remodeling plans? By having this type of detailed upfront conversation with your prospective kitchen remodeler candidates, and asking the right questions, you should be able to determine if they have the general contracting skills to undertake your kitchen remodeling project. Again, you don’t want to hire a kitchen remodeler who is strong on kitchen design ideas but a neophyte in actual carpentry and general contracting skills.

Moreover find out if the kitchen remodeler plans to use subcontractors, such as for plumbing and electrical work, or if they will do this type of work themselves. If they tell you they plan to do the plumbing and/or electrical work themselves, ask for them to present copies of their plumbing and electrical licenses to you. They must be properly licensed to do this type of contracting work.

Also, if your home was built prior to 1978 confirm that the kitchen remodeler candidates have undergone lead paint and RRP certification. If they haven’t, and your home was built pre 1978, then by federal law it’s illegal for them to work on your home.

A home built pre 1978 could have lead paint in it, and there are specific federal laws on how to remodel or work on a home that could potentially have lead paint in it. If a kitchen remodeler candidate dismisses this as no big deal, show him or her the door.

With this basic summary for screening kitchen remodelers you should greatly improve your odds of having a successful kitchen remodeling project. However, for more comprehensive information on hiring a kitchen remodeler, you may want to check out my “Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet”. It is loaded with helpful suggestions on screening prospective kitchen remodelers and includes a detailed questionnaire that you provide to prospective kitchen remodelers to fill out. You can then compare their responses with the Homeowner Advice section in the “Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet” to identify the right kitchen remodeling contractor for your kitchen remodel.

The “Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet” is very low cost and can potentially save you thousands of dollars on your kitchen remodeling project. In addition, it will reduce the number of hassles that often accompany a kitchen remodeling project that is not well planned out or managed. Lastly, it will help to prevent project delays and reduce the overall time for actually completing your kitchen remodel by ensuring you hire the right kitchen remodeling contractor.

For help on your kitchen remodeling project, see my Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet. The Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective kitchen remodeling contractors. It also includes a comprehensive kitchen remodeling cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected remodeling costs for every phase of the project.

Related Information

Additional Kitchen Remodeling Design Resources


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