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How to Choose the Perfect Kitchen Remodeling Company & the 8 Questions You Must Ask to Avoid a Disaster

White Sink Mixed with Wood

Choosing the right company to remodel the heart of your home is a big decision. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) did a survey in 2022 and found that the average number of kitchen remodels a homeowner does in their lifetime is 1.2. This means most people take on a project without any experience and are left to choose from tons of options all begging for their business. Most people don’t know how to choose, and make the wrong choice which leads to headaches, project delays, and added costs. 

We’ll guide you in making the right decision and help prevent you from having your fears become a reality:

The Fears of Remodeling:

  • Bad workmanship/sub-par products
  • Not starting or finishing the project on-time
  • Over budget or unsure of getting value
  • Random people in your home (not feeling safe)
  • Making a mess of your home
  • Unsure of making the right design choices
  • Not understanding the process or expectations

Despite the remodeling horror stories you’ll read online, some people find the right company and get the outcome they’d expect from a professional company.

We’ll save you from the horror stories by giving you the 6 qualities your prospective company must have (The Six C’s) and the 8 important questions you MUST ask to see if the company is actually the real deal. 

Unfortunately, Google limits its review rating to 5-stars but the heart of your home deserves more than that. Cabinet IQ has set the cabinet and countertop industry standard to a 6-Star experience by standing by the 6 C’s. 

The 6 C’s of Remodeling All Companies Must Follow:

Clarity – Your contractor should give you a total understanding of project design, construction scope, expectations, timeline and budget. There should be no unknowns going into your project. If you have questions or feel uneasy about anything, ask for clarification and don’t move forward until you’re 100% clear. Without the above mentioned items being clear, confusion in the middle of the project will occur and it’s not fun to deal with.

Cut – Only journeyman level cabinet installers should perform the work. Carpenters’ and countertop installers’ tools should be of the highest quality ensuring precise and smooth cuts to install your kitchen or bath cabinets and countertops. This ensures top-notch installations and the finished project you’re looking for.

Commitment – The contractor should be committed to a 6-star client experience by taking accurate measurements, thorough pre-construction checklist and following internal standard operating procedures to make the job flow smoothly. If an issue arises, a timely explanation of the situation as well as the solution with timelines should be communicated. A remodeling company should not be finished until you are 100% satisfied.

Competent – Each team member of the remodeling company should be extremely well-trained in their area of expertise so you know the heart of your home is in great hands. From designers, operations team and installers, the company you choose should have ongoing training and professional development sessions for their team to make sure they’re able to perform at their best.

Considerate – Remodeling disrupts your daily life and you want the process as quick and comfortable as possible for you. When the contractor is done, do they leave your home as clean or cleaner than before we got there? Do they keep the job site clean during the remodel? Do they protect the floors and areas in the home that are not a part of the remodel? The remodel contractor needs to be respectful of your time, energy, money and home.

Cooperative – Your vision for your remodel should be clearly understood and designed to your liking. Even if the kitchen designer or remodeler has a different opinion of what you think you should do, the final say is yours. It’s your home! The company’s internal company communication should be streamlined keeping your project on track with you updated on what’s going on. When your project starts, they should be in constant contact before, during and after to clearly communicate what is happening and what the next steps are.

The 8 Questions to Ask Any Cabinet Company Before Hiring Them:

  • How long have you been in business and can you share references with me? 

Newer companies will not have established company procedures and may be disorganized once the project starts. Any good company will have 100+ 5-star reviews after completing over 1000 jobs for happy clients. Check Google, Facebook, Houzz, Yelp and the BBB for any history of the company. Companies are made up of humans and humans make mistakes. However, carefully look through all the good and bad reviews to understand what you can expect for your project.

 

  • Do you have general liability insurance and the proper licensing required? 
 

General liability insurance is a must as well as making sure the mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors are licensed in the state you’re working. Don’t just take the contractor’s word for this. Vet their insurance and licenses by calling the insurance company and state licensing boards to make sure their paperwork is current. Shady contractors will try and pull a fast one on you by presenting outdated documents.

 

  • Do I need to pull permits?
 

Depending on your city and state construction codes, certain remodeling permits are required. If you choose not to pull permits when you need to, the city might catch your contractor in action and make you stop work and pull the permits. During this permit process, you’re stuck for weeks or months without being able to move on. Not a fun way to start a project. Also, when you go to sell your home, there is a disclosure form you need to sign that asks if unpermitted work has ever been performed. You’ll need to disclose the remodel work that was done and hope the home buyer doesn’t mind that permits weren’t pulled.

 

  • What are the timelines? From purchase until the cabinets arrive? How long will the installation for cabinets and countertops take? How long will you be in my home from start to finish?
 

Any reputable company will have a strong pulse on current product timelines and how long the projects will take to arrive. They will also know from experience how long the process will take from start to finish. With proper planning, there should be no contractor-caused delays.

 

  • Material Warranties. What exactly is covered under warranty and for how long? How long do warranty parts take to get in? 
 

Excellent remodeling companies resolve damaged cabinets quickly through a streamlined warranty claim process with their vendors. Excellent companies choose cabinet vendors based on how they treat their dealers and damage claims.

 

  • Are there any upcoming trends I should consider? 
 

Colors, door styles, wood species, cabinet layouts, etc. A great designer knows which trends are fading out, which ones are coming in and which styles will be timeless. Ask these questions to find out if they’re passionate enough about their craft to follow the trends of if kitchen design is just a boring job for them. A great designer will be excited to answer these questions for you.

 

  • Do you install and are your installers full-time employees? 
 

You don’t want a company to drop off cabinets at your door and say “Good Luck!” Make sure their installers are full-time who are trained not only in installation, but company processes on how to be respectful of your home and communicate effectively. A company may not have as tight of a control on subcontractor timelines as you would think and you don’t want to be left with your contractors pointing fingers at a subcontractor while your project remains unfinished.

 

  • What materials are used for the cabinets and countertops? 
 

Not all cabinets and countertops are created equally so you must ask what exactly it is that you’re receiving. Solid wood plywood for the boxes and solid hardwood for the face frames are a must for longevity. Never settle for particle board boxes unless you’re on a budget that won’t allow for quality materials.

 

By choosing the right remodeling project, it’s possible to have the HGTV fairy tale outcome for your project. Without verifying the contractor and asking the right questions, your project may take 2 or 3X the timeline you’re expecting and cause a lot of unnecessary added costs. The added costs come not only from the actual construction but longer short-term-rental bills (if you’re staying somewhere else during the remodel) and huge food bills as you’re forced to eat out without a kitchen. The last thing you want to do is switch contractors in the middle of a project and be forced to pay a premium to a reputable company to take over an incomplete and sub par project that requires rework.

We hope this guide helped you to feel more knowledgeable and confident going into your kitchen remodel project. We’re always happy to have a free idea consultation and answer any additional questions you may have about your project! With thousands of remodels under our belt, there isn’t anything we haven’t seen!

 

Best Wishes,

Michael Hartel

Cabinet IQ, Owner

(512) 994-7113

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