Kitchens can be expensive and one of the more difficult rooms to remodel in your home. The average kitchen remodeling project costs can begin around $20,000 to $50,000 and usually takes around 8 weeks to complete. When evaluating contractors, it is best to treat the entire process like a job interview. Here are some questions you should ask every contract you interview.

    1. Are you licensed and insured?

To find out if a contractor is licensed in Virginia, call (804) 367-8511 or click http://www.dpor.state.va.us/regulantlookup/. To find out if an electrician, plumber, gas pipe fitter, or HVAC specialist is licensed in Virginia, call (804) 367-2945. It is also a good idea to ask for a copy of the certificate of insurance, which should list you as “additionally insured,” in case the policy expires in the midst of the renovation.

    1. How many subcontractors will be working on my renovation?

Ask the contractor for a list of all workers who will be involved in your kitchen renovation. You will want to know if the tile installers, painters, cabinet makers, electricians, carpenters, cabinet installers are employees or sub-contracted out. It’s best to ensure all sub-contractors are covered under worker’s compensation laws and disability insurance.

    1. Who will be your main point of contact and what is the best way to communicate?

If your main point of contact is not at your house every day, find out if he or she prefers email or phone conversations. Once you determine that it might be a good idea to touch base every couple days. You should meet on location.

    1. Ask for an itemize Bid.

If you get an itemized bid, it’ll show the costs for all the various elements of the job, including:

      • Demolition and hauling trash
      • Framing and finish carpentry
      • Appliances
      • Plumbing
      • Electrical work
      • Tiling or other floor covering installations
      • Lighting fixtures
      • Drywall and painting

This helps compare contractors’ prices and if you need to cut costs, you can easily figure your options. Plus, an itemized bid becomes valuable documentation about the scope of your project, which may eliminate disputes later.

    1. Who are the contractor’s suppliers?

It’s always nice to know who the contractors are purchasing from. Are they using name brand, reputable companies or generic? Research the suppliers and read reviews on their products. Contractors are networked with their suppliers.

Along with asking for homeowner reference it’s good to ask if the contractor can provide supplier references from:

      • Tile shops
      • Kitchen and bath showrooms
      • Lumber yards
      • Electricians
      • The pro desk at your favorite home improvement center
      • Plumbers
    1. Ask your contractor how the payment structure works. Will you have to pay 25% or 50% upfront and can you make progress payments?
    2. How does the design process work?

Does the contractor himself provide the designs or do they sub this work out to professional design company? Some contractors are spending a lot more time running their businesses and managing projects. It’s always good to ask the contractors why they are recommending this design and what made them come up with the idea. Depending upon the complexity of your project, you may need many skilled pros to get the job done.

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