Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

The Dish on Hiring a Kitchen Contractor

by Sue Booth
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Hiring a contractor to make your kitchen renovations is your best bet. How do you go about hiring a contractor and accepting the home improvement contract? Don't get that sinking feeling, here's the dish.

Know Your Kitchen Renovations Upfront

Before choosing a contractor, make sure you thoroughly plan your kitchen renovations. You should:
  • Know your kitchen renovation needs.
  • Envision the completed job from color schemes to floor plans.
  • Explain what you want from your contractor.
  • Approve any architectural plans before any work is started.

Home Improvement Contract Negotiation Tips

Make sure all agreements with your contractor are in writing. A written home improvement contract should go along with the estimate. Here is what your home improvement contract should include:
  • The contractor's name, address, and phone number.
  • A detailed description of the work being done and a list of the materials to be used.
  • Kitchen renovation start and end dates.
  • A statement that no change in plans may be made without written approval from the homeowner.
  • A condition that the contractor will acquire any permits or licenses necessary to not violate building codes.
  • Details of payment including:
    • Down payment
    • Monthly payments
    • Number of payments
    • Total finance costs
    • Annual percentage rate
  • A requirement that the contractor is responsible for insuring injured employees on the job
  • The contractor's signature and license number

Lastly, fill in all home improvement contract blanks before signing and inspect the job before signing the completion certificate. If it doesn't pan out, you will have three business days to cancel your contract. The contractor should inform you of your cancellation rights and give you the proper paperwork. It is recommended that you send cancellation notices to the contractor by certified mail-return receipt requested.

Educate yourself before you make a commitment. Make all attempts to only pay a minimal down payment for materials and services. Do not make any payments for incomplete work. Before you know it, you'll be cooking in your ideal kitchen.


About the Author
Sue Booth is a freelance writer and a former product analyst for Good Housekeeping magazine. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

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