You know what you want. You have a basic plan for developing further every day. You just know your kitchen will be amazing after this remodeling job. You know how long you can survive without it. You and your family are sure of certain aspects. Materials and colors and appliances are selected. You are really pumped for this project. Sure, you are still working on your budget. You should be. You have now come to a decision that can add substantially to it. How much, if any, of the work do you plan to do on your own?
This is a serious question. The answer to it is not general. It is based upon each individual. It relies on various factors. How much money you have will also affect your choice of going it alone or hiring a professional. Another influential aspect is the extent of the project. If it is a small remodeling job, it may require little to no external involvement.
Time also becomes a factor in your decision to hire a professional or not. If you do not have the time to handle the remodeling project yourself, you will call in others to do it for you. However, this is not the first question you should ask yourself. The most critical question you need to seriously consider is this. “Can you handle the work essential to completing the work required?” “Are you capable of doing all the necessary work involved?”
When you decide to remodel your kitchen, you are undertaking a complex task. The initial question is “What are your skills?” The second question is “How good are you?” You not only need to answer these questions, but you must also be completely honest. If you are not, you are doing yourself and your kitchen disfavor. Not only could it produce a disastrous result aesthetically and practically, but it could also be a financial catastrophe or at least a calamity. You can avoid it by doing the following.
HOW GOOD AN ELECTRICIAN, PLUMBER, AND JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES ARE YOU?
• Before you decide to work on the kitchen by yourself, sit down.
• Grab a pencil or use a computer.
• Take a deep breath.
• Look at the overall job.
• List the specific requirements for the various tasks.
• Detail what you can handle on your own. Be honest. Be very, very honest.
• Note what you cannot do.
• Note what you feel uncomfortable doing.
• List the professionals who can do these specific jobs.
• Look at your preliminary budget.
• Factor in the costs and reconfigure it.
• Repeat the whole process again.
You may have to rework the budget several times until it balances. Keep in mind, however, that you may save money in the long run if you hire a professional. In fact, there are many good reasons why you should hire a pro. You get the job done right. You can sometimes save money. You save time and energy. You will not be spending all your time working on the remodeling project. For some, paying others to work frees them up. They have more time and less stress if they allow someone else to take charge of the actual work.
A kitchen remodeling job can involve a variety of experts. They can be contractors, subcontractors, electricians, plumbers, floorers, cabinet makers, carpenters, and other specialists. It all depends upon the job, your skill level, and your budget. You may bring in one particular type of professional close to the start of the project. This is the Kitchen Designer.
A Kitchen Designer is a professional. He or she is certified. The services a Kitchen Designer offers are available through a variety of sources. He or she may be allied with contractors of the various trades, architects, builders, and even retailers. You can find one through the usual means:
• Recommendation of a friend or builder
• Through checking specialty periodicals. Many provide before and after pictures or feature specific kitchen designs. The name of the designer may be provided in the article. He or she may even be prominent in the article or be the author of the piece.
• Visit show houses or model homes. Ask them whom they use if you like the style.
• Ask a local contractor for a referral. If you plan on hiring one, see if he or she has any particular preference.
• Visit retail or kitchen supply shops. Some of these stores have a Kitchen Designer on staff. They could also recommend one to you.
If you decide to opt for a professional designer, select at least 3 to interview. Set up a meeting. Bring what you have to show. Discuss the project frankly with them. See how well each candidate communicates. Do they understand your goals? Do they see your vision? Can they put it into paper? Moreover, can they indicate what is wrong and how they can or cannot make it work?
The perfect candidate will ask the right questions. They will ask about the style of cooking and the purpose of the room. He or she will seek to know the size of the family. They will want to know about who cooks, who uses the room and how busy it gets. The Kitchen Designer will also want to hear about the problems and your intended solutions. If the individuals do not ask you any questions, they may not really be listening to what you have to say. Their responses will help you single out one from the other.
Narrow down the field by checking out their previous projects. Ask them for a portfolio. See if they have anything posted online. Talk to former customers. Are they versatile? Can you see them turning your dream kitchen into a reality? Remember. Your designer needs to thoroughly understand what you want. The more he or she knows and can relate to, the more conceivable it is you will achieve a good design.
After you have made your final choice, the work begins. Bring your materials to cement this relationship. Do not leave out any detail. Be sure to include these materials:
• a file containing the information you have so far
• a picture of your existing kitchen
• a description – verbal, pictorial, virtual or written, about what you want
• any preliminary plans
• your budget. Do not forget your budget – ever.
A Kitchen Designer is a flexible contractor. She or he can do all or part of your design work. A Kitchen Designer can look at your Dream Kitchen and decide whether it is workable. He or she can provide a floor plan or specify materials. A Kitchen Designer can oversee the entire remodeling job or just contribute to his or her area of expertise.
There are benefits from going with a Kitchen Designer. This allows you more time to concentrate on the actual construction fo the kitchen. If you have little or no designing skills, are weak on creative solutions or lack the ability to work successfully with any of the design software, a Kitchen Designer is for you. She or he will take the edge and stress off the job.
A Kitchen Designer may be helpful in other ways. He or she usually has contacts in the building and supply industries. As a result, you may be able to obtain materials from major manufacturers at a discount rate. A Kitchen Designer is also able to provide you with a high-tech draft of your idea or ideal. In addition, he or she can quickly generate a list of all the materials you will need to complete the job successfully.
You may not wish to hire a Kitchen Designer. The cost will be another addition to your budget. You may have some talent in the area of design. Furthermore, if you are computer savvy, you may be able to create your own design with the help of the various design software now available.
CONTRACTORS AND SUBCONTRACTORS
If you are not willing or able to handle the remodeling job on your own, you have a couple of options. You can hire a contractor or several subcontractors. A contractor is a person who generally handles the entire project from start to finish. He or she will hire, fire and schedule all the various trades needed to complete the job. In fact, the contractor will be responsible for a great number of things. These include but are not restricted to:
• obtaining all supplies and materials
• scheduling and coordinating all the different tradespeople for the remodeling
• contracting with all subcontractors
• obtaining all the necessary permits
• arranging for the various inspections throughout the renovation project.
The specifics will be set down in a contract. This is a binding document tying both parties together. There are legal obligations to be met by both. Both parties must adhere to the letter of the law as placed in the contract. Make sure when you or a lawyer prepare it that it contains the following basic information.
• The details of the work to be done
• The responsibilities of the contractor and the employer
• An approximate date for starting and ending the project
• A clause for binding arbitration.
If you decide to be your own contractor, you may wish to subcontract the rest or parts of the workout. A subcontractor is someone who works for a contractor. These individuals may be plumbers, carpenters, electricians, floor layers or work in other similar occupations. They, too, will require contracts specifying their responsibilities. Do not forget to address such things as site clean up, material purchase, pick-up and/or delivery. Always try to provide specific dates for the beginning and finishing the work.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO WORK WITH
Whether you are picking a contractor or subcontractor, you can follow the same procedure. You check out the possibilities in the white pages, through trade papers and on the net. You can ask neighbors and other people who have had their kitchen recently remodeled. Once you have a list – 3 is the bare minimum, you set up interviews.
Prior to the interview, you ask for a bid. Be sure you provide all the necessary information. This will ensure greater accuracy in their quotes. You then set up the meeting. Prior to the meeting, you need to look into such things as their reputation in the trade. Ask at building supply centers about their credit, skill, and adherence to dates. See if they have any complaints listed in the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce.
During the meeting, you will ask about credentials and past remodeling jobs. Question them about their experience. See how well they relate to your design. Are they honest in their opinion? Do they see what you envision? If you feel you can trust them, that he or she is the right person for the job, the project is on its way sooner than you think.
If you do the entire work on your own, you can set your own pace. Many home remodelers, however, may decide to either hire someone or take on certain aspects of the job. If you decide to combine your efforts with those of the trades’ people, be sure you have a specific timeline in mind. You will want to do your portion in such a manner as to not interfere with the work of the trades. You can do so if you keep the deadlines in mind and are organized.
If you do participate, consider doing the demolition work before construction begins. Tear out walls, fixtures, and ceiling tiles. Remove all appliances. Disconnect the sinks. If you are doing preparatory work, make sure you have the drywall up and ready for the next step. After or between certain types of workers, you can finish such things as painting, wallpapering, staining and laying down the new floor.
With all this behind you, you have one more step in your scheme towards creating a better kitchen. This is the last chance to alter and change everything from your budget to your design elements. You are now making the final approach.