How to Choose the Right Contractor for You and Your Family

If you’re planning a major home renovation, kitchen reconfiguration, or master suite remodel here in the Kansas City area, Lyon Construction+Design, LLC offers the following tips on hiring a reputable contractor and setting realistic project expectations. 

First, make sure you’re hiring a professional.  Check that your contractor carries liability insurance and workers’ compensation.  They also should be members of one or more professional associations, which help regulate industry standards.  Some of these include the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Assoc.) and NARI (National Association of Remodeling Industry).  Membership in other organizations may be helpful too, especially if you’re utilizing a design/build process.  These include memberships with ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) and AIA (American Institute of Architects).

Ask for references, and check them out.  Go see your contractors’ work— and if possible, see work in progress to get a feeling for the project work environment and gain a clear picture of what you’ll be going through!

Don’t immediately pick the cheapest or most expensive guy on the block.  You WILL get what you pay for.  Some companies quote low but nail you for extras (30-60% increases are common for the fly-by-night crowd), while those with higher quotes may actually be more honest in spelling out everything right from the start.

Allow for the final bill to come within 10 to 15 percent of the original quote. There are always additional expenses along the way, but the final price shouldn’t be that far from the budget set out. 

Plan months ahead.  Not only does the contractor need time to assemble the project plan and help you select products, but it’s true of construction people too: all the good ones are busy, so don’t expect to pick up the phone and have someone start next week. If they’re professionals, they’re likely booked for a time. 

There’s no need to pay one-third ore more up front, which some contractors typically ask, unless it’s for big ticket items such as kitchen cabinets or windows that need to be paid for immediately.  For big jobs, ask to tie the project payments with milestones achieved.

Know the scope of the work to be done, and read carefully the work agreement.  Go over ALL the details with your contractor so there aren’t surprises. The more you know about what you want and the better you can communicate that to the contractor at the inception of a renovation project, the smoother and faster things can go.  Making up your mind, or changing your mind, along the way only eats up time and drives up the final price.

Don’t get mad at Mother Nature. Expect weather to affect the project’s timelines and maybe even create challenges and setbacks. 

Recognize the project is a major transformation, and expect you will naturally be anxious and impatient at times.  Emotions can flare up wherever there’s drywall and nails.  Allow for a few anxious moments, and talk with your contractor about what you and your family are going through.

In general, take the time to become educated and ask questions.  Trust your contractor.   Then be realistic, and keep an open mind.  That means agreeing to a reasonable plan while realizing that projects are fluid and there will always be changes.  Find a professional you trust and be ready to roll with the punches – and before you know it, you’ll have a beautifully remodeled space for you and your family to enjoy!

Write a comment

  • Required fields are marked with *.

 Your skilled craftsmen, able workforce, and knowledgeable contractor base all led to a beautiful product that has made our home a wonderful place to raise our children, spend time together, and entertain family and friends. 

~A. & K. Mitchell, Lenexa, KS