Hiring a contractor in the Santa Barbara area takes the right mix of locating the right information, common sense, and the ability to read between the lines.
Whether you are considering a kitchen remodel, bathroom, or major remodeling project, picking the right contractor is just as important; if not more, than any other decision you will make about the project.
Follow the six tips below to hire the right contractor or remodeler for your next home project:
⦁ Ask for recommendations. Asks, friends, family members, colleagues, and for names of remodelers or kitchen and bath designers they have worked with. While there are a number of online reviews available, nothing beats a referral from a trusted source.
⦁ Call each candidate, mention who referred you, and sped 15 or 20 minutes trading information. Topics on the call should include the size and scope of your project and when you would like to start. Be sure to ask how long they have been a contractor and built in the Santa Barbara community. (We recommend a minimum of five years.)
Then ask about specific projects the contractor has completed, the size of the crew, available dates, and how many other jobs they might be working on at the same time. References are a must.
⦁ Pick three of the strongest candidates to interview further. Stop by their kitchen and bath showroom or design center to meet their kitchen and bath designers and project managers. Take a close look at the quality and brands of the materials they use (cabinets, countertops, kitchen and bath fixtures, lighting, flooring, etc.) and ask why they choose to recommend these products and brands. Invite each candidate to your home for an hour’s worth of talk and a tour.
You will also want proof of license, bonding, and insurance (required by the State of California), plus at least a dozen references to past clients (in the Santa Barbara area) and at least one reference to a current client.
⦁ Call at least three of the references. Be as direct as possible without getting too personal. How did the job go? Was the contractor on time and regularly on the job site? Did the contractor treat your property and your neighbors with respect? Was the crew courteous, and did they clean up every day? Was the project on schedule and on budget? What surprises were there? When there were disagreements, how did the contractor react? Were the disagreements generally about money or work quality?
⦁ Ask for realistic budget ranges for projects which may be similar in size and quality of materials you’re considering. Keep in mind that the products you select in a new kitchen or bath remodel have the greatest influence on the final cost. Prices vary widely on appliances (from a basic Stainless-steel stove under $1,000 to a high-end commercial grade stove by Viking or Wolf), but a good contractor/remodeler should prove a good budget range based on your tastes.
⦁ Use a designer. There’s more to choosing a contractor than just comparing prices. The design, layout, material selections, finishes, etc. truly make or break a remodeling project. A trained kitchen and bath designer can help you make the best design decisions for your newly remodeled space. In fact, the low bid may be the one to avoid, especially if it is an outlier compared to the others.