Kitchen Remodel 101.  Part 2

Are you confident enough to hire your own sub-contractors and suppliers?

In the last post I reviewed the option of hiring a floor to ceiling remodeling contractor to handle your kitchen project from start to finish but what if you want to save some money and manage the job yourself?  The savings generated with this option is the amount of the profit you would typically pay the contractor to do it.  That can be a savings of 10-30%.  Keep in mind the more complicated the remodel the more you need a contractor.  You should never risk the safety of your home and family to save a few dollars.  Whenever you are making major changes such as room additions or moving walls you should seek the expertise of a good contractor.  Contractors know the building codes, permit processes and they use competent sub-contractors that are essential in a successful and safe remodeling project.

One option to consider for more complicated projects may be to hire a contractor to bring the project to the finished sheetrock stage at which point you take over and hire sub-contractors to provide the finishes which include finish carpentry, paint, cabinets, countertops, finish plumbing, appliances, flooring, tile, finish electrical and lighting.  If you are willing to put the time into finding reputable competent suppliers and sub-contractors in each of those trades and making sure there is plenty of communication with them you should be able to get what you expect in your finished project.

Suppliers for cabinetry, countertops, and flooring will generally provide professionals to install the products they are supplying.  Other suppliers may require you to find sub-contractors to provide the labor.  When dealing with sub-contractors keep in mind the lowest price isn’t always the best price.  You need to find people who know their trade and have substantial experience in what they do.  Make sure they are licensed, insured and ask for references.  Check them out thoroughly.

It is customary for a sub-contractor, who provides materials, to ask for a deposit payment before they begin work.  They may also require progress payments but you should always save a final payment until after the subs portion of the work is complete.  Inspect the work before final payment and make sure it is what you expected.  Make sure your suppliers and sub-contractors have some kind of written contracts or sales orders detailing what is expected in labor, materials and price.

Communicate with your subs in advance.  They are business people and your job is not the only one they are working on.  Good and frequent communication and respect is essential in getting them to your jobsite when you need them.

If you want to save the money for the services and materials you would normally pay to a contractor be prepared to learn about each of the trades you need to hire.  Good sources of information are family, friends and neighbors who have done it before, product suppliers, cable TV and the internet.

Check out our next post when we ask the question “are you a do-it-yourselfer?”