Knowledge is Power

By Women Designing Kitchens at Royal Kitchen Designs

You would never hire a babysitter without checking their references. You would never hand over the keys to your car to someone without a driver’s license. So why do so many people blindly hire people to do work in their home based on an advertisement in the newspaper or coupon in the mail?

Sadly, there are many unscrupulous contractors out there. Who hasn’t heard at least one home improvement horror story? To protect you and your precious investment (your home), we have put together a list of questions to ask any potential home remodeler.

What is your scope of services?

If you recall, in last month’s issue we illustrated why it is important to hire a full-service home remodeling company, providing designer, decorator and contractor services all under one roof. This team of experts will handle each and every part of the job.

How long have you been in business?

Ideally, you want to hire a company that has been in business a long time and built up a solid reputation both with clients and suppliers. A well-established company will have access to more manufacturers and products, and they may offer preferred pricing which will in turn be passed along to you.

What credentials do you carry?

Make sure that anyone doing work in your home is licensed and insured, and make sure they carry proper insurance for all their employees. You can verify this information using the “licensee search” link at www.myflorida.com. It’s also a good idea to check the Better Business Bureau (www.bbbsoutheastflorida.org) to see if there have been any complaints filed against the company.

Can I see samples of some of your completed projects?

References are great, but it’s best to ask to see samples of a company’s work. Ask to visit some completed projects. Only then can you truly measure a company’s skill and attention to detail. Beware of any company that does not want you to see their work.

What is the project timeline?

You need to know exactly how long your room will be out of service. If it is a kitchen remodeling project, ask what types of temporary solutions are available. An experienced remodeling company strives to minimize the disruption. For this reason, many companies do not start demolition until all the new products and equipment has been delivered. To further protect yourself, do not issue final payment until the project is complete.

Who is the project manager?

With a full-service home remodeling company the designer will most likely be your project manager. In most cases, this is the person you initially meet with and discuss your renovation plans. He or she will then coordinate all aspects of the project from interior design work to the actual construction. Having one point person keeps the lines of communication open and can often resolve issues before they become major problems.

What is your follow-up system?

This is an extremely important aspect of any remodeling project. You need to know the company will be available to fix any problems that arise in the future. Look for a company that stands behind its work. Ideally, the company will offer a warrantee on its labor, in addition to the standard manufacturer’s warrantee on the product.

We hope that this information will help you choose the right home remodeling company. By asking a potential contractor these simple questions you help ensure that you are hiring someone you can trust, and that you won’t become the next home improvement horror story.

Royal Kitchen Designs is a full-service interior design and renovation company specializing in kitchens, bathrooms and luxurious living spaces. The company has been serving Broward and South Palm Beach counties for almost a decade. From custom kitchens and beautiful baths to designer draperies, every Royal Kitchen Designs project receives the royal touch. With over 75 years of combined experience, owners Margie Levy and Eliane Berdah can turn any home into a castle. Call Royal Kitchen Designs at (954) 717-1805 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Royal Kitchen Designs writes a monthly advice column answering your questions about interior design and home remodeling. Please e-mail your questions to lilmargie38@aol.com or mail to: Royal Kitchen Designs, 5608 Travelers Palm Lane, Tamarac, FL, 33319. For more information visit www.royalkitchendesigns.com.