My next step after choosing materials was to interview contractors who could actually do the work. I really wanted someone who had experience in installing Ikea cabinets and conventional cabinets.
So just like anything else, finding a contractor in the area who is reliable is quite a challenge. This property is in Florida which is an advantage—the state has gone through many hurricanes and has had its share of fly-by-night contractors coming into the state and ripping off people, so thankfully, they were forced to enact some pretty stringent laws for working as a contractor in the state of Florida. But laws or no laws it still doesn’t mean they are the “best”. This search, as with any others started with other owners. I called a bunch of people I knew to see if they had or knew anyone that could do the job for me.
I also talked to my HVAC guy and asked him if he had any recommendations. His response was, “don’t go with anyone who advertises in the yellow pages! There’s so much work from referrals available in this area that contractors don’t need to advertise. If they advertise then you should worry.” I thought that was interesting and pretty sound advice.
I found and interviewed three different contractors. One showed up in a suit and tie with a clip board. I know you should not just a person by their appearance but…I expect a contractor to show up in jeans and a tee shirt (or polo shirt) and you know… have a little dirt under their nails. To me the suit and tie was just a bad sign! And it seems my instincts were correct. When I mentioned things I wanted done, his eyes met mine and I think I actually saw dollar signs in his pupils.
The next person I interviewed was from a company. He was professional and knowledgeable and there were no glaring reasons to not hire him but there were also no glaring reasons to hire him.
The third person I interviewed came in and I instantly felt like he was the right one for the job. He was professional and knowledgeable but also came in with suggestions and recommendations for me. You know just the stuff like “you shouldn’t do this because it will cost too much… doing this will not gain much… or did you consider this?” While I have ideas of what I think I want, what I am looking for in a contractor is someone who will offer suggestions and alternatives.
So contractor # 3 is the guy I chose! That is until the last wrench got thrown into my plan. After I had chosen the cabinetry, and contactor, but before I had ordered anything, I got a phone call from a prospective guest. He wanted to book the months that I had “shut down” for construction. I quoted him the full rate (plus cleaning + pet fee) and he said, “I would like to go ahead and book it.” My response was, “Ummmm now? You don’t want to shop around?” He said, “Nope looked at a bunch and I like yours the best.” So I had to make a snap decision: turn down a great booking and go ahead with the renovations or table the renovations until next year and take the bird in the hand.” I took the booking. Now who was it that had dollar signs in their eyes? Yup it was me and I’m not ashamed to admit it!
So the kitchen remodel saga is officially closed until next year.