You might be moving into a new home with a kitchen that could use an upgrade, or you’re tired of looking at your dated kitchen. Either way, when you’ve decided to take the plunge to take on a kitchen remodel, comparing contractor quotes is an important step in the journey.
In fact, a recent Modernize survey revealed 63 percent of homeowners compare three to four contractor estimates ahead of a home improvement project. Evaluating multiple quotes from remodeling pros helps homeowners have a better understanding of what the project will entail and what they can get with their budget. It’s important to understand your project’s parameters and why quotes may differ from each other so you avoid costly mistakes in the heat of the moment.
The Difference Between Kitchen Remodel Estimates and Quotes
The terminology used with your kitchen remodel project is important. You may receive quotes, estimates, or bids from local contractors, but these all contain different sets of information.
An estimate on a project is roughly how much the contractor believes the job will cost. They will base this upon their past experience and expertise. But remember, this is simply an estimate — the actual cost of the project may be more or less, within 10 to 15 percent.
Kitchen remodel quotes, or bids, become contracts once they are signed by all parties. This should be a very detailed document that outlines all aspects of the project. At Modernize, we pair homeowners with contractors that offer free kitchen remodeling quotes for the project.
Evaluating Kitchen Remodeling Quotes
After gathering multiple quotes from area contractors, it’s time to compare and decide which one is the company you’d like to handle the project. The project quote should be transparent, thorough, and even lengthy, depending on the scope of the project to remodel your kitchen. Every detail of the project should be noted, including the cost of materials, start and finish dates, and an hourly rate. Your quote should also include factors like disposal/dumpsters, permits (if necessary), and even portable toilets. Labor should also be included in your quote.
It is important to consider the numbers, as well as how they are presented. A good contractor will make sure the information is in an organized document. If your quote is not properly itemized, don’t hesitate to ask for a revised quote before signing a contract.
Your Kitchen Remodel Quotes May Vary
In an ideal world, your kitchen remodel project quotes will be very similar, but sometimes bids can be wildly different. Outliers can be cause for concern — for example, extremely low bids can be the sign of a scam! It’s important to understand why an estimate or quote is extremely high or low.
Factors that will lead to a higher bid:
- High-end contractors will likely have more equipment and overhead.
- The size of your kitchen and the scope of the project will have a big impact on the quote. Are you repainting cabinets or tearing down the entire kitchen and redoing the floor plan?
- The materials you choose for your kitchen will also affect the quote. For example, a marble countertop is going to cost more than a quartz one.
- Warranties will also impact your quoted cost.
- Research and be aware of hidden costs, like permits and tear off fees. Discuss these factors with your contractors.
Factors that will lead to a lower bid:
- If a contractor does not have proper insurance (or any at all), they will often provide a lower bid. This may leave the homeowner responsible for laborer injuries or damages that occur — this is not something you want. Modernize recommends that homeowners always select a licensed contractor for their home improvement project.
- On that note, they may not be a licensed contractor and are hoping their low prices will sway a client into overlooking this.
- They may get the job done, but they won’t knock it out of the park. After all the time and money you’ve spent on the project, you should be excited to show off your new kitchen.
- Extremely low bidders may also be desperate for a job, which is never a reassuring sign.
For both high and low bids, always check your kitchen remodeling quotes for errors. Contractors are human, after all, and the bid might have a simple case of bad arithmetic. Communicate any and all questions and concerns with your contractors. You should feel confident in a contract before signing it.
Research Your Contractors
Vetting your contractors will ensure you find the best quality kitchen remodel.
- Ask friends and family if they have any recommendations for a contractor. A good referral from a happy customer is a great place to start.
- Visit a contractor’s website to ensure it is professional looking and updated.
- Check review sites and make sure they are accredited through the Better Business Bureau.
- Look at a contractor’s content information to make sure they have a physical address and not a P.O. Box (which can be a worrisome sign).
- If something feels off about a contractor or business — go with your gut.
To help homeowners easily vet and find a trusted kitchen contractor, Modernize recently created a free contractor checklist. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.
Homeowners Can Negotiate Bids
Remember, you can always negotiate with your contractor on the price for the successful project before signing a contract. Discuss your budget with your contractors — they may have ideas of using different materials or other workarounds to accommodate your budget. Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing to help you remain within your budget.
Keep All Paperwork
Lastly, keep all estimates, quotes, and contracts in a folder, so you can reference these details easily if you have any questions or concerns throughout the process of your kitchen remodeling project.