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Hiring a Cabinet Contractor: Contractor Checklist

Have you been thinking of changing the look of your kitchen for a while? Do you want to transform your kitchen cabinets to make the space look like new? Upgrading or replacing your cabinets is a great way to change the look of your entire kitchen while boosting the resale value of your home. As with any home improvement project, in order to avoid unnecessary costs or delays, you want to hire a trustworthy cabinet contractor with the experience needed to tackle this important project.

At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your kitchen cabinet remodeling project.

Table of Contents

How to Find a Reliable Cabinet Contractor

Hiring a reliable cabinet contractor can be challenging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone that will give you the new look you want. In order to find the contractor that will meet your needs, you can get information from people who have already gone through the cabinet replacement process. The following are suggestions to help you find a local professional.   

  • Ask trusted sources (friends, family, and neighbors) for a referral.
  • Contact your local Better Business Bureau.
  • Connect with trusted cabinet replacement contractors in your area with Modernize.

Talking with people you already know, or using trusted resources like the Better Business Bureau or Modernize, allows you to easily filter out contractors not cut out for the job, so you can focus your decision on the best your area has to offer.

Vet Your Cabinet Contractors

It’s important to find a reliable kitchen cabinet contractor so that your investment is as informed, responsible, and successful as possible. To determine the best professional fit for your cabinet project:

  • Request quotes from three to four contractors in your area.
    • A recent Modernize survey showed 63 percent of homeowners feel most confident with their project when comparing multiple project quotes. 
  • Visit the website of each contractor.
    • Is it updated and professional looking?
  • Explore the customer reviews for each contractor.
    • Are they mostly positive? Consider negative reviews and responses.
  • Ask each cabinet replacement contractor on the phone the following questions:
    • How long have you been in business?
    • How much experience do you have with cabinet repair or installation?
    • What is your project estimate?
    • Can you provide a list of references?
    • Can you provide proof of insurance for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage?

At this point, you’ll also want to consider any special requests/needs you have for your renovation project. These might include confirming your potential cabinet contractor remodeler has experience with homes similar to yours. This is especially important if you live in a historical home because you want to ensure that your contractor has performed work on older homes. 

Meet With Your Top Cabinet Contractors

After obtaining three or four written estimates and vetting each of your potential contractors, meet in-person with your top choices to review cabinet-specific details and expectations. We have created a free worksheet to help homeowners compare cabinet replacement contractors. Be sure to discuss the following with each one:

  • Ask for proof of insurance, which should provide their insurance company name, policy number, and policy limits.
  • Discuss who will manage warranty details and responsibility.
  • Make sure to get a fixed price before signing a contract.

Be Aware of Warning Signs

Unfortunately, there is a small percentage of contractors who are not honest professionals. The best way to avoid scams is to choose a local, trusted cabinet contractor. You can confirm this by checking their physical business address and validating their licensing.

Here are additional warning signs to keep in mind:

  • Avoid contractors who request the entire project cost, or large cash deposit, up front.
  • Avoid anyone who pressures you to sign a contract immediately.
  • Be wary of any outliers in your quotes. All cabinet estimates should be relatively similar unless the material type is significantly different.

Prepare for Your Final Cabinet Contractor Meeting

At the final meeting, there are a few steps to go over before the cabinet contractor begins your project:

  • Reconfirm your initial quote.
  • Agree upon a payment plan.
  • Obtain a paper trail of the following:
    • Your contract
    • Project plans
    • Order changes
    • Bills and invoices
    • Proof of insurance and/or permitting, and
    • Contractor correspondence

The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your cabinet replacement project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.

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