Learn What To Look Out For Before You Pay The Price
Kitchen remodels can be an extensive project with several moving parts. Homeowners are not expected to be familiar with the process, but contractors are. Unfortunately, the more a homeowner can learn about the process, the better they can protect their investment. Even though you may have done more than enough due diligence to hire a contractor you thought you could trust, you should stay close to your project.
While contractors can offer the physical labor and connections you need to remodel your kitchen, they may not have the full skill set to come up with the complete design. It’s not always obvious what goes into creating these spaces. They’re not just collections of materials. They’re collections of materials who create a space we love. Here’s what to watch out for and why contractors aren’t a stand-in for a digital architect kitchen design service like Skipp.
How do contractors make profit?
Contractors may be passionate about the work they do, but don’t forget why they do it - money. While contractors may start their careers with the best of intentions, it’s easy to get greedy, as project size and skill levels grow.
Contractors may offer to make certain things more convenient, such as purchasing materials for you. You may be quick to take them up on the offer, but you should know that contractors can make money from selling materials.
Be weary of this. In some cases, they may recommend a material that is less favorable because it’s readily available and can keep the project moving forward. This is a very, very good intention; however, in reality, there may be better materials for your kitchen. If it will take the contractor more time and effort to get an item, they may avoid suggesting it. Always do plenty of research on your own so that you can make educated decisions.
Do contractors buy the materials for a kitchen renovation?
Contracts can buy materials from a variety of industry vendors, but remember: they often sell them to make a profit.
Some materials may look expensive and contractors may capitalize on this. They may offer homeowners subpar quality materials or whatever is readily available, just to keep the project moving quickly.
You may want your kitchen remodel completed as quickly as possible and your contractor does, too, but you may have different motives. You are the one investing thousands of dollars into remodeling your kitchen. It’s normal to want the project done quickly, but you also want it done right. And you probably don’t want to waste any money, either.
You are considerably better off with enlisting a kitchen remodel service like Skipp to both handle material purchases from a series of vetted industry vendors who offer top quality, and to source your labor as well.
For example, a contractor may offer up a skilled cabinet or countertop company. You may be thrilled that they know the best of the best. But you should stop to consider that the contractor may be incentivized for the referral. While the referral may appear to help the homeowner, it can come at a cost. This happens across many businesses, as you’re probably aware!
What is the difference between General Contractors and Interior Designers
There is a huge difference between general contractors and interior designers.
While they may share some of the same skills and their work may cross paths, they are very different and have entirely different types of training, backgrounds and skill sets.
In some cases, a general contractor and interior designer may not agree. And in some cases, the disagreement can be justified by logic. But in some other cases, the disagreement may arise as a result of the contractor trying to do what is easiest for them and their crew. Here are some ways that a general contract varies from an interior designer:
- Contractors are NOT designers. A contractor can create a kitchen that is extremely functional; however, when it comes to the form, flow, and stunning details, that’s usually the work of the interior designer. The designer’s touch is very difficult to achieve without a pro.
- Contractors are NOT holistic. A kitchen is more than a loose collection of materials thrown together. A kitchen is full of intricate details that must work in conjunction. An interior designer will recognize this, but a contractor may not.
- Contractors have a different skill set from interior designers, who have more of a design eye and are conscious about aesthetics and visuals. Contractors may be concerned about different elements than an interior designer is, and this may be in part because they have a different skill set.
- Contractors have different specializations.
- Contractors have different training, with much more emphasis on things like plumbing, HVAC, electric, construction, hands-on building and logistics.
What is the difference between General Contractor and Project Manager?
A kitchen remodel is a big project. You may need several experts to help you get the job done. However, the more experts you hire, the more your project's costs may increase. You should understand the role of each professional.
A general contractor and project manager are not the same thing. Project managers generally oversee and help coordinate projects. Contractors are involved with the actual physical construction. Let’s take a look at the difference between their roles and responsibilities.
Contractors may not be thorough.
Kitchen remodels often include robust plans with many details. With so many moving components, a poorly-managed project is bound to have problems. You can count on it. Problems not only get expensive, but more importantly, they lead to poor outcomes.
Procurement of design materials should not be handled by the contractor.
The contractor should be allowed to focus on what they do best. Contractors can do their best work when they show up to a job site and the items are ready to install. When you expect a contractor to orchestrate all moving parts of your remodel, you may set yourself up for failure. Working with a company like Skipp, which handles the product rosters, invoicing, ordering and delivery for you, is always recommended. Material procurement is best handled by an agency experienced in building out these timelines and aligning them with the general contractor’s team. Partnering with a company like Skipp can also save you money. The more work that is pushed onto a general contractor’s contract, the bigger the bill they can send you. Delays are more likely to occur as well. It would be like pushing administrative functions onto contractors, who are often at the field and rarely at a desk! Contractors are overwhelmed as it is, between the physical building of the kitchen, unexpected delays in construction, and working with specialists. To ensure that your kitchen remodel is executed how it should be, work with a company like Skipp and save yourself the headache.
Final thought, to hammer this idea home:
“A contractor needs to focus on building. We don't have time to design."
- Jake, GC in California
What is the difference between a General Contractor and an Architect?
Architects create plans, with precise detail, and offer their own specialized skill set, which is different from a general contractor or interior designer.
Because we feel it’s necessary to say, we will say it: general contractors are not architects.
An architect should develop a solid set of plans, which may require additional time and investment. Plans should include visuals of detailed plans and precise placement in plans of appliances, countertops, and so on.
You may hear about problems arising often when it comes to kitchen remodels. This is often the result of certain steps being skipped. This is arguably the most important step in a renovation, and you’ll need a robust set of plans for a designer kitchen.
"Most contractors do not have a design team. Contractors work really well with plans, and they work even better if they have solid plans. It's definitely nice to have someone else running that."
- Jake, GC in California
What is the most important room in the house and why?
The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home. For most homeowners, the kitchen is considered to be one of the most important rooms in the house. It needs to be functional, yet aesthetically-pleasing.
When it comes time to sell your home, the kitchen can make or break your home’s design.
When it comes to remodeling your kitchen, do it right. It will provide many years of use, and will be the space so many memories are created in. Create a kitchen that you will love for years to come.
In conclusion, the idea that a contractor can handle all parts of a kitchen remodel is false. The contractor may be responsible for physical labor, but you will need to hire other experts to take care of other important aspects of your kitchen redesign and renovation.
To recap, homeowners should be aware that:
- Contractors are not designers.
- Contractors are not architects.
- Contractors are also not interior designers.
If a contractor claims to be an interior designer or claims to have a design in mind for you, this should be an immediate red flag.
After all, you wouldn’t hire a backend engineer to create the visual design of your social media. So why would you hire a contractor to design your kitchen?
An interior designer, architect, and contractor, all have different skill sets. A full-fledged design agency will complete a beautiful renovation, in addition to a build that is technically-sound.
You should begin the kitchen remodel process with a design agency and know that they should truly always have your best interest at heart. If you have any red flags while working with a contractor, always consult your design team.
Don’t be afraid to put the project on pause if you need to do some research before proceeding. The contractor may make a slow down or temporary pause seem like the end of the world, but take the time you need.
Don’t let these red flags stand in the way of the designer kitchen you’ve been dreaming of for years and above all, we hope you walk away from this article empowered to let your GC or contract do what they do best: build and construct.
All of the tips above relate to you getting a beautiful kitchen, but may not equate with a kitchen you’re happy with for years to come and in the home you adore so much.