From Brittany Mauriss on February 27, 2008 in CalFinder News
Our newest contributing blogger, Anna, moved to Grants Pass, Oregon from California. She grew up in a family of contractors and worked with her family’s company for years, so the topic of remodeling is nothing new to her. When she’s not working, Anna enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, one-year-old son, and their dog. Anna’s owned her current home for a year and a half, but she’s spent the last six months and waiting for the elusive kitchen. Here’s Anna’s account of the kitchen nightmare and why she wishes she would have known about CalFinder’s remodeling service.
“At the end of last July, we undertook the remodel of our kitchen. We shopped around, comparing cabinet designs and prices. Finally, at the prompting of our neighbors, we agreed to receive an estimate from their nephew, a custom cabinet maker. He came over and showed us pictures of his work, gave us an excellent bid, and promised to be back within six weeks with our cabinets. Sounded pretty good to us, we could custom design our kitchen and save money at the same time. We gave him a down payment for materials and eagerly looked forward to his return. In the meantime, we completely gutted the kitchen, repainted, installed new lighting fixtures, ordered stainless appliances and granite countertops, and selected our ceramic tile flooring. Two weeks before our contractor’s expected arrival date, we touched base to make sure he was on schedule. Of course, he assured us he’d be on time; we scheduled the countertop installer, and left on a weeklong vacation.
You’ve probably already guessed – he never showed. To cut a long story short, he finally installed the base cabinets in early October. It’s now almost March and he just installed the uppers, minus doors, and should be returning in two weeks to finish. In the meantime, we’ve had appliances sitting in our dining room for six months. Regardless of how many times we called him, he always had the best of excuses and was the nicest guy in the world.
Sounds like a nightmare, right? So how could we have prevented this? First of all, choose a contractor with strong references. A service such as CalFinder will interview previous clients for you. Secondly, get a signed contract, with a timeline for completion. Third, know ahead of time what recourse you have. Working through a referral service will ensure your contractor has someone to answer to; and your feedback matters to him. That was perhaps our biggest problem – we just weren’t a big enough client for him, and he wasn’t concerned about repeat business.
Remodeling can always be a bit disruptive, but it doesn’t have to become a bad dream that you can’t wake up from. All in all, we almost have a beautiful new kitchen that will be worth the wait. Dream big with your remodeling plans, and don’t let this happen to you!”