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During these cooler months it can be comforting to daydream about the summer time. Dreaming about enjoying time around the pool or maybe having a barbeque with friends in a newly built outdoor kitchen. Now is a great time to start planning to transform your outdoor space and researching who is the best fit to get the job done. We’ll take you through the five things to look for when hiring an outdoor kitchen contractor.
1. Proper and current licenses
Making sure your contractor is currently licensed and insured is crucial to the success of your project. Licenses are regulated by the state they are located in and it is your first solid indicator they’re the real deal. Contractors should carry liability and workers compensation insurance. If your potential contractor is unlicensed, there’s a good chance they’re uninsured. This could spell trouble for you if anyone were to get hurt on your property. Most homeowner policies won’t cover this and could result in a lawsuit brought against you.
Another set back is that having an unlicensed contractor makes it harder to fix problems after the work is completed. If you are researching a contractor in Florida, use this database to check if their license is valid. Most contractors will display their license number on their website. For example, the U.S. Brick and Block license number, CGC050885, is located at the bottom of each page.
2. A physical showroom you can visit
Another good sign the contractor is legit is a physical showroom you can go visit. Shady contractors will try and just show you some work they’ve done and call it good. This is not enough. Reliable and professional contractors will have a showroom of their products and what they offer. It’s a good idea to ask how long they have been around to gauge how reliable and stable the company is. If they were there before you discovered them, chances are they’ll be there long after.
3. Examples of client work available
When hiring an outdoor kitchen contractor, contracting companies should have a plethora of work to show you. Research their social media for examples of their work and make sure you are looking at the whole picture. Unfortunately, some contractors will fake photos of their work. They do this by using stock images or images from other contractors. Make sure images are similar qualities with backgrounds consistent with the areas they serve.
Take a peek at the reviews left by clients and their profiles. Make sure these recommendations are valid and not just paid promotions or family friends.
Pay attention to the types of projects, materials and designs this contractor completes. This will clue you into what kind of contractor you’re hiring. Experienced contractors have the skills to work with a wide variety of materials and varying designs.
4. Transparent deadlines
Make sure you are able to have a discussion about the project timeline. Be somewhat wary if they are able to start right away. A good contractor may have around 10-15 projects at any given time. Your new project may not be first up on the docket, if it is…it’s potentially a red flag. When hiring an outdoor kitchen contractor, your contractor should be transparent on how long the entire project will take. If there are any delays on materials or labor they should be timely about communicating that to you.
5. Open communication
Open communication is key when working with a contractor. You should be a part of the process every step of the way. If they are not explaining how things will go down, that should be a warning sign that something isn’t right. If they are not involving you in the planning and execution there may be something happening behind the scenes.
Along with understanding the process, your project contract should also be clear and easy to understand. You should feel comfortable to suggest changes at any time and negotiate a contract that works for both of you. If you are getting shut down or blown off with the “I’m the expert” excuse, it’s time to find a new contractor. Working with your contractor should be an easy and collaborative experience.
It can be challenging to know what you need to look for when hiring an outdoor kitchen contractor. This type of investment calls for reliable and thorough research. You want to make sure you can trust the contractor with the right permits, material knowledge and open communication to bring your new outdoor space dream into reality.