Bathroom and Kitchen Remodeling - The Power of Knowledge and Choice

Per square foot, bathrooms are the most expensive areas in the home, followed by kitchens. Unnecessary problems can arise because homeowners don’t know that they have options. They may think that they need to hire an architect, especially if their renovation includes structural changes. Or they may call a contractor, or a full-service remodeling company, because they don’t know that there are professional bathroom and kitchen designers who can help them. The homeowners’ needs and budget ultimately determine who they should hire. It’s very important for them to know what their choices are, and how to make an informed decision about the right person for their project. There are great resources for homeowners to use, to find a bathroom or kitchen designer. The easiest is a search engine lookup for bathroom (or kitchen) designer, professional bathroom (or kitchen) designer, certified bathroom (or kitchen) designer, bathroom remodeling or kitchen remodeling. Another great resource is local plumbing showrooms, who will probably give the names of two or more qualified bathroom-kitchen design specialists. The best resource is the National Kitchen and Bath Association, http://www.nkba.org (consumers, kitchen and bath tools, find a professional).
 
In the initial phone conversation, the homeowner should ask the following questions:
• How long have you been in business?
• How did you become a bath-kitchen designer?
• What percentage of your business is bathroom design?
• Have you completed projects in my neighborhood (or area)?
• Do you recommend products?
• Do you sell products?
• What do you do to help your clients stay within their budget?
• Can you recommend contractors?
• Do you prepare your own plans?
• Are your plans drawn by CAD, or by hand?
• What do you do if there are structural changes?
• How do you work?
• How do you get compensated?
• How much do you charge for the first appointment?
• How many clients do you work with at a time?
• How many clients are you working with now?
• Do you have a website?
 
If the answers are positive, then a face-to-face meeting can be scheduled. The homeowner should remind the designer to bring their portfolio and plans from another project. During the initial meeting, the homeowner should request a list of references, and call everyone on the list. Those phone calls can be scripted, i.e., “Hello, my name is ______. I’m calling to ask you a few questions about ______, if this is a convenient time.”
 
These are appropriate questions:
• When did you do your project?
• Was it close to your target budget?
• If you were doing the same project now, what would you change?
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest:
• How would you rate the design services?
• How would you rate communication with the designer?
• How would you rate the designer’s reliability?
• How would you rate the plans and details?
 
Getting answers to all of the questions will give homeowners the power to make an informed decision about who they should hire, but there is one aspect to hiring a professional that is often overlooked: compatibility, which increases the probability for good communication and trust. There are no absolute guarantees, but asking questions improves the likelihood of better results.

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dorran at 2:05pm March 11

We can't complain about not having options when it comes to remodeling. I love the interior design trends of today because they offer infinite possibilities to find the perfect design that fits your style. I got this kind of support from my last Tucson restoration contractor and you are right, information does make the difference.

Phillip at 10:26am June 1

By the end of the month, you will be able to find designers and contractors that are part of the HomePros community via our searchable directory. Homeowners will be able to view current and graphically enhanced profiles providing services, reviews, design portfolios and more.
Thanks for the great piece Diane!