Thank you for your interest in Koehler (pronounced kayler) Construction Inc. Koehler Construction has been remodeling some of the most beautiful kitchens and bathrooms in the Cincinnati area for over three decades. When we say we are the “Premier kitchen and bath remodelers of greater Cincinnati”, it is not just a slogan. It is a goal of quality and perfection we strive for on every kitchen and bath remodel we have ever done. It is a commitment to you that we have and will keep on every remodeling project you entrust to us.
Even though Koehler Construction Inc. is in business to make money, it is not our driving force. Everyone who works for Koehler Construction, whether he’s an employee or sub-contractor, is a highly skilled craftsman who loves what he does. When a man loves what he is doing, he puts his heart and soul into it. The result is a high standard of quality and perfection you can’t buy at any price. This quality shows in every kitchen, bathroom or any other construction project that we do. Koehler Construction doesn’t get into bidding wars. If you are planning to resell your home and “Return On Investment” is your bottom line, we will give you an honest estimate but can’t guarantee it will be the lowest. On the other hand, if you have a dream to someday have a kitchen or bath just like those you see in magazines, then turn to someone who has been making those dreams come true for a generation.
Tips for choosing a remodeling contractor
Before you can choose the right remodeling contractor, you need to gather a short list of remodelers from which to choose. The best way to find someone to remodel your kitchen or bath is by word of mouth. Ask friends or relatives if they know anybody who has had their kitchen or bath remodeled. Then go look at their handy work first hand. The next best way to find a contractor who specializes in kitchen and bath remodeling is from the phone book or internet. If you found this website using a search engine, you probably typed something like “kitchen remodeler near Cincinnati” or “Cincinnati bath remodeler”. Unlike the phone book, if you’re looking for a local contractor on the internet, you are just as likely to find a kitchen and bath remodeler in Timbuktu. This is why you should narrow your search using key words like “Cincinnati” or “Cincinnati Area” in your search string. Once you’ve narrowed your search, you will see that there is no shortage of remodeling contractors in the Cincinnati area. Beyond the key words you used in your search, kitchens, baths, remodeling and Cincinnati (which everyone listed will have), something else will catch your eye. A great many of them are referral services. The reason they are up top on the search results is because they pay the search engines like Google to be there. Many remodeling contractors in turn will pay these referral services to get leads. If you use a referral service because you feel comfortable thinking that the contractors have been screened, guess again. Just remember that every contractor they send your way (and there will be more than one) has paid that service to be one of those contractors. I’m not suggesting that you don’t use one of these services, just don’t give the fact that they were referred to you more weight than a remodeler you found yourself. Now that you have assembled a list of remodeling contractors, what’s next? Get three bids?
The Three Bid Myth
If you are like many people, that would have been your next step and potentially your worst mistake. Next to the purchase of your home, remodeling the kitchen or bath can be the biggest investment you will ever make. Regardless of who you choose as your remodeling contractor, you will be living with that kitchen and or bath for a long time to come. Comparison shopping for the best price is fine in most cases but there are times when it is not. If you are shopping for a stereo system, new car or even a house you can see and compare these items and hence know whether the lower price is the better deal. The same is not true for a kitchen or bath remodel. You are signing a contract to pay for something that doesn’t exist. It is a concept. Even if you have your own designer or design it yourself and have all the plans drawn up, are you willing to gamble on the one who is the cheapest, or second cheapest? When you think about it, this may be the largest one time transaction you will ever write a check for. So please consider more than just the lowest bid. Many contractors will want to know up front how much you plan to budget for your remodeling project. This is perfectly legitimate. For example, a car salesman does not want to be talking Maserati when you are thinking pinto. But the main reason is to let you know when you a getting close to going over your budget. He may also be able to give you suggestions on a similar product yet keep within the budget. Now that you have your bids, let’s go to the next step.
The Weeding Process
First we get rid of those we are sure we don’t want. Check references. If a contractor gets bad marks, you don’t want him in your kitchen, bath or any part of your house for that matter. There are many places where you can check out a prospective remodeling contractor. There is the Better Business Bureau or the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. There are also various trade organizations such as National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). A great place to check online for some dirt on a remodeler is Angies List. This is a two edged sword for any remodeling contractor. Members of Angies List are people just like you who have had their kitchen or bath remodeling done by a particular contractor. This is their chance to tell the world what they think of that contractor’s remodeling skills. Good or bad, it’s all out there for the whole world to see. People are more likely to go out of their way to complain about a poor remodeling job than to praise a good one. So if a contractor is not on the list, that may be a good thing. Once you have narrowed the list down to one or two remodelers, it is time to move on the the second step in the selection process which is to meet with the contractors.
Meeting With the Contractor
Think of this meeting as a job interview. The contractor is the prospective employee and you are the employer. Would you tell him the work you expect him to do then ask him how much he wants? Hardly. Hiring a remodeling contractor is no different. First get to know a little about him. At this point you don’t need to know how many kids he has and their birthdays. You want to know what kind of work he will do for you. If you get him to start talking about work he has done, a few questions will be answered for you without even asking. If he is enthusiastic when he talks about past remodeling jobs it will tell you what he thinks of his profession. There’s no point in continuing an interview with someone who you feel would be just as happy selling vacuum cleaners. Is there a particular kitchen or bath that he is especially proud of or just liked a lot? Does he bring up details when he goes into certain aspects of the job? This in itself speaks volumes. If he tells you how hard something was but he kept at it until he felt it was right, you know this man is not just in it for the money. He takes pride in what he does and something that may miss your eye, stands out as a major flaw to him and he will not rest until it meets his standards. You will also get an idea of what those standards are. Once you feel comfortable and feel you can trust this person with your kitchen or bath, you will want to ask for a few references. The purpose of this is to ask past clients about their experience with this contractor. Here is a list of questions you may want to ask:
- Did the remodeler deliver what he promised?
- Was the finished kitchen or bath the same as what you had envisioned originally?
- If there were changes mid-stream, how did the contractor deal with them?
- If the changes could not be done at that point, were you satisfied with the remodeler’s explanation?
- Did they finish on time and on budget?
- If they didn’t finish on time, was it something that was out of the contractor’s control?
- If the remodel went over budget, was it because of an oversite on part of the contractor?
- Did the workers on site act professional?
- Did they keep the work area clean?
- Did they do everything they could to keep dust and other debris from getting into the rest of the home?
- Did they do everything they could to protect your property from damage?
- Did the contractor keep in contact with you and his crew throughout the entire job?
- Are you happy with your new kitchen or bath?
- Are you happy with your choice of remodeling contractor?
- Would you use them again?
Based on the information you have now, you should have a pretty good idea of who you want for your remodeling contractor.