If you’re tackling a kitchen renovation and decided to hire a kitchen designer, here are top questions to ask (and the probable responses).  In my first post in this series, How to Start Your Kitchen Project?, I talk about the importance of getting together your “inside” team, gathering your resources, assembling your “outside” team and figuring out who your project partners should be. So, click above if you missed it!

1. How much will this cost? 

This is often hard for people to understand, but honestly your kitchen designer won’t know real costs until they are well into the design and specifications. You will see and hear things about kitchen costs paralleling automobile costs with the same degree of variation.  Or, you might see guides online and in trade journals that advise you to calculate a percentage of the value of your home. Of course, this can vary widely based on the necessary scope of the project.  For example, a new floor or extensive lighting can throw this off.  In many ways, you and your kitchen designer should go down this road together, allowing yourselves to add and value engineer the budget. 

Tip: Remember that “good design does not have to cost more” and good design can be part of the cabinet bid. 

2. How long will this take?

This most time-consuming part is the design, planning, specification and budget.  This depends on the scope of the project and its dynamic.  In fact, the actual work in the house is the most predictable part. Your kitchen designer can put together a project schedule based on a few “benchmarks” such as rough inspection, cabinet delivery, counter template, etc.  However, creating and completing an accurate punch list – tasks and items that need to be completed – depends on the timetable of cabinetmakers and specialty suppliers.  So, length of time can vary.

3. How do you work? 

Some companies give free estimates, others do not. Most companies will do an upfront basic design to gauge scope and budget. Figure a small fee to come to the house for a survey and consultation.  Or, a design retainer if you are into the process, will proceed, and need more options to keep going.  Some projects hire on a fee basis where you typically do not get the design to move forward until you commit to that resource.  Once underway, figure cabinet orders take good size deposits as do some counters.  Smaller deposits lock in appliances or contractors. Other payments are tied to progress as well as cabinet, appliance and material deliveries. 

Next – Top questions the kitchen designer will ask you (and how to prepare for it)

For more information about Kitchens by Gedney, Inc. visit www.gedneykitchens.com

Photos: Kitchens designed by Kitchens by Gedney, Inc.