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Hiring a Contractor Q & A


Knowing there are plenty of important questions you need to ask potential contractors isn’t something new to homeowners, but exactly which ones are crucial to the hiring process. We have listed below a list of questions that will help homeowners learn everything they need to know in order to confidently choose who will make their home improvement dreams come true.

CA State License# 1069485

“How long have you been in this business?”

Contracting businesses that have been in operation for many years have certainly worked through a lot of the growing pains that many companies deal with in their fledgling years. While this is certainly true, some consumers may opt to go with someone who has years of experience in the industry but is a relatively new business owner.

If your instincts are telling you to go with a contractor who fits this bill, consider starting him off with a smaller project. If after that you’re satisfied with his technical, service, and business skills, you can both move on to something larger.

Find several contractors near you and do your research ahead of time on any contractor you’re thinking of working with. If you find anything that makes you worry, ask about it. Ultimately, contractors prefer that you voice your concerns so they have an opportunity to address them rather than take them out of the running.

“Do you have a contracting license?”

Cities, states and even counties have different requirements on whether contractors must obtain a license or an alternative credential. As a homeowner, you’ll want to make sure that yours has gone through all of the necessary channels to obtain any required certifications specific to their field of expertise — for example, you wouldn’t want to hire a roofer whose license is in carpentry. Having a business license alone is not enough, as it allows individuals to operate a business but doesn’t mean that they are licensed or credentialed contractors. You can verify that a contractor is licensed using the link below.


Contractors State License Board – Check Contractor’s License link: https://bit.ly/38dLPlF


Modern Kitchens and Bath is a General Contracting Company, Class B, License #1069485, Bonded and Insured.

“Can I see your certificate of insurance?”

Asking a contractor if he’s insured isn’t as telling as seeing how he is insured. Contractors should have liability insurance specifically for the type of job they perform. Taking a look at certificates of insurance will give you the peace of mind that he’s not insured in an entirely different capacity than the job you’re hiring him for.

“Will you obtain the permits and set up the inspections required for this job?”

Not every job requires permits or inspections, but most remodeling projects that in some way change the structure of the home do. Your contractor should not only know what kind of permits you need and how to get them, but also be willing to pull them for you.

“What is our timeline for completion?”

It’s important for homeowners to have a clear picture of when contractors will start and complete a project, and be aware of any circumstances that might affect that schedule. Here are a couple of questions that will further clarify your projected timeframe:

  • – Are there any other projects you’re working on now that could affect our schedule?
  • – Do you have any current bids that haven’t been finalized that could impact this job?

“What is the payment schedule?”

The Better Business Bureau advises never paying for the full price of contracting work upfront, and a reputable contractor shouldn’t ask you to. But it’s important to discuss payment terms before construction begins, and be aware of exactly how much is due and when perhaps by specific dates or based on completed stages of the project.

“Will I have a dedicated team working on my job?”

Contracting companies often work on multiple projects at a time, so it’s important to verify that you can count on consistency in who comes to work on your home each day. Be sure to ask these questions:

  • – Will the same team be working on my home each day?
  • – Do you work with subcontractors? If so, what have you done to properly qualify them?
  • – How often will the business owner check in on the progress of the project?

“What way would you like me to get in touch with you?”

Not only do you need to have a designated point of contact, but you also need to know the best way to reach that person, and at what times he’ll be available to respond to you. Find out if he prefers to be contacted via phone call, text message or email, get his information, and ask for a general timeframe that you should expect to hear back from him.

“What is your working day like?”

It’s important for both homeowners and contractors to know what to expect on construction days before work begins, even if you don’t plan on being home while the work is being done. The targeted questions you’ll want to ask include:

  • – What are the approximate start and end times for construction day(s)?
  • – Do I need to remove any items that are in or near work areas?
  • – What will the noise level be like?
  • – Do you need me to be home at any point during the day?


You should also advise your contractor on key information about the project prior to your start date:

  • – The parking situation in your neighborhood
  • – Which restrooms, if any, are available for use
  • – Where available power outlets are located
  • – Who, if anyone, will be home during construction (including pets)

“How will you clean up at the end of the day?”

A quality contractor will make sure that end-of-day clean-up is always taken care of by his crew, whether the project lasts one day or spans several weeks. Establish that he will remove trash (and learn where it will be disposed of), pick up stray items like nails from floors and outdoor areas, and wipe down surfaces that have gotten dusty during construction at the end of every work day.

“How and where will tools and materials be stored if the job spans multiple days?”

Part of keeping a clean, clutter-free workspace once the team has left for the day includes putting tools away. If they have large pieces of equipment they plan on storing in your home every evening, be sure to discuss where they will be kept and how they will be transported there. (You probably don’t want heavy items to be dragged across your hardwood floors on their way to the garage.)

“What steps will you take to protect my property?”

This may be one of the toughest questions to ask your contractor simply for the fact that it may seem disrespectful. However, it’s an important one that you’ll need to ask in advance of construction.

Your contractor should be willing to take reasonable measures to protect your property, so be sure to ask what specifically he’ll do:

  • – Will you use tarps to cover large furniture items and surfaces in work areas?
  • – Will you recommend items that I should move to other areas of my home to protect them from damage?
  • – Will you close or lock doors as necessary when entering and leaving my home?

“How will additional charges be dealt with?”

Thanks to technology advancements, contractors are able to give more accurate pricing than ever before.

Still, home improvement can be unpredictable at times, and once a project is underway, it’s possible that circumstances will arise that increase the estimated price that was originally offered to you. It’s critical that your contractor be clear that he won’t spend a penny over your agreed-upon budget without first gaining your approval — and if you hire him, this should also be specified in your contract.

“Is there a warranty for your service or for the materials you’ll be using?”

Most contractors offer a warranty or guarantee on their work, and it’s important to know ahead of time what it covers and how long it will remain in effect. Additionally, the materials used on your home may have a manufacturer’s warranty, and you should request a copy of this information before construction begins.

“How do we resolve any disagreements?”

This is a crucial question because, unfortunately, mistakes and disagreements do sometimes occur despite the best intentions of contractors and homeowners. Asking a contractor how he handles disputes tells you that he has a process for taking care of situations in which clients aren’t fully satisfied.

If your contractor admits that there has been a dispute or two in his past, this isn’t necessarily a red flag so long as he treated the situation respectfully.

“When disputes happen, give the contractor the opportunity to fix it,” Communication between contractors and homeowners is key. You should also be prepared for contractors to have their own list of questions to ask you.

An open dialogue helps ensure that both parties are staying on top of the project, and are setting clear and reasonable expectations of how the project will go.

At the end of the day, it’s in the contractor’s best interest to be honest and trustworthy because he wants you to recommend him to other potential clients.

“Have other questions?”

Contact us at 714-714-7491, today, to consult with you about what is needed to remodel your kitchen or if you are interested in a new bathroom design in Orange County. We look forward to making your remodeling experience easy and enjoy exceptional value.

Home Remodeling FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)


Not sure what to expect with your home remodeling project?  There are literally thousands of general contracting FAQs and a lot of answers that make homeowners overwhelmed. Our feeling is, if you have questions about remodeling, you should get a clear, transparent, and easy-to-understand answer.

At Modern Kitchens and Bath, we take the time to explain the details about the home remodeling services you request. We answer all of your questions politely and explain our estimates for your home improvement project to your satisfaction.

Because we believe an educated consumer is our best customer, we’ve provided this page of Common Questions for your benefit.

"What is included with a free remodeling estimate?"

Our free remodeling estimates include a detailed written scope of work. At times, when necessary or when requested, we will provide drawings for you to view what your kitchen or bathroom remodel will look like upon completion and visualize the space to be remodeled.

"Is the estimate free?"

An estimate is free and is an educated price that is prepared for your project. If you are completing a major renovation (such as a whole house remodel or addition), the price is for the entire project. The price of the project may fluctuate as you move through the process of design.

"How long will my project take?"

During our free consultation with you, we will discuss the duration of your project. The key element in completing your project in a timely manner is for you to be available during the process so you can select your products. In addition, we will need full access to your home during the remodel during regular work hours (Monday through Saturday 9am – 5pm). We will not begin work on your home until all the materials have been received. Our company policy is to stay on your project until completion once we have started construction.

"How much will my construction and remodeling project cost?"

Projects vary widely depending on your needs and budget. Our representatives visit with you to better understand your home remodeling needs. At Modern Kitchens and Bath, we do more than give you a quote. We provide you with the information you need to make the right decisions for your home.

Our representatives take the time to explain the details regarding your project. We answer all of your questions and explain our estimates for your home improvement project.

There is no obligation. Give us some time to review your wish list and we will give you valuable information. We believe that an educated consumer is our best customer!

"Do you use subcontractors?"

We employ both subcontractors and hourly employees. The subcontractors we work with have all worked with us for several years and for most of them, we are their sole source of employment because we are able to keep them busy from one job to the next.  They are all covered under our license and insurance. Our hourly employees are a skilled worker who has successfully completed an official apprenticeship qualification in their trade (ie:  electrical, plumbing, tile, etc).

"Why should I spend money on new windows?"

It’s likely you’re reading about windows for one of the following reasons:

  • – You’re spending a great deal of money on heating or cooling your home
  • – You found out how much your painter is charging to paint each window
  • – You just tried to clean a window
  • – Your neighbor was recently bragging about their new windows
  • – The money you spend on new windows is an investment in comfort, cost savings, and pride of homeownership.

"Will there be a big mess during our project?"

Construction is messy. It is dirty and dusty. Before it is beautiful, it is a construction zone. However, we respect your property by laying down clean tarps as needed and cleaning the workspace and traffic areas daily.

"How do you handle communication with us during our project?"

When we visit you for the measurements after the job is awarded, we will give you a schedule we can be held accountable for. Our project manager will communicate the status of your job regularly. Our goal is to answer your questions before you have to ask them.

"I’ve worked with unpleasant contractors in the past, what are your workers like?"

Long-faced and ill-tempered workers are not allowed in our jobs. You will find everyone who comes into your home to be skilled, friendly, and helpful in answering any of your questions.

"What areas of Orange County do you offer services to?"

Modern Kitchens and Bath is located in Cypress and performs work in the following cities of Orange County: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods,  Lake Forest. Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, Yorba Linda.

“Have other questions?”

Contact us at 714-714-7491, today, to consult with you about what is needed to remodel your kitchen or if you are interested in a new bathroom design in Orange County. We look forward to making your remodeling experience easy and enjoy exceptional value.

Preparing for Your Home Remodeling Project

“How to Prepare for a Kitchen Remodel”

Once your contractor has given you a “start” date or a “demo” date, it is important that you prepare yourself for construction.  Preparation comes in many forms.  First, you will need to come up with an eating plan for the duration of your project.  Second, you will need to pack up and store your current kitchen so construction can take place.  Third, you have to prepare a temporary kitchen space.  Here are some tips for how to prepare for your kitchen remodel.


Decide what types of meals you are going to eat during your kitchen remodel

Chances are you will do a mix of the following eating plans.  It is easy to fall into a rut of eating out a lot during your kitchen remodel because it is “easier”, but it is not healthier and you would be surprised to know that after a few weeks of eating out, you will actually crave home-cooked food!  Plan meals around small appliances:  microwave, toaster, or toaster-oven, slow cookers, electric griddles and skillets, hot plates, and coffee makers.


Eating In Options:  

  • – Prepare meals and freeze them
  • – Electric oven to cook frozen meals
  • – Cook in the crockpot
  • – Cook using an electric skillet
  • – BBQ on the weekends


Eating Out Options

  • – Sit Down Restaurants
  • – Fast Food Restaurants
  • – Pizza (this can get old very quickly)
  • – Eat24.com is a great way to order restaurant-style food and have it delivered to your house
  • – Help coordinate a family or friend potluck at someone else’s house


Tips for packing up your existing kitchen
  • – Set up a temporary kitchen before demolition of your existing kitchen
  • – Keep items that might need to be unpacked (such as seasonings) in an area that is accessible.
  • – Label your boxes!
  • – Relocate throw rugs which are in the pathway to the kitchen
  • – Secure objects such as wall-mounted china, photos, prints, or other breakable collectibles.  These items may fall away from the wall or shelf and break during construction because of the vibrations of the tools.
  • – Find a secure location to keep your mail (most people keep it in the kitchen and are upset when they lose bills because their routines are disturbed during their kitchen remodel).


Create a temporary kitchen station
  • – Move your old refrigerator or a small mini-fridge to a convenient space close to a water source.  Add a table with a microwave and place a trash can below the table.
  • – Keep a stash of non-perishable snacks such as soups, condiments, and cereal.
  • – Stock up on microwaveable frozen dinners.
  • – Keep essential items handy such as paper towels, garbage bags, dishcloths, dishwasher soap, paper cups and napkins, paper plates, and utensils.
  • – Coffee pot:  Don’t forget your coffee pods (or filters with coffee grounds), Coffee mugs, Sugar, Cream
  • – Electric Oven:  Don’t forget your oven mitts
  • – Electric Skillet:  Don’t forget your spatula, cooking spoons, tongs, oven mitts, pam cooking spray
  • – Crock-Pot:  Don’t forget your spatula, cooking Spoons, oven mitts, pam cooking spray
  • – BBQ:  Don’t forget your cookie sheet, grilling utensils, basting tools


TIPSmall appliances such as microwaves, toasters, toaster ovens, hot plates, crock pots, and small electric grills will be immensely helpful in preparing home-cooked meals.  Just remember, the area where you set up your temporary kitchen may not be able to support multiple appliances running at the same time, not to mention other electronic items typically used in that room.  You might need to have only one thing plugged in at a time to prevent tripping the circuit breakers.


Eating Tools

You will be without water in the kitchen for a few weeks so plan to do the dishes in another sink or a bathtub. Or stock up on disposable plates and cups, paper towels, and disinfectant cleaners.  Even if you decide to use disposable eating utensils – there are a few items you will want to make sure you have set aside for your use.

  • – Wine corkscrew
  • – Potato peeler
  • – Can opener
  • – Forks, Knives, Spoons, Steak Knives
  • – Tongs
  • – Spatulas
  • – Scissors
  • – Cutting Board
  • – Plastic Sandwich Bags
  • – Plastic Freezer Bags
  • – Trash Bags
  • – 3-5 Tupperware containers with lids
  • – Plastic cups or real glasses, depending on what you prefer
  • – Styrofoam coffee cups or real coffee mugs, depending on what you prefer


Cleaning Tools
  • – Dish soap
  • – Dishtowels
  • – Paper towels
  • – Disinfectant wipes
  • – House cleaners (many homeowners keep these under the kitchen sink.  You will want these cleaners for the rest of your house during your kitchen remodel)
  • – Many homeowners keep their pet food under their kitchen sink – do not forget to set that aside for your 4 legged family members.


Other tips:

Your home will not be child-proofed during your kitchen remodel so explain to little ones where they can and can not go.

If you have pets you will need to restrict their access to the construction area, especially during work hours.  If it is difficult to keep work zones sealed off, or if your pets are easily frightened or upset by loud noises, consider finding a pet sitter or care-taking facility for them, at least during work hours.

Preparing your kitchen to get remodeled should not be too daunting of a task. If you take a few days to prepare your space, you will find the organization will help you get through the remodel easier. Using the tips above should help alleviate some of the stress of preparing and living through your kitchen remodel.

"How to Prepare for a Bathroom Remodel"

Once you have selected and ordered all your finish material, you will get an estimated date of delivery.  Upon receipt of all the material and inspection to confirm it is all in one piece and has arrived in its entirety, your contractor will give you a start date for construction. It is imperative you are ready for construction the day that your demo crew arrives. What do you need to do to prepare?  Here are some tips:



Please relocate any shoes or shoe racks placed by the door. They are a tripping hazard during construction. Also, if you have anything on the walls which could be damaged by brushing up against them, please remove them temporarily to protect them.



Clear all hallways. The floors will need to be completely open to avoid tripping hazards therefore it is important to remove any rugs. Your flooring will be protected by plastic.  Remove anything hanging on the walls including shelving, pictures, artwork, and clocks to avoid being accidentally brushed into and knocked off the walls.


Adjacent Rooms

During your bathroom remodel tools will be used which cause vibrations. For that reason, walls adjacent to the bathroom will need to have all shelving, clocks, photos, and artwork removed.   In addition, if you do anything against the wall such as a china hutch, we respectfully request that you move those away from the walls to avoid potential damage from the vibrations caused during your remodel.


Bathroom Space
  • – Remove everything you want to keep from your bathroom. Anything not removed from the bathroom will be considered trash. This means if you want to keep your towel rings, towel racks, shelving, pictures, photos, etc – you need to take them off the walls.
  • – Remove any shower curtains, rods, and shower curtain rings.
  • – Take out any plants.
  • – Remove everything from the bathroom including the shower curtain and anything inside of your bathtub or shower.
  • – Clean your toilet. This is more of a courtesy than anything.  Your contractor will need to remove the toilet, wouldn’t it be nice if the toilet was clean for the installer to remove?
  • – Clean your shower and tub. Again, this is more of a courtesy than anything else.
  • – Clear out your cabinets and medicine cabinet. Again, anything not removed will be considered trash.
  • – Take out any rugs. They are a hazard and we would not want to damage any rugs during the remodel, especially if you intend to keep them.
  • – Remove your trash can. We will not use your trash cans so go ahead and place them in a secure place.


We might suggest closing as many doors as possible each day to avoid the spread of dust, which is inevitable during your remodel.

“Watch the progress!”

We understand you are investing a pretty penny into your remodel. You want it to be perfect. We do too! Just a couple of notes for you:


  • – Trust Us:  You hired us because you had confidence that we are the professionals, that we know construction better than you do.  You hired us because you trusted us with your home.  You hired us because you did not want to manage your remodel.  So we ask you to continue to trust us while we complete the construction phase of your project. With that being said, if you have questions – ask us!


  • – It may not be apparent:  Every day you come home, it may not be apparent what we have accomplished. There are a lot of behind the scene actions that take place that you may not be aware of. We will send you an update every day of what has happened so you do not have to wonder what is happening.


  • – What you see is NOT what you get: There are specific stages to construction that you may not be aware of. This means that during production you may look at something that looks “unfinished” or that does “not look right”.  It is important to remember that there is a process to everything we do. We are not finished until we say we are finished which means – Trust Us – trust us that your completed project will be exactly what you asked for.


  • – Pick Up List: Near the end of the job, your project manager will have an internal “pick up list”. Once that list is completed, we will schedule a time to meet with you to walk the project to complete any additional “pick up” items that you would like to see completed.


Project Completed: Once we have completed the items on your pick-up list we will ask you to walk the job with us again to verify the project is completed to your satisfaction. At this time we will request final payments and have you sign all final release documents.

“10 Tips for Managing Stress Levels During Your Remodel”

Contractors often forget that you, as the homeowner, may not have ever completed a home remodel before.  So if you are feeling stressed out. Or, if you are anxious by nature, it will be important to find ways to manage the stress that will ultimately show its head when you remodel your home. Don’t forget, the joy is in the journey. Going through a remodel is much like having a baby. In the way of how your feelings will go up and down and all around.

The good news is: You get to reinvent your home and create a space that is customized to your style. You get the opportunity to design a room that is functional for your family.  Best of all, you will have a renewed love of your home once the remodel is complete.  Keep your eyes on the prize!

With all that in mind, you must understand that remodeling is stressful and managing stress levels are critical!

Think about it….remodeling has all the components that couples inevitably argue over.  Money, decision-making, time, priorities, and family communication.  Any weaknesses in communication and conflict management certainly come to light during remodeling.

Let’s explore some of the stresses you and your family will endure during your remodel and tips for how to avoid anxiety, stress, and even anger during your remodel.



You will not only need to determine who your contractor will be, but you will also need to decide on a final budget for your project, Then there are many conversations that will take place regarding design. After you come to a decision about design aspects you will need to select your finished products. Finish products alone could be upwards of 10 separate decisions (all of which need to coordinate with one another). Conflicts arise when you are not willing to compromise with one another.

Tip: Pick your battles. And remember that you are blending your styles to create the perfect space for both of you. Another way to manage the battle of decisions is to divide up decisions, one person selects appliances and the other is responsible for the color of the cabinets, as an example.


Transparency regarding budgets

Remodeling is an expensive luxury. Not being transparent with your significant other and with your contractor is asking for problems.

Tip: Discuss and decide what your budget is and allow an extra 5-10%  percentage in the budget for contingencies. Once you have your firm budget in place, do not deviate from it. Be transparent with your contractor about your budget, as well as your contingencies so your contractor can assist in guiding you in the event there is an unforeseen problem when construction begins.


Clear expectations about project timelines

If you have a hard deadline for your project to be completed, that is an important factor that needs to be discussed before signing contracts. If something comes up during your remodel and your project completion date needs a push up (or back) – that is also important to communicate.

Tip: Ask your contractor for a rough timeline of the project. It is important for you to understand that any delays you have in making decisions (such as selecting a product) will directly affect completion dates. Allowing access (or not allowing access) to the home is also a factor that could delay completion dates.

Another topic of discussion with your contractor is any potential holiday time off or weekend schedules. So expectations about completion dates can be set early.


Making too many design changes

Changes in design happen as you progress in planning your new space, especially when you reach the phase of your remodel timeline when you are selecting your finish materials. Just remember,  the best time to make those changes are during the planning and budgeting stage. Most contractors will have a final drawing for you to sign off on before construction begins.

Tip: Once the contract is signed and construction has started, do not make any more changes to your design. If you do make changes, do not be surprised if there is a cost associated that your contractor will not be willing to absorb (sometimes quite significant).



Miscommunication is bound to happen at least once during your remodel. Either between you and your spouse or you and your contractor. In remodeling, it is important for everyone to be extremely deliberate and avoid assumptions.

Tip: If miscommunication occurs, focus on the solution and not the blame. To avoid miscommunication be very clear and do not make assumptions. If you are not sure if your contractor understands what you are asking for, ask your contractor to repeat your request to verify you are on the same page.


Project delays

From waiting for permits to be obtained, materials to be delivered, and finding unexpected problems during demolition, project delays can be incredibly frustrating.  Managing stress that comes from the waiting period is something that may shock you so try to be calm when that happens.

Tip:  There are many components to a remodel. So talk with your contractor to find out what work can be done while you are waiting for the delayed item to be completed.  Many times, especially during a major remodel, time can be “made up” in a different section of the home. Expect the unexpected and your satisfaction levels will be more manageable.


Not understanding the sequence of construction

With the advancement of technology, many consumers spend a considerable amount of time doing research online as well as watching HGTV. Unfortunately, this means that many consumers believe they understand construction more than they actually do. And it causes them to try to manage their own project.

Tip: Trust your contractor. You hired your contractor because you believed that an individual was a professional in the industry. Specifically towards the end of a remodel the finish items seem to feel like they are taking forever to complete. The best way to handle managing the stress of feeling like your project is dragging on would be to ask your contractor what the next steps are so that you understand what is happening.


Space constraints during the remodel

Major remodels take a considerable amount of time so if you have a kitchen that is not operable or a bathroom that is not usable, your stress can mount after a few weeks. Managing your stress gets very tough towards the end of your project because you are mentally done sharing your home with strangers.

Tip: If possible, go on a mini-vacation during your home renovation. Your contractor will thank you. The work will probably be done quicker. And you will avoid having to live in a home without operable space. If this is not possible, try spending more time outdoors.  Having barbecues is a great way to enjoy meals that are home-cooked when you do not have an operable kitchen. Sending the kids to stay with family and friends can be helpful when you are in a bathroom.


Construction is dirty

Remodels are stunning when completed but do not forget that before it is pretty, it is messy! Dust will be everywhere. Even if your contractor cleans up daily and wipes things down, dust will be in the air and will settle at the end of every day. If you like things neat and tidy, this will drive you crazy.

Tip:  Put a sheet over anything you want to protect and expect the dust. There is no way around it. Ask your contractor how they will contain the dust particles to just the remodeled space.  When your remodel is complete, treat yourself with a full service clean by a professional. Then, throw a party to show all your friends and family your stunning newly remodeled home!

Whether you’re looking for a refreshing change, or a small remodel project, Modern Kitchens and Bath would love to assist you with your kitchen and bathroom remodeling in Orange County, CA. Contact us for a free consultation! 714-714-7491

CA State License# 1069485