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Kitchen Remodeling Contractors: Pros and Cons of Hiring a Friend

by Susanne Clemenz

Your kids adore your husband's brother. Your neighbor is also an Elks' Club buddy. Both are kitchen remodeling contractors. Should you hire one of them?

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Ups and Downs of Hiring a Personal Friend as Your Kitchen Remodeling Contractor

  • Weigh savings versus obligations. Your friend has an extra incentive, because of your relationship, to get you the best quality and savings. Conversely, he may remind you of sacrificed profits for years.
  • You only know his/her social side. He/she may be a poor business person. Deadlines slide, change orders aren't written down, subcontractors don't show up. Maybe he isn't licensed and bonded and claims that good friends don't need such things.
  • Your friend promised to save money by working you in between other jobs. Your kitchen's been torn up during three weeks of zero progress. You can't fire him/her as you would someone else.
  • Everything was written down, signed, understood, and is progressing nicely. Then your friend's favorite subcontractors gouges the tile floor while moving the refrigerator. You try to keep it between you and the sub for the sake of the good price your friend got you, but the sub blows you off. You hate to gripe.

These are very real problems for homeowners who are supportive of a friend or relative's kitchen remodeling business. Use the same precautions as you would hiring an unknown contractor. Get references, check previous jobs, insist on licensed, bonded contractors with good Better Business Bureau ratings, and put everything in writing, including deadlines and penalties. Tell him/her you're getting three bids. Or tell your friend you don't want to put your friendship at risk by mixing it with business.


About the Author

Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and interacted with the contractors every day of the 6-month project. She started drawing floor plans and making models in the early '70s after purchasing several building lots. Recently she expanded and

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