Getting the Right Help! Hiring a Pro - The Outdoor Kitchen Planning Series
Although homeowners can set up a simple outdoor kitchen themselves, designing a custom outdoor space with ample room and function is best left to a professional like a concrete contractor, architect, landscape designer, or general contractor. With so many different outdoor kitchens, designing the best kitchen takes time to plan and may require permitting from the city.
Choosing a Pro
Choosing a professional for the job should depend less on affiliation and more on experience.
- Look at companies well established in the outdoor kitchen business, with at least 25 kitchens in their portfolio.
- Make site visits of several past projects to judge craftsmanship, and talk to those clients about how the project has held up.
- For those living in rural areas without an outdoor kitchen company nearby, arrange a long-distance consultation between the contractor and an experienced outdoor kitchen installer.
- Interview several designers and installers, being sure to give each the same information, so their bids will be comparable.
- Check references carefully, call the local Better Business Bureau to check the professional's complaint history, and ensure they are adequately insured.
Create a Schedule
A work back schedule is a spreadsheet that notes all the projects to be completed, the materials on order with expected delivery dates, the projected completion dates for each installation, and notes about any holidays or days off.
When working with a professional such as a landscape architect, they will most likely manage the overall scope and project timeline. Regularly checking in and asking about potential delays will ensure having full knowledge of the schedule. Monitoring this schedule, tracking delays, and possibly serving as project managers will keep the homeowners involved.
Develop a Contract
A contract is a legal agreement between a homeowner and the hired professional in a written document. The contract will act as a guideline for ensuring all materials and actions are performed on time and meet expectations. Having an arrangement for the project will provide a structured timeline while also staying on budget. The type of materials and appliances included in the project will affect the pace of shipping, processing, and handling of items and products.
Items to be included in any contract:
- Contractor's name, address, and license number
- Begin and end dates for the projects
- Names of all subcontractors
- Terms of the agreement, including how all parties will handle changes and resolve disputes
- Description of the work to be done and what isn't included, like trash removal
- Materials and equipment involved
- Demolition and clean-up provisions
- Payment schedule
Get it Right the First Time
Set yourself up to succeed by getting the right help for your outdoor kitchen project. Splurging on materials and appliances is fun, but hiring professionals to build, craft, and install your kitchen correctly is prudent. You may temporarily save money doing it yourself or trusting the family handyman, or you could end up paying the professional to fix what didn't work. In the end, getting it right takes time and patience.