nameless, my first recommendation first and foremost, would be to set what your budget is. Then add 30 % to it, maybe more if you make changes after the work has begun(change orders). If you can handle it financially start to interview 3 contractors after you have defined a very detailed scope of work. Get a written proposal from each. If they are not willing to put their quote in writing look for someone else.You have to decide exactly what you want the finished product to be.
-Make sure your contractor provides you with a permit before he begins work and that all appropriate inspections are made by codes.
-Make sure you get references and ask for pictures of recent projects. You are entering into a business relationship with someone, make sure you fell comfortable with them. DO NOT PAY FOR WORK THIS IS NOT COMPLETE OR AT A PRE-AGREED STAGE.
-Do you want new cabinets?
-Do you want new counter tops? If so what kind.
-Do you want new lighting?
-What type of wall treatment.
-What about appliances? Replacing/ reusing existing
-What type of flooring options are you interested in.
-Be sure to set a time line on the project completion.
-How are you prepared to pay for the work, money in hand or bank loan. Contractors and his subs need to be paid for the work preformed and materials used, but hold a retainage(usually 10% customary) till the job is complete. Loans sometime require a loan officer to visit the job site so as to release funds.
-Are you planning on living in the house during renovation? If so are you prepared on having workers in your face every morning while your getting ready for work. Trades people usually start work early.
Its really important that you communicate with the contractor that you hire before hand, just EXACTLY what your expectations are and be sure everything is put in writing before the first tool belt shows up to work. The more details that are spelled out in the beginning, the less room for disappointment at the end of the project.
This is only a starting point, there are many more questions and answers that need to be made. If you don't know what you want a contractor is not a mind reader. Do your research and learn all you can about what you are planning on starting
You can find reference books at most home improvement stores and most of the big box stores have a computer design person that will be able to help you design your new space.
Good luck with your project!