This is where planning meets budget. Before committing to a budget, go out and price some things, get some initial quotes. Make sure your budget is in line with your plans. If not, can you change your plans or your budget? Would it be better to put it off for a couple of years?
Once you have a realistic budget for your project, it's time to start talking to the trade professionals you'll need to get the job done. Give them as many preliminary details as you can. Some things you're looking for in the initial meetings are:
Rapport - Can you work with this person? Do you trust him to do the job to your standards?
Schedule - Does he have time to do the job, when you need him?
Is he qualifed and experienced?
Does he seem to understand what you're trying to accomplish?
What services are included in his pricing?
Start to narrow down which tradesmen you'll be working with. Make sure to get on their schedules early to avoid timing problems later on.
Now's the time to go shopping for your new appliances too. You'll need to have an idea of the appliance you'll be using before talking to the cabinetmaker. He'll need to know what he's designing around.
If your budget runs off track here, there's not much hope of coming back before the end of the project. It's best to allocate 80%-90% of your budget now and leave 10%-20% for unexpected expenses that pop up.
Try to base your allocated funds on hard quotes. If you put estimates into your budget, you may be in for a surprise when you get the bill.
In our shop we have a running quote which includes installation for cabinetry and counter tops. When changes are made, the new cost is reflected immediately in the quote. We do our best to make sure our customers are aware of all costs.