Helpful Advice on Choosing a Contractor
Are you considering having some improvements done to your home?
There are many factors that you should consider before signing a
contract with any home improvement company. Here are some tips that
will help you choose the right contractor for your home improvement
- Is the company licensed through the state of Michigan? You
have a right to see their builders license. Note the company
name and license number. Then, don’t just take their work for it
– verify it. Check them out yourself at cis.state.mi.us/bcs_free/default.asp
or call the Licensing Division of the Bureau of Consumer
Services at 517-241-9288, then press 1, 2, 3, 0 to get to
assistance. Make sure you spell their name exactly as their
business lists it. For example, when checking us out, it is
Father & Son Construction, not Father and Son Construction. The
easiest way to do this is to provide the license number. If the
company is not listed or not current with the licensing bureau,
you’d be wise to stay away from them because the state licensing
bureau has no recourse against an unlicensed contractor.
- Is the company you are considering insured? Again, you have
the right to demand a copy of both their Worker’s Compensation
and General Liability Insurance. Consider what would happen if
they was an injury on your job – who would they go after for
- How long has the company been in business? If and when
something goes wrong with your project will they be around to
service it? Companies that have been in business for a good
amount of time are still in business for a reason. Ask about how
long their warranty period is.
- Check with family members, co-workers and friends. See if
they had any experiences with home improvement. Who would they
recommend or not recommend and why? First hand experience is
always a great way to check into a company.
- Check with at least 3 or 4 building inspectors in different
municipalities. Some jobs require a building permit that is
issued from and inspected by the individual municipalities. City
inspectors are government employees so many of them cannot
recommend a company. More likely they will respond to your
questions about a particular company or contractor you are
checking into and whether or not they have had issues with them.
- The biggest mistake made in selecting a company is basing
your decision strictly on price. Just because they have the best
price does not mean they are qualified or will do the best job
for you. Ask yourself, is this a fair price comparison to other
estimates that I have received. Why is the price so different?
- Lastly, double check with the Better Business Bureau in your
area. The listing for the Michigan website is
www.easternmichiganbbb.org. Click on “Checkout a Company” on
the left side of your screen. Again, make sure you type in the
name of the business correctly. Or contact them by phone at
248-223-9400. My advice to you is to stay away from companies
that may have motives that are not in the best interest of the
consumer, like Angie’s List. Click here
for a comparison between The Better Business Bureau and Angie’s
If you go through all of these steps, you will have a much better
chance of having a successful remodeling project.