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Posted on: September 21, 2017

Choosing a Home Contractor

Contractor

Taking on projects or making home improvements can certainly be exciting. However, with the all the demands of today, it can be tempting to choose services and contractors based on a lower price or top results in a Google search.

With that said, it’s critical to take the extra time needed to do your due diligence to ensure that you and your family are choosing a reputable servicer or contractor. Before your next project, consider the following guidelines to help you navigate the process.

  • Verify your contractor’s license – In Michigan, all builders and remodelers are required to be licensed. Visit the State of Michigan’s website to ensure that they are licensed and in good standing. If you cannot find your potential contractor listed on this site, don’t proceed.
  • Ask trusted contacts – Word-of-mouth recommendations continue to be one of the most reliable forms of marketing – and one of the best ways of finding trustworthy servicers. If a contractor is known in the community with a realistic and reliable work history, it’s certainly a good sign. Additionally, if you have a relationship with your source, ask if you can see some of the previous work. Make sure to ask questions that will provide you insight into how smooth the working relationship may be.
  • Ensure your paperwork is complete and accurate – Carefully read through anything before you sign it. Give close attention to the details specified in the initial bid and contract. Be aware of any red flags that may pop up when reviewing the terms, fees and overall agreement. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or dispute anything you don’t agree with. If in doubt, consult an attorney.
  • Keep a record – This holds true for both money paid and agreements made. Always pay by check—never cash. Don’t make agreements verbally—get everything in writing. It’s critical that you keep an organized record of any payments or agreements you make with the servicer or contractor, so if you need to reference them at any point, you are able.
  • Don’t forget to request signed lien releases – Before making any final payments, ensure that you have obtained signed lien releases from any subcontractors or suppliers. These documents demonstrate that the servicer or contractor you’ve hired has paid all of them, relieving you from responsibility.
  • See what others are saying – Reach out to the Better Business Bureau to see if the contractor has received complaints. Do a Google search to see if there are online comments – good or bad – about the contractor. If you subscribe to a service like Angie’s List or Nextdoor, log in to see what others are saying.

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