We’ve all been there! Whether it be a planned remodel or an emergency fix, at some point or another you’ve had to hire a professional builder. There are hundreds of options out there, but how do you choose which one is best for you? Some criteria are obvious, like checking their portfolio or reviews, but other boxes to check? Not so much. We want to give you some of our best advice, from years of experience, in hopes it’ll save you from a contractor nightmare! Here’s how to hire the right builder or service company for you and your home.
It’s one thing to ask a company if they are licensed, it’s another thing for that company to say yes. To be a legitimate business in the great state of Michigan you must have a business license. However! That license doesn’t mean anything as far as qualifications or training. So yea, they’re going to say they are licensed but you need to do your homework and vet their license.
Head to Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulator Affairs to see if they are in fact a licensed professional, and whether their license has any violations or complaints against them. Here’s another helpful tidbit of info: if any professional performs work in your home and the cost exceeds $600, they need to be licensed with the state of Michigan in the profession that they are providing service for. Now let’s say they do not carry a license in that profession and the bill exceeds $600, and you choose not to pay them? Well their company cannot legally collect from you. The more you know!
I seriously don’t know anyone who doesn’t check the Google reviews before going to a new restaurant, salon, or auto shop. So why wouldn’t you check the reviews for a builder or service company! Of course you’ll read the good reviews, because this will shine light on the company that you are considering hiring, but also read the bad reviews. Are there consistencies between the complaints? Are they untimely or unprofessional? Keep in mind though, that sometimes a negative review actually has nothing to do with the quality of service or work, and that some people leave reviews that are rather irrelevant.
Do they have insurance?!?! Before signing anything, request the company’s insurance agent email you an updated insurance certificate for your review. Keep an eye out for a General Liability Policy and also a Worker’s Compensation Policy. It’s a one-page document and the agent should know what to send you. If the builder or their company are comfortable sending you the policies themselves, say no! It could be phony – and you’re not an insurance whiz!
If you hire a contractor without insurance and they get hurt on your property, you could be liable. We all know that. BUT! If you are hiring a company to perform hazardous cleaning, like a sewage back up or mold remediation, look for the Pollution Coverage endorsement on their insurance Policy. That is a must, must, must! All three of these insurance coverages will be listed on one page for you. If you do nothing else, do this. We can’t stress this one enough.
Most builders have a standard repertoire of finishes they use: in stock, affordable items they’ve worked with before. It’s not a secret that the 3×6 white subway tile is worked into about 75% of our jobs. Now let’s say you want something a little more luxurious, maybe something Pinterest worthy, but you’re working within a budget. Can your builder offer you that?
Finding a building firm that can not only provide quality work, but also offer additional services like Interior Design is super beneficial. Almost every project has a budget, and getting the most out of your investment is top priority! Some clients have absolutely no clue what they want, while others have a list of must-haves. Either way, working with a builder and a designer is the best way to ensure your project is visually stunning AND easy on the pocketbook.