Springtime in Michigan has specific signs it has arrived like Morel mushroom hunting, yard work, Robin sightings, geese flying north, and the growing fix-it-list for your home. To take on the spring season and tackle that growing fix-it-list you will eventually need to hire a contractor to do some work.

Top Tip – When hiring a contractor to do a project on your house, know that in Michigan if a project totals $600 or more in Labor and Materials the contractor must be licensed by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. 

Before you contact a bunch of contractors in Michigan, you will want to do a little prep work. The more you prepare before you start calling around the better experience with a Michigan contractor you will have.

Here are four tips for finding a top contractor in Michigan

• Write out what the work you are looking to get done, and make sure to give every contractor the same information. This will ensure that you will be comparing apples to apples and can make a better decision based on the bids.

• Ask for referrals from your friends and family. Someone you know has a favorite contractor and will be happy to refer that business to you. Ask them why they liked working with that contractor and did they have any frustrations during the work? Word-of-Mouth is a powerful way to find a contractor.

• Interview a narrowed down list of contractors. Pay close attention to how well you communicate with each contractor because you will want easy communication during the project.

• Check references from the contractor you have chosen, and follow up by calling and visiting past job sites. Most people will skip this step but it is super necessary and one of the most important steps on vetting contractors.

Scam Alert

Watch for someone knocking on your door offering to do your work at a discounted price that is only available if you decide right now. This is a common roofing scam especially in the spring or after a storm. The shady contractor will pressure you to make a decision right there to receive the discount. This is an old high-pressure tactic that does work, and you need to watch out for it. The contractor seems legit with business cards and uniform, stating something about being in the neighborhood doing work and that is why you can get a discount today. Never give someone money that you have not fully vetted. 

Ok so now you have vetted contractors and decided on who you want to work on your project. They check off all the boxes, have done work for some of your family, and they have examples of work you liked.

Time to get started but what’s next? What if the contractor wants a full payment upfront? Do I need a contract? Who should carry the insurance?

Here are the top tips to avoid getting ripped off by a shady contractor in Michigan.

1. Get it in writing 

Before work starts or money changes hands there must be a contract. A reputable contractor will have a written proposal with timelines, payment schedules, a list of materials, and how to handle any additional work that could arise unforeseen. They should also provide you with a detailed drawing of the project.

2. Do your research

Check out the contractor’s online reviews on sites like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, Houzz, and always check with the Better Business Bureau. If they are a shady contractor you will quickly find out from the bad reviews online from past customers.

3. Check for valid Licensure

Check with your local or state licensing and regulatory affairs department and make sure that a contractor has the appropriate licensing for the services they are going to perform. You may be surprised to learn that You can verify your contractor’s license validation in your local state’s regulatory agency, here in Michigan you can verify licenses with LARA – the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

4. Get a copy of the contractor’s Liability Insurance

Make sure that they have the appropriate coverage to protect your home from any unforeseen damage. Ask to get a copy for your records, that way you know you are protected and can have peace of mind.

5. Make sure all permits are pulled 

You can check with the local building department for verification. This can be a permit for land use, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, soil erosion, and more. These permits ensure that the contractor you have chosen is doing the work properly up to current codes and will be inspected. Permits protect you the homeowner from an unscrupulous contractor.

6. Never pay 100% upfront

Make sure that you understand the payment schedule and stick to it. It is never recommended to pay for the whole job upfront, this is the #1 way that consumers get ripped off by contractors. Generally, a payment schedule can vary depending on the scope of work. If you have a small job then only a few payment schedules are needed, larger jobs will have more schedules for payment as is needed to complete your construction project.

Lastly, you will want to confirm during this process if the contractor has employed crews or uses subcontractors? This is important as if your contractor uses subcontractors you will want to verify that the subcontractors are getting paid. Also, it’s a good idea to check with material suppliers as well because if either sub or supplier are not paid, you could be held liable. If your contractor does not pay their suppliers you can be held responsible, even if you have paid your contractor in full. Another important reason to do your due diligence and hire a reputable Michigan Contractor. 

If you are looking for a contractor in South Eastern Michigan with over 30 years of experience spanning three generations, give us a call at 248-629-9260 for a free consultation and estimate.

We are experienced contractors and take pride in our work. We guarantee 100% satisfaction and are so confident in our work, we re-inspect it EVERY 2 YEARS. If we see a problem- we fix it, FREE OF CHARGE! How many contractors offer that?