Skip to main content

«  View All Posts

How to Check Remodeling Contractor References and Reviews

June 13th, 2024 | 4 min read

By Isabelle Braeutigam

how to check remodeling contractor references and reviews remodeler inspecting outdoor living space custom built michigan

Embarking on a remodeling project can be both exciting and daunting. Selecting the right contractor is one of the most crucial steps in this process.

Hiring the wrong contractor can lead to delays, subpar work, and financial loss. Researching your contractor's credentials, references, and reviews is crucial for a successful project. Most importantly, it's essential for your peace of mind.

We understand how overwhelming it can be to choose the right contractor. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, we've seen firsthand the difference a reliable contractor can make. Yet, we know the stress and challenges that come with choosing a contractor. We're here to help you navigate this crucial decision.

In this article, you'll learn how to check references and reviews for remodeling contractors:

  1. Check Online Reviews: Finding Value in the Positive and Negative
  2. Verify Credentials: Ensuring Licensed Work
  3. Ask for References: Confirming Client Satisfaction
  4. Additional Checks: Legal Verification and Online Presence

1. Check Online Reviews: Finding Value in the Positive and Negative

how to check remodeling contractor references and reviews homeowner searching for review on laptop custom built michigan

Online reviews offer valuable insights into a contractor's reputation and the quality of their work. Here are some popular review sites to consult:

Look for detailed, well-written reviews that give specifics about the contractor's performance. Consistent patterns across many reviews are more reliable than isolated comments. Be cautious of outliers that are too positive or negative, as they might not reflect the general consensus.

Pay attention to patterns in the reviews. Is there consistent praise or complaints about communication, punctuality, or cleanliness? Aim for contractors with a rating of 4.5 stars or higher to ensure a high standard of quality.

2. Verify Credentials: Ensuring Licensed Work

how to check remodeling contractor references and reviews remodeler measuring tape custom built michigan

Ensuring your contractor is licensed and insured protects you from potential risks. In Michigan, residential builders and maintenance/alteration contractors need a license from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

Visit the LARA website and use the "License Search" tool to verify the contractor’s license status. Ensure the license is active, covers the specific type of work you need, and has no disciplinary actions.

Contractors should also carry general liability insurance to cover accidents or property damage. Request a current certificate of liability insurance and ensure it covers the duration of your project. For larger projects, proof of worker’s compensation insurance is also advisable to cover any injuries that occur on your property.

3. Ask for References: Confirming Client Satisfaction (Optional)

how to check remodeling contractor references and reviews homeowner asking for reference custom built michigan

Asking for direct references may not always be needed, but it can give you more assurance, especially if you still have doubts or questions. Request a list of 2-4 recent clients from the contractor. Key questions to ask previous clients include:

  • Were you satisfied with the quality of the work?
  • How professional was the contractor throughout the project?
  • Would you hire this contractor again?

Disclaimer: You don't always need to ask for direct references. This is because a lot of information is available online and through community resources. If you're unsure or the contractor lacks online info, getting direct references can boost your confidence before committing.

Be alert for red flags such as reluctance to provide references or negative feedback from past clients.

4. Additional Checks: Legal Verification and Online Presence

how to check remodeling contractor references and reviews remodeler website custom built michigan

In today's digital era, a contractor's online presence can say a lot about their professionalism and reputation. A good website and active social media show they value transparency and connect with customers through modern channels. Conversely, a weak online presence could signal they're outdated or have something to hide.

A modern website should showcase recent projects, customer testimonials, and clear contact information. Active social media accounts can also show reliability and customer satisfaction.

It’s also wise to check for complaints or legal issues involving the contractor. Contact the Michigan Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division to see if any complaints have been filed. Also, check online for any lawsuits or legal actions indicating unresolved disputes or major issues.

Making a Decision on Your Remodeling Contractor

After gathering info from reviews, references, credentials, and more, focus on what matters most to you, like quality, communication, and budget. Check for consistency and let contractors address concerns before deciding.

Trust your instincts during the consultation process. Pay attention to how responsive, organized, and professional the contractor appears. 

Once you choose a contractor, ensure all terms, costs, timelines, and expectations are in a detailed contract. This protects both parties and sets the foundation for a successful project.

Next Steps to Hiring Your Remodeling Contractor

When it comes to remodeling your home, thorough research is crucial. Choosing the right contractor impacts not only the success of your project but also your peace of mind throughout the process. Avoiding the risks of hiring the wrong contractor means taking the time to thoroughly research.

Most remodeling projects require more time and money than initially anticipated, so investing the effort to find a contractor you can trust and communicate well with is essential to ensuring a positive experience and achieving your desired outcome.

By following the steps in this article—checking reviews, verifying credentials, asking for references when needed, and doing extra checks—you'll know if your contractor is reliable. This diligence will ensure you select a capable, professional, and trustworthy contractor.

At Custom Built, we leverage our 15+ years of experience in remodeling to help homeowners like you navigate the process. As your trustworthy guide, we aim to provide a professional experience leading to creative renovation solutions.

Ready to start your remodeling journey? Contact our team of professionals to discuss your project and explore the best options for your home.

luxury home remodeling services design build firm custom built lansing michigan

Now that you know more about how to check references and reviews for remodeling contractors, let’s take a look at whether a design-build firm like Custom Built is right for you, how we will approach your project, and other ways to vet your remodeling partner options:

Isabelle Braeutigam

Isabelle has worked at Custom Built for over 7 years, learning the systems from all sides. She has become an industry advisor in the customer relations software HubSpot, has a keen talent for elements of design, and currently leads the marketing team under the innovative TAYA system.