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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What should I ask my contractor before hiring them for my building or remodeling project?

    What is your license number?
    Remember, the builder should display his/her license number on vehicles, business cards, advertisements, and other printed materials. Check with the Minnesota Department of Commerce to ensure the license is current.

    Have any complaints been filed against you?
    The Minnesota Department of Commerce files and reviews complaints against builders. You may also want to check with the Better Business Bureau.

    Do you have liability insurance?
    Licensed builders are required by law to have a minimum of $100,000 per occurrence of liability insurance.

    Where are your offices?
    Be sure to get a physical place of business, not just a P.O. box, along with a local phone number where the contractor can be reached during normal business hours.

    Do you have references?
    Ask for references from past clients. Call the references and discuss their satisfaction with the building process and final product.

    Do you participate in a local trade association?
    Builders who participate in a local trade association are more aware of industry changes and innovations that will make your home more safe and comfortable.

    How long have you been a contractor?
    While longevity is not everything, experience does matter in the construction industry. Find out how long the contractor has held a license, and how long his/her crew have been working for the company.

    Do you specialize or have experience with my project type?
    Along with general industry knowledge, it is helpful to hire a builder who has done projects similar to yours in the past. It gives him/her insight into the potential pitfalls, and helps your project run more smoothly.

    What is your role in the company? Will you be my contact on this project, or who will it be if it’s someone else?
    It is important to know who your main contact will be before hiring a company for your project. You’ll be communicating with your key contact person quite a bit throughout the project, and its important to feel comfortable with them.

    Which building codes will you need to meet on this project?
    Your builder should know the current codes and which affect the project at hand.

    Are you involved in any local civic organizations?
    A builder’s participation shows his/her dedication to the community.

    What are the risks associated with hiring an unlicensed contractor?

    Does your building or remodeling budget include health care costs?
    If an unlicensed contractor or employee is hurt while working at your home, you are liable for any injuries. This means that you are responsible for the expenses related to emergency care, hospitalization, rehabilitation and other services. Contractors who are builders association members carry their own liability insurance.

    Are you prepared to fix your contractor’s mistakes?
    If the work of an unlicensed contractor at your home is deemed unsafe or does not meet code, correcting the problem is your responsibility. This can not only endanger your family’s safety; it means that you must fix the problem before selling the home. When contractors are builders association members, their work is formally inspected by local government inspectors.

    Are you prepared to fix a home you no longer own?
    Unlicensed contractors do not have to abide by Minnesota’s 10-year warranty law on the work they perform. Even if you’ve sold the home, you are responsible for any problems resulting from the work of unlicensed contractors for up to 10 years. Licensed contractors, by law, provide a 10-year warranty on all of their work.

    Can a contractor really run away with your money?
    If you are the victim of a scam artist posing as a contractor, he or she may never return to the job after receiving your down payment. Builders association members are professional licensed contractors who live in and have ties to your community.