It's springtime in Minnesota and that signals a change to us. We are wanting to be outdoors more and maybe clean up what winter left behind. Spring also means road and home construction. If you are looking at doing some remodeling this year, or maybe you are like me and looking at building a house. Most of the time when we do these things we are going to be hiring a professional, which makes sense, as most of us have never built a home, let alone a major remodel. Here are ten things that the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota recommend doing before hiring someone. 

  • 1

    Research their track records.

    It's a smart idea to use free services to check up on any potential contractor. You can go to bbb.org to see the business profile of the company and see any complaints they might have had against them.

  • 2

    Get multiple estimates

    Don't just take the first job bid. Shop around even if you think you won't do better with someone else. Don't forget to get all of your estimates in writing. You can refer back to them if a question arises.

  • 3

    Verify licensing and insurance

    Make sure the contractor can work here in Minnesota. It's the law! You can check to see if the contractor is licensed and registered by going to doli.state.mn.us.

  • 4

    Ask for references

    If they have been in business awhile this should be easy. Ask for some recent projects they have completed, and reach out to those customers. Ask them about their experience working with the contractor. Were they timely, did they follow up with what they said they would do, were the costs similar to the estimate, etc?

  • 5

    Ask about a lien waiver

    This is something I didn't know about until I saw a post from the BBB. The lien waiver is a statement that all of the suppliers and subcontractors have been paid. This is something you should ask for ahead of time and get upon completion of any work done.

  • 6

    Building permits

    Pretty straightforward here. The permits are a form of protection for you that the work is done meet local building code. Contractors will often obtain them on behalf of the home-owner, but the home-owner has to pay for the permits.

  • 7

    Think about future issues

    If the lowest bid or most attractive bid comes from a non-local company ask about how issues will be resolved, or how warranties will work with them. Make sure you are clear about how the warranties work and the timeframe associated with them.

  • 8

    Get it all in writing

    Don't allow a single hammer to be swung or shovel of dirt moved until everything is in writing and you have looked it over. All of the dates should be filled out, services that will be provided are listed, and any costs or allowances that are involved. ANYTHING you sign at this point is a CONTRACT!

  • 9

    Never rely on a verbal promise

    Anything that was promised verbally, should be put into writing. You can always have the contract amended to reflect any changes.

  • 10

    Arrange payment

    Never pay for ALL of the work ahead of time. Schedule payments to coincide with the work. As the adage goes, 'keep them coming back for more'.