What to consider when hiring a contractor?

This process can cause anxiety. How do building systems work? How do you judge expertise? There’s a fear of being taken advantage of, lied to or stolen from, If you don’t know. So, let’s talk about what to expect from a builder and identify some tools to use for quickly grasping concepts for your project. Most importantly, let’s figure out how to ask questions about things that don’t make sense, straight away.

It’s important to figure out beforehand which of your candidates are qualified for the job. To help you choose, here are some tools that will help:

  • How long have you been in business?

    While a low number here does not necessarily disqualify any contractor, their number of years in business can certainly be a good indication as to the quality of their work and the reliability your contractor has shown his previous customers.

    * On average, 96% of contractors fail within the first two years of business.

    Kwaske Construction has been locally owned and operated in Jackson, Michigan since 1921.

    For over one hundred years, Kwaske Construction has worked with materials purchased from locally owned vendors and offered homeowners, as well as commercial and industrial property owners, premium construction services in the Jackson area.

  • May I see your license and insurance please?

    Plenty of contractors advertise and claim to be licensed and insured, yet fail to produce any documentation when asked. Before beginning any construction project, be sure to obtain a copy of their license and proof of insurance. Their insurance policy ought to include: General Liability, Workers’ Compensation, and Vehicular coverage.

    Kwaske Construction is licensed and insured. Additionally, we use top of the line, OSHA approved equipment on all job sites.
    You can check the status of a contractor’s license with the State of Michigan, which will also give you information on complaints and criminal convictions against the contractor. Ourour licenses and certifications are available on the “Contact Us” page of this website.

    Residential Builder

    Required State License(s): A residential builders or maintenance and alteration contractors license is required when engaged in the construction, repair, alteration, addition, or improvement of a residential or combination residential and commercial structure. Contact the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Commercial Services at (517) 241-9288 for licensure information or visit our website at www.michigan.gov/builders.

  • How many contractors or subcontractors do you use as installers for your jobs?

    Many commercial contractors sub-out work on their projects; however, for a standard home improvement job, employee labor is highly recommended. Contractors that use subs may not carry appropriate insurance and often lose a large degree of control on the job, which can also affect the warranty of the product and, of course, the workmanship.

    When working closely with clients’ homes, it is important to reduce the homeowner’s liability and ensure that their families feel safe.

    Kwaske Construction Company’ installers are employees, not merely subcontractors, and have been background-checked as well as certified and trained on all the products they apply on the job site.

  • Can you provide me with references for jobs similar to mine?

    Experienced contractors will always have ample references you can contact. Those references are often willing to allow you to look at the job and help you rest a little easier.

    Kwaske Construction Company is committed to continuous improvement in all areas of our company, resulting in retaining almost 100% of business from clients and client referrals. Our list of references is something we are pleased to show you!

  • Are you certified with the manufacturer for the products you install?

    Manufacturer’s certification is a professional distinction that sets certain contractors apart. Rather than only learning from their father or grandfather how to install shingles, siding, and other materials, certified contractors know the current and most productive installation methods available.

    Before speaking to a contractor, it’s best to educate yourself about the part of your home you wish to improve. Find a selection of products or materials you intend to use and go to the manufacturer’s website for written installation instructions for those products. This small bit of research on your part will shine a light on materials often overlooked for proper installation.

    Once in a conversation with a contractor, ask how they plan to install their materials. Remember – the contractor you hire must do everything listed in the instructions to ensure you have a valid warranty.

    Through customer service and the use of the best materials with no additional up-charge, Kwaske Construction Company is a CertainTeed Select Shingle Master, Owens Corning Preferred Contractor, and Owens Corning Top of the House Contractor.

  • How much labor can you commit to my project? What is your estimate for completion?

    Your contractor should complete your home improvement projects at a steady and healthy pace. Most professional contractors have crews of at least three men; some have many more. Ask your contractor to give you an estimated timeline of events. Of course, some home improvement projects involve unknown variables, so always allow for weather or additional work delays.

    Through the use of our Design Services and digital imaging software, Kwaske Construction can provide clients with a “bar chart” to create a timeline which includes a project start and completion date before work begins. The chart takes into consideration our customers’ needs, expectations, and availability.

  • How can I get in contact with you or your company if something goes wrong?

    Professional contact is key to the successful completion of your home improvement project. If your contractor only has a cellphone, it is possible they may move or change phone numbers over time. If you can not reach your contractor, then it becomes incredibly difficult to collect on their 10-year warranty. Be sure to ask for multiple forms of contact information, such as their phone number, email, and home address.

    Kwaske Construction Company offers 24-hour customer support, and our team is thoroughly trained to deliver the best possible outcome.

  • Are you the cheapest?

    Although this question might sound odd, it can disqualify some contractors before receiving their estimate. If a contractor claims to be the cheapest or professes the ability to beat any quote, the quality of their materials and work is likely poor.

    We realize this is a big decision, and you to feel comfortable making it. Most people are receptive to our line of thinking, that quality and craftsmanship are the most important factors to consider, but some clients want us to give them the lowest price. We offer you the best price we can without cutting corners, and we won’t budge on quality.

    “I want to change the reputation of this industry for the better, one job at a time.” Steve Kwaske, Owner, KCC.

    Most contractors provide customers a quick estimate, but Kwaske Construction employs the use of Design Showroom, where we can sit down with and educate our clients. It allows us to explain everything that they should expect, along with why we use the best materials to provide the businesses and homeowner the most value for their dollar – because construction work is a large investment that businesses and homeowners do not want to have to do again a few years from now.

  • What type of guarantees do you offer?

    Do not hire a contractor who promises or guarantees their work without offering you a written proposal. Always ask for proposals in-writing. Warranties should clearly define what will be covered and what will be excluded. Ensure a definitive time period is stated as well. Note: Most lifetime guarantees have a legally enforceable expiration of 7 years.

    When you begin collecting written estimates, make sure the contractors’ bids cover the same material and the same conditions. If you intend to have them strip off old shingles, be sure all contractors’ bids state they will do this. The same goes for any other tasks or materials needed for the job.

    Clearly explain to all contractors that they must install new materials or only reuse existing materials if in “perfect” condition. Each contractor will give you an assessment after making a physical inspection of the space. Ask each contractor for their evaluation of your home. If you cannot look at the area yourself, ask if they will take photographs of it during their inspection.

    Our warranties are the best in the industry!

    Always ask: What kind of warranty am I getting?

    Pro-Rated Warranty

    Here is an example of a pro-rated warranty: If you buy a tire with a 100,000-mile warranty for $100.00, and due to a manufacturer defect the tire is unrepairable at 50,000 miles, the manufacturer will offer you $50 due to the tire going 1/2 of the rated warranty.

    Non-Pro-rated Warranty

    A non-pro-rated warranty would give you a new tire or $100.00 right up to the end of the 100,000-mile warranty.

    If we put a Lifetime Warranty roof on for you, our Manufacturer’s Warranty will cover a replacement for the first 50 years from manufacturer defects covering, “labor, material, tear off, and disposal of the roofing debris off-site.”

    Additionally, our warranties cover workmanship, even on plumbing or painting when included in the job. Our list of warranties for new construction and additions is extensive!

For a complimentary consultation or more information, call (517) 745-2614.