How To Choose a Contractor in Ann Arbor, MI

How To Choose a Contractor in Ann Arbor, MI and Surrounding Areas

So you’re thinking about a major home improvement? Congratulations! When done properly, a home renovation project will make your home more enjoyable and increase its value over time. Unfortunately, we’ve all heard the horror stories of home improvement gone bad – unfinished projects, shoddy workmanship, longer than expected project durations and final bills that come in higher than the quote. So there is no wonder that the average homeowner does not know who to have do the work or who to trust. Yes, there are some good companies out there, but unfortunately that is more the exception than the rule. Consider these industry stats:

  • #1 in consumer dissatisfaction (up to 70%)
  • #1 in written complaints (according to BBB)
  • #1 in bankruptcies (non-food industries) according to the SBA

Now it is nice to be number one, but not for those reasons! To make matters worse, it is estimated that about 96% of all new home improvement companies will fail within the first 3-5 years. It is amazing that a $300 billion industry is fraught with so many problems. So how can you protect yourself? There are some basic “DOs and DON’Ts” the average homeowner can follow to ensure they navigate the maze of contractors to a successful finished project.

Top 3 Homeowner “DOs”

1) DO your research before you set an appointment

In today’s world of information there are lots of ways a homeowner can search about a local contractor – especially online. If you have a difficult time finding information about a company you are considering…beware! There should be lots of third party information, such as the Better Business Bureau, that can help give you a better feel for who you will be doing business with.

2) DO look for a company who have been in business for a good length of time

Obviously the longer the better, but usually a company who has made it past ten years is doing something right and is much less likely to go out of business. Ask yourself if the company looks stable or are they “fly by night”.

3) DO look for a company who is fully insured and has its own employees

In this day and age it is a lot cheaper to do business without insurance and many contractors take advantage of this fact. Don’t just take their word for it – ask to see the actual documents and make sure they are correctly dated. In general you can expect more professional workmanship from an employee. Many companies opt for subcontractors in order to save money, often at a sacrifice for quality work.

Top 3 Homeowner “DON’Ts”

1) DON’T look for the best price

This is one of the most common mistakes made by a homeowner. You cannot get a quality product that is professionally installed and also expect great service – all at the cheapest price – because it doesn’t exist! Generally in life it is true that “you get what you pay for”. Instead look for the company with the best value for what you are getting so you only have to do the project once.

2) DON’T hire a friend or family member to do the work

This often sounds like a no brainer because a homeowner is promised a “great price”. The problem is what happens if there is a problem? Usually the homeowner feels guilty asking for service because they know they got “a deal” and the person who did the work feels angry because they thought they were doing “a favor”.

3) DON’T get a least 3 quotes

Really? Well, people have been saying “get at least 3 quotes” for years and the industry is still ranked #1 in consumer dissatisfaction – so it hasn’t worked! There is no evidence to show that a customer who spends the time interviewing 3 or more contractors has any better luck. In fact, many homeowners get confused and end up going with the cheapest bid. The best solution is to do as much research ahead of time as you can. If you find the right company you won’t need other bids.

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"WOW! Our gutters look great! Josh And Kamrin arrived right on time and got quickly to work. They were very friendly and didn't mind our 6 year old grandson asking questions. I would recommend Atlas to our friends."

– Kathy S.

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"I have been impressed with Atlas home improvement they do things the way I would. Kelly was our installer and was unbelievably hard-working very conscientious and even went the extra mile and called in a grizzly Veteran plumber when presented with a problem. We have used Atlas before and will again soon!"

– Tony M.

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"Just a quick note to thank Atlas Home Improvement for the new Gutter Helmet install we received today . From the sales representative Hunter who answered all our question about the product and the company itself to the office personnel that scheduled and kept us informed about the date and times the install crew would arrive (Brook). Kevin and Rick did a great job installing and cleaning up afterwards . Thank you Rick for calling us the morning of install just to verify that indeed you would be arriving shortly . Undoubtably one of the best companies I have dealt with . Atlas made it so very easy to keep myself Safe and my home secure from gutter water damage ."

– Harold B.

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"This was our second experience with Atlas. The shower in our last home was truly a primary selling feature. We returned to Atlas because of the quality of the job and the professionalism of the install. We were happy to see the same installers we had at our other house three years ago arrive here today. Chad and Bill did an excellent job. We received the same professionalism and quality we expected. They arrived with all the materials they would need, no hidden surprises, quality materials. They truly live up to everything they promise!"

– Rob R.

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"Chris and Brandon did a great job on my Kitchen, I love how it looks! Chris had to come back to fix some things and he fixed all of it."

– Linda B.

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"Recently, Atlas Home Improvement finished the second phase of my bathroom remodel. Matt and Chad were here every morning on time, stated in their morning phone call. They were friendly, efficient, knew their job and the job site was always in order and clean. They even went out of their way to make sure I was aware of all aspects of the job. They were GREAT!!! This is a great company!!! Very clean and considerate while putting in my new shower. Time the sales consultant was wonderful and really listened to what I want and was never pushy or tried to sell me something I didn't want. David did a wonderful job installing my shower. Great product they sell. I recommend this company highly!"

– Donna P.

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"Dave put in a stair lift for me and I was very, very pleased with the whole experience. He assessed the situation with an eye on my safety and recommended changing the side of the staircase the lift was to be installed on. He did the installation quietly and quickly and without creating any mess. And he made sure I understood how the equipment worked and watched me test ride it. I could not have been more satisfied with the whole process. I would highly recommend Atlas to any senior looking to modify their home so that they can age in place."

– Dorrie R.

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"We were experiencing temperature problems with our brand new walk-in tub, in that the temperature would not get very hot. After a call to Atlas we were scheduled by the office staff for an appointment within 2 days, which we very much appreciated. Dave arrived on time and immediately diagnosed the problem - and he quickly fixed it. Dave was very professional, pleasant, friendly, and knowledgeable. Our problem has now been fixed! Thank you Atlas for having such a great installation, office, and repair staff."

– Norv S.

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"We had our shower completely re-done by Dave. It was a custom job that involved replacing a sub floor and some plumbing issues. They were friendly, hard workers, our shower turned out perfect! I strongly recommend Atlas Home Improvement they stand by their work!"

– Sherry G.

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"Our dealings with Atlas Home Improvement have been nothing but a delight. We had booked them through Home Depot Home Services which had a salesman come out and was easy to deal with and took his time to explain all of the steps to the process. Atlas delivered the exact way they had promised we were in the loop knowing when our materials were ordered when they came in and to finally setting up the appointment. The workmanship was 5 star excellent and we could not have been happier with our new shower enclosure it really made a difference!"

– Sharron R.

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