Hiring a contractor?

Don’t get scammed.

Under Michigan law, all contractors offering to do work which totals $600 or more in labor and materials must be licensed by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). A Residential Builders license allows a contractor to build a complete structure and do maintenance or alteration (remodeling) work. A Maintenance and Alteration license indicates that the holder has met the requirements for their trade.

Know the warning signs and red flags.

“It’s easier if you pull the permit.”

They’ll tell you it’s cheaper, or that a permit isn’t necessary. They do this because without a license, they can’t pull a permit. No permit means no quality inspection, which may result in a poor finished project.

“I don’t have my license with me.”

Refusal or hesitation in showing you their license or insurance probably means they have none. If someone gets hurt, YOU are
liable. Licensed contractors must carry workers compensation.

“I prefer cash payments, up front.”

If they ask you to pay in cash, or pay the total up front, you’re probably not dealing with a licensed pro. Always ask about
payment options BEFORE your project is started.

“It’s a great deal, we don’t need a contract.”

“Special low prices” or discounts with their leftover material are not to be trusted. Legitimate builders don’t overbuy their materials and expect to unload them on you. If having a contract makes them nervous, find someone else. A contract ensures that everyone knows what’s expected and when. If they refuse to sign one, don’t do business with them.

When you choose an HBAS member, you’re choosing the right professional for your project.

Why choose an HBA member?

Your home is the largest investment you will likely ever make. Whether you are building a new home, or remodeling an existing one, you owe it to yourself to use only the best in the business. You need someone you can trust to do the job right.

When you choose HBA, you choose the best.

  • HBA members know their trade and have been tested & approved by LARA.
  • They must be insured. Liability for on the job injuries will rest with your pro, not you.
  • Members invest time & money into continuing their education, & improving their abilities.
  • Members know & respect the Michigan Residential Code, & are required to have the latest edition of that code.
  • Local HBA members also belong to the Home Builders Association of Michigan, & its parent, the National Association of Home Builders.
  • Members have the ability to get involved in the growth & betterment of the building industry and their communities.


Licensed contractors will typically carry their licenses with them, or an employer or business owner will hold the license for its staff. You can ask to see it. The trades in which a contractor is qualified are listed on the license.


A qualified tradesperson knows their trade inside and out. If they don’t make you feel confident in their knowledge of their craft, you may be getting scammed.

Trades need a license.

Most skilled trades – including builders & remodelers – need a license in the state of Michigan. Be sure to check LARA, or call HBAS if you have questions. An unlicensed contractor could spell disaster.

HBAS members are professional, licensed, & insured.