Know your builder…

We offer this helpful list of rules to consider when choosing a contractor… there’s no point in taking an unnecessary risk with your important and valuable project. Please feel free to contact us with specific questions.

Ask for their license number. All contractors in the State of Tennessee should have a license number. A legitimate and honest businessman will have no problem providing the information. We are involved in a highly regulated business and we proudly provide the relevant information.

Ask for references. Write the names and numbers down and call them. Go see them. Most people will actually welcome you… simply to show off their completed project.

Visit their place of business. Not all contractors have an office, but you need to make sure you are not dealing with a fly-by-night operation.

Your construction loan package will include paper work for the contractor to complete. If you don’t see this paperwork or if they don’t handle the idea with a positive reaction, then there may be a problem.

Be wary of the contractor who prefers to give a “complete package” price. No construction lender will accept that and neither should you. Read it carefully, it will dictate the quality of the project you end up with.

Demand a materials list. You don’t need the contractor who doesn’t have the time for this. Some lenders don’t require this and when they do little attention is paid to it. Insist on a complete list of all materials and fixtures.

As a part of the construction loan process the contractor will be asked to provide evidence of liability insurance as well as evidence of workman’s compensation. They may very well not have workman’s compensation insurance if they don’t directly employ anyone. However, complaints about liability insurance are a sure sign of trouble.

As material costs are rising, payment of deposits on some deliveries may be required by suppliers and some construction loans will allow for that. However, beware of the contractor who asks for up-front money.

Construction loan disbursements are made in stages. Never pay a contractor before your local county or city inspector has signed off on that stage. The lender’s inspector only verifies percentage of completion, not compliance, so his approval does not mean that your local authorities will also sign off.


You can also find tips and advice on hiring a general contractor from the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Find out about the Tillman process or learn about what makes Tillman different.