After a wet and cold winter without a functioning garage it is only natural to find yourself curious about the process of building or replacing a current structure.

There can be a lot of decisions to make after deciding to add or replace a detached garage on your property that can quickly become overwhelming.

The addition of a structure such as this is an investment that should not be taken lightly. It is encouraged that homeowners reach out for several estimates prior to committing to a builder and contract.

While each builder is unique and has their own approach, most information should sound familiar. Do not be hesitant to ask question, see examples of previous work, or seek out referrals for the work that has already been completed.

  1. Have you built in my area and are you familiar with the required permits?

Most builders have a common territory they focus on, for example, some build exclusively within the city limits, whereas others are strictly suburban builders. Familiarity with the area and zoning requirements is always helpful. While most municipalities are similar, unique circumstances such as a historical home or property requiring a zoning variance will arise and the more educated the builder, the smoother the process can be.

  1. What other projects have you completed, and do you have reviews online to read?

Companies with a website should have a gallery of completed projects for you to view as well as reviews that can be found either on their social media or Google. It is important to keep in mind that every customer has different expectations and needs. What may have been important and upsetting or successful to one may not have been for another. Gathering a wide assortment of reviews will help to paint a picture of who the company is and what to expect when working with them.

  1. Do you subcontract portions of the project or is it all constructed inhouse? Who will hire and pay those subcontractors if necessary?

This question is necessary when looking outside of the four basic walls and a roof. If a driveway is being added, for example, or electric is being added to the structure, many companies will subcontract those areas out for their professional experience. Typically, the builder will hire and include the cost of such contractors within the original estimate. Additional work, or outside of the original scope of the project, may come at a separate cost to the homeowner with the contractor.

  1. Are you insured and a member of the BBB?

Another great resource when researching reviews would be the Better Business Bureau. Not every business is going to register with the BBB, however it is worth the ask and review. Being insured should never be an issue when considering who to hire. Not being insured is a red flag.

  1. What is the payment schedule like, and do you offer financing?

While money can be difficult to discuss, this is your investment, therefore it is important to understand financial expectations up front. At HGB we collect a deposit once contracts have been agreed upon and signed, the next payment is made as the concrete is being poured, followed by the third payment upon the beginning of the framing process. Finally, when the project is complete, inspections have all been finalized, the final payment is made. If financing is going to be helpful, it is worth asking if that option is available. Most financing information should be accessible on the website, much like ours.

  1. Does I have to hire an architect or will you do that?

Each builder is going to have a different approach to drawings. Some have standard choices that cannot be modified, whereas others create a design based on the customer’s vision. At HGB, we work with the architects at Mach 1 to create those plans.

  1. How are your projects unique or compare to the competition?

Some garages are built with standard materials and predesigned leaving little room for individuality or change. At HGB no two garages look alike. As custom builders, we design and create a structure unique to each homeowner and their needs.

  1. Do you offer a warranty?

With an investment such as this, a warranty is important to have included with the final product. Become familiar with what is warrantied and for how long. At HGB we offer a 3-year warranty with every project we build.

  1. What does each project estimate include? (For example: garage door and opener, electrical options, epoxy flooring, etc.)

Again, a garage is more than four walls and a roof. When comparing estimates, really look at what is included in each builder’s final number. Will they demolish your current structure or are you responsible for that? Do you have options for the siding or type of roof? Are gutters included or are they an additional cost? It is important to understand what a “standard” garage is and what to expect with it. To learn more about what is included in each HGB, check out “The Heartland Way.”

  1. Who applies for permits and schedules the necessary inspections?

A builder who tries to tell you that permits, and inspections are not necessary should be a red flag. Every municipality is going to require permits of some nature, at HGB we both apply for all the necessary ones and represent the homeowner at the inspections we schedule.

Whether you are in the beginning phases of researching your options or determining what your budget needs to look like when the time comes to build, HGB is here to help! For a FREE consultation and estimate, contact Heartland Garage Builders at or 224-326-2698.