…we removed one tile when players had uneven numbers of tiles and let persons place on the starting tile. Is this a good or a bad idea?
It's not a bad idea to even out the tiles, since it means that everyone gets the same number of turns. But it becomes less relevant when you use the builder, because then there is no way to know how many tiles each player will draw…
On the other hand, allowing players to deploy followers to the starting tile is probably a bad idea, since it gives the first player an unfair advantage. And the starting tile (or tiles) are supposed to be placed before play starts.