November 14, 2016 1 Comment
For most homeowners, the most stressful part of a home remodeling venture is not the work itself, but rather hiring a contractor to take on the project. So where is a homeowner to start in locating someone reputable, competent and experienced? Here, we offer some helpful insight on where to get started, things to consider, and how to identify trustworthy review sites versus confusing complaint boards.
Understanding that even with an experienced contractor, remodeling projects can be stressful, expensive and possibly locate unexpected surprises such as; wood rot under previous roofing components, water damage around windows, or possibly electrical wiring issues in a kitchen remodel.
Despite these potential issues, in choosing a reputable and experienced contractor it can make all the difference in the end result between success or disaster.
Where to Begin:
Know What You Want: After identifying the issue you are looking to resolve, or update, take some time to research what you envision the end result to be before getting estimates. This will help give your contractor a better idea of your expectations and will avoid last minute updates that may take you over budget.
Things To Consider:
- Ask Around: Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Most consumers are more apt to hire someone that a friend or relative has used and found success with versus taking a chance on the unknown.
- Project Timeline: Know when you want to have your project completed, and understand that a quality contractor may not be able to start immediately.
- Finding Mr. Right: While general contractors are great for small to mid-size projects, a larger project (such as building an addition or replacing a roof) requires the right contractor for the right job. By hiring a specialist for your desired project, you ensure that they not only have the expertise, but also the tools to do things right the first time.
- Learn About Licensing & Insurance: A reputable contractor will be fully licensed and bonded. You can learn about their licensing by requesting they provide you with a copy, or via the Better Business Bureau.
- References & Reviews: It is common practice to request several references in addition to doing research on the company via online reviews. Understanding that not all online review sites are created equally for reliability and credibility.
Identifying Trustworthy Reviews:
A quality contracting company should follow the belief that an unhappy customer is their greatest source of learning. As we mentioned previously, even the best contractors can run into unforeseen complications that can cause stress mid-project. It is how those companies roll with those punches that makes or breaks them for reputability.
The common phrase “you cannot believe everything you read on the internet” is especially true when looking at online review sites. Here are some things to consider when conducting online research:
Review Sites Versus Complaint Boards:
- The “perfect” record: this should be a red-flag telling a consumer that the company they are looking at has paid to remove their “dirty laundry”, and more importantly how they resolved (or failed to resolve) their issue.
- Complaints Abound: On the flip side of the perfect record, there are sites like Yelp, Ripoff Report, Consumer Affairs and Pissed Consumer that can attack reputable companies without proper recourse. There is nothing stopping a competitor from creating a fraudulent account as a means of causing damage, and misleading reviews.
*Note: none of these predatory “review” sites are accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and most scored an “F” rating on the BBB scale.
Who Can You Trust?
- Angie’s List: Number 1 for user reliability, they have a proprietary process for the verification of review authenticity. This allows you to get a clear picture of the customer impression of the company, work completed and approximate costs for their project.
- Better Business Bureau: With the BBB, consumers can view the history of the company with the BBB, in addition to the lifecycle snapshot of a complaint resolution.
- Home Advisor: Understanding that not every homeowner has the time to wait for a quality contractor’s schedule to open up, Home Advisor can match homeowners up to reputable contractors who are available to start the project ASAP. They also provided added piece of mind with background checks on every service provider accepted.
- Houzz: Offers design ideas to help homeowners get started in understanding what they want, as well as the ability to search for pro contractors in their area. The Houzz review function is verified for customer authenticity prior to going live on their site as a means of ensuring quality reviews for consumers.
At Erie, we pride ourselves on helping homeowners through every stage of their remodel. We strive to give consumers the tools they need to make informed decisions, even if that means they do not end up hiring us. Your investment is our priority, and we embrace the opportunity to work with our customers by helping them discover the look they love. Find out why we are different, call us for your free estimate today!