If you are embarking on a home improvement project by yourself without the services of professional consultants, there’s a good chance you’re utilizing different resources for finding a contractor. Kudos to you for trying to use these tools to better educate yourself on home improvement contractors in your area.
We have a sneaking suspicion that you’re utilizing one, some, or all of the following resources: family and friends, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, Diamond Certified, Yellow Pages, and Angie’s List. While we can’t deny that these are usable tools, it is essential that we keep them in perspective. Yes they can be helpful, but often there’s more than meets the eye. Using them as a sole resource for authoritative contractor information is dangerous. With that in mind, let’s examine some inconsistencies and flaws for each resource.
Family & Friends
What could possibly be more reliable than chatting with close friends and loved ones. These are the folks that have our best interests in mind. There are no reasons they’d lie to us and lead us down the path of working with a dishonest contractor. What could possibly go wrong?
A lot can go wrong. The things that are important to your friends and family could be astronomically different than the things that are important to you. You can’t assume that your habits, likes, and dislikes are the same. For example, a friend or family member may recommend a contractor because this craftsman was “just so gosh-darn nice!” But did your best friend or Aunt Sally make sure to examine the contractor’s license? If this contractor completed your referral’s project say, over a year ago, then who’s to say their work is still top-notch now? For all you know, the contractor’s staff has completely turned over and you’re stuck with a totally different company.
Lastly, just because a friend or family member had one project completed to their liking doesn’t necessarily mean the next one will turn out the exact same way.
The problems with researching a contractor on Yelp are the same as trying to find a nice sushi restaurant or mom ‘n pop café. The info posted on Yelp can be skewed in a negative or positive way based purely on the individual who posted the content. Each person has drastically different experiences. Also remember what we said in the previous header: what is important for another person may be very different than what is important to you.
Here’s another point that is important to remember. It doesn’t really matter if you find a contractor who has three or four positive reviews. A contractor may do 80 installs in 1 year alone. This means that there could potentially be dozens and dozens of other homeowners who are ticked off at the worked performed – they just didn’t post it to Yelp.
Better Business Bureau
What could possibly be better than the Better Business Bureau (BBB)? You might use it exclusively yourself when researching contractors. Here’s why that’s a poor decision that could come back to bite you in the keister.
The BBB doesn’t publicly release anything on their website unless it’s been fully investigated. This means there could be a whole slew of homeowners who are very displeased with a particular contractor, but there is no pending lawsuit. Perhaps the contractor did sloppy work, went over budget, or took much too long. You won’t find that info on the BBB, however. You’ll only find information on a contractor if they performed disastrous work. And get this: during the time in which our disastrous contractor is being investigated, he can still meet with customers and perform jobs.
Diamond Certified are actually a pretty good source of information. Sadly, it’s for the wrong reasons.
This is how Diamond Certified works. A contractor joins and pays a sizable monthly fee. These monthly dues actually have a way of weeding out under-performing contracting companies. Either way, it’s important to know that the main reason certifications are awarded is from paying one’s monthly fees.
Diamond Certified is then supposed to take a sampling of jobs from the contractor’s database and use this information to determine if they should continue to be Diamond-Certified worthy. The reality is that these home improvement companies may indeed be paying their dues, but is Diamond Certified following up with them on a yearly basis?
What this all means is that the prospective contractor you’re thinking of working with who is “Just so nice and funny” may have a certification akin to fool’s gold.
Do you really want to choose who’s going to knock down your walls and perform intricate work inside your home based solely on a cheesy Yellow Pages ad featuring a fat construction worker with a tool belt hanging below his bum? We didn’t think so.
Angie’s List is huge in the home improvement industry. If you’re going to start anywhere in your contractor search, start here. We have no problems admitting that the site can be a viable source.
There are two things to be aware of though. The “aging factor” is the first. Contractors may be rated on the site with information that is extremely old. As a homeowner, you want to be reading new and fresh information. So why isn’t there more new and fresh info? Well, homeowners must pay a fee to rate contractors on Angie’s List. So think about it. Let’s say you spent a ton of money only to have a contractor perform shoddy work. Are you really going to be excited to spend even more money to post a review?
The other point to be aware of is that the sampling size is rather small. Sometimes contractors can do 100-plus projects per year but there may only be 5 reviews of them on Angie’s List. You need a bigger sampling size to make a confidence choice.
Whether you consult friends and family members or utilize web services such as Yelp and Angie’s List, it’s all a ton of work. You must diligently go through all of them, figure out each resource’s pitfalls, and make sure you don’t fall into them.
What you really need is a resource that is always in constant contact with contractors and is reviewing them on a daily basis. HomeProHub stands behind their contractors because if these home improvement specialists perform subpar work just one time, HomeProHub could be out thousands and thousands of dollars (the service guarantee ensures homeowners are protected).
HomeProHub are the police. We’re the watchdogs. We are the authoritative source that will connect you with the perfect contractor for your home improvement project.