Hiring Home Improvement Pro's

A Gallop poll revealed that 72% of people felt it is too hard to find a trusted contractor.
Would like to hear from anyone about their experiences on how they find, hire and generally deal with contractors when they need a project or repair done.
  • December 01 2010 - Greenville
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Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

 
 

Answers (12)

Profile picture for Mills Realty
A good source to check on a contractor is the local Better Business Bureau.  They keep track of consumer complaints and rate the business accordingly. 
  • December 01 2010
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Generally, I choose to go the "word-of-mouth" route.
  • December 01 2010
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I've been in the buisness for over 25yrs . I would say we get 90% of our
work by word of mouth . Then by providing a long reference list that
goes back several years.
  • March 05 2011
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The best way to hire a contractor is to be referred by a satisfied customer. Preferably someone who's opinion you trust. But still, check references and check their license status with the state contractors board.
  • March 07 2011
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Most of our business comes from referrals and repeat clients.  Recently, Angie's List has created a flood of new clients because we have an A rating.  People don't know their neighbors like they used to so the internet and third party reviews have increased.
  • April 01 2011
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Traditional word of mouth is the best for everyone.  Second to that would be the online review sites.  Angie's List (probably good, but you have to pay to join) and Yelp! (free and does a good job of filtering out "self-reviewers") are probably the best.  Other review sites are more easily manipulated and should be viewed skeptically.  Checking references - recent and not so recent is another way to filter out the less reputable contractors. I put together more general info on my blog about this topic - [edited by Zillow moderator]

  • July 07 2011
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Anyone planning a remodeling project should check out their local National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) organization.  They provide an extensive on-line directory of their members, which you can search through at no cost. (They can also mail you a directory.)

Member companies who join this organization are obligated to uphold high standards of professionalism and NARI's Code of Ethics. They are throughly checked out to be accepted in this organization: insurance, licenses, past clients, etc.

In addition, the website also has a very good page on how to select a contractor, and provides further info on the organization.

Once you have selected 2-3 reputable contactors who specialize in your type of project, meet with them to discuss your project. Once you narrow down your favorite, check the references they provide. These references should provide the positive "word-of-mouth" feedback you are looking for. Also, make sure the written quote covers everything you want included.

NARI will help you find a reputable professional contractor who you can trust.

Best of luck - Susie
  • July 25 2011
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Profile picture for SeanPalmer8
Totally agree with you Susie!  A good source to find a reputable contractor is to check with NARI (National Association of Remodeling Industry) as well as the California Contractors Licensing Board. When you find a contractor you like, no matter the source you located them through, check up on them by asking the Contractor Board if the contractor you selected is currently licensed (for the type of job you will have them perform). Also ask the Better Business Bureau if they have any complaints logged against the contractor and ask the contractor to show you their current insurance documents. A contractor whom may have done a great job several years back may not be on solid footing anymore. There are many many good contractors, and just as many bad ones, so spend a little time up front doing homework on the contractor you select to save you headaches in the future. Get lots of recommendations from friends, family, and co-workers, then do your homework.
  • November 13 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
2010 was a great year when this quesiton was posted. I remember it like...well like it was just last year.
  • November 14 2011
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In states or communities without strict licensing boards, look for home builders organizations, such as the one active in the Cookeville TN area. Then, once you have located 3-4 good candidates....Always, always, get complete quotes in writing, as recommended by Susie. I can't tell you how many otherwise savvy folks I know who have told someone to "just take care of it" only to spend much more than they ever dreamed of spending. Just as a good carpenter measures twice and cuts once, a good client measures and compares before assigning the project.
  • November 16 2011
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I would not rely on a BBB rating alone.  They are actually a bit of a scam, trading good reviews for membership fees.  In fact they have been caught by news crews telling potential members that they will get higher scores if they pay dues to the BBB.
  • December 29 2011
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Profile picture for Asuncion64
we all need money.
BBB and all of the other are no different.
the list from here or there. I run a buss. and they all call me and ask for money for a nice add or place in their marketing services.this is my personal recommendation.
check a license cslb.org. in California
make sure there is license and insurance.
check name and license on cslb records.
a good contractor is not going to be cheap.
there is lots of expenses to run a business
get contract in writing. and set time to start and finish project.
don't pay in advance, do progress payments. and good luck. 
  • January 02 2012
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