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Oct 12 2015

Safely Finding a Contractor

remodelYellow pages are dead. Contractors now compete for your business in numerous outlets. Depending upon your tastes some of these on line outlets may be more attractive to you than others, but keep in mind, that, in the end, all of them are basically image boosters for the contracting companies: the more the contractor spends with the site, the greater presence their company will command.  This is true with Yelp, YP, Home Advisor, Houzz, Angie's List, AND Google.

Although marketed to consumers as a referral site, Home Advisor is really a lead generating company. Home Advisor makes their money by charging the companies they refer for each lead that contracting company receives.  For each instance a consumer asks to be connected to a local contractor, leads will be sent to 3 or more companies, who then can automatically call, text, or email the consumer to arrange an interview. Because of this arrangement, Home Advisor does not recommend the best contractor, they simply provide you choices.  And, since each lead is a cost to a participating company, their fees are often inflated for Home Advisor referrals.  Although Home Advisor touts they perform background checks, and ensure company's are licensed and insured, compliance is not always 100%.

Angie's List is another company which invites reviews of participating contractors, but they charge the public a membership fee.  And they continually attempt to sell upgraded “spots” to boost the presence of a company within their site. Angie's List reviews can be helpful, if a company has been reviewed on the site.

Yelp, Google, Yp and a myriad of other sites can be quite helpful in investigating a company, and all provide a spot for reviews, but keep in mind that all of these sites also better promote the contractor wishing to spend hefty amounts in return for the greater presence.

If you are new to an area, use Google or Yelp in addition to internet searches to garner a list of contractors. Check their web presence. Do they have a web page, a Facebook page, and are they active.

Call the company for an interview, and ask for references from past jobs as well as the one they are currently working on. Finding the right contractor requires homework.