If you’ve ever considered hiring a professional home remodeling company to work on your home, you know how stressful the experience can be. There may be dozens of options in your area. What’s more, each company promises the best results, lowest prices and friendliest service. The investment you’re considering is substantial—maybe even tens of thousands of dollars—and the last thing you want is to get burned by a contractor with low standards or hidden fees.
The reviews of past clients are one of the most (if not the most) effective way to know if a given contractor is truly reputable, skilled and experienced. If you could only find a good number of objective reviews, you would know for certain whether the contractor in question will truly deliver when it comes to your home renovation investment.
The problem is, many reviews are highly subjective. Some of them are even written by renovation companies themselves, under false monikers. These aren’t the kind of the reviews you want; they aren’t going to tell you much about how past clients really feel about the work they had done.
So where can we turn for objective, quality information from past clients?
Third-party review sites
As more home remodeling companies realize the importance of objective reviews, they’re beginning to upgrade their web sites with integrated third-party reviews from sources such as Houzz, Yelp and Google+. When you see reviews from these sources, it’s a good sign that the contractor is confident in their work and proud to display objective feedback from any number of past clients.
Friends & Family
Never underestimate the power of friends and family when it comes to finding a quality home renovation specialist. Chances are excellent that someone in your social circle has paid for home remodeling work in the past few years. Take advantage of opportunities to speak with them, and even to view the results in person if possible. This can give you valuable perspective on the important decision in front of you.
Associations like the Better Business Bureau and other state or local trade organizations often have high standards for the companies they list and/or endorse. Affiliation with such organizations can be a very good sign that your prospective contractor is highly reputable. At the very least, you want to make sure that your contractor is fully licensed to perform home renovation or home remodeling work in your area. This denotes that professional standards of quality have been met.
Finding information that helps your cause
When it comes to home renovation and remodeling, the only valuable reviews are those that actually help your cause as a homeowner and potential client. Reviews that are clearly negative should be a cause for concern—but if a number of positive reviews are accompanied by a more critical review, this can actually be a good sign. It means that the reviews you’re reading are real and honest. The question is, how has the contractor responded to this criticism? What have they done to avoid similar problems in the future? These are all questions worth asking when you finally do make that call and set up that initial consultation.
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