December 4, 2014
Home Improvement Contractors: Reviewing Online Reviews
Since most major home improvement projects only come along once in a lifetime, finding the right contractor can be an intimidating prospect. Fortunately, with all of the resources available online today, a lack of information is generally not the problem anymore.
There are dozens of review sites you can visit to find out what your friends and neighbors are saying about products, services and contractors. So many, in fact, that you may need your own strategy for reviewing the reviews.
Whether you are thinking about window replacement, a new kitchen, or building a room addition, you can find reviews of local contractors’ work online. Not all reviews are created equal though. Most are written by consumers just like you willing to share their experience to make someone else’s life a little easier. However, there are fake reviews, paid reviews and sometimes just plain malicious reviews (some even written by competitors) so you have to be careful who you trust. Trustworthy sites include Angie’s List, the bbb.org, Guild Quality, and houzz.com, just to name a few.
When you search for information from reviews, there are a few key factors to take into consideration.
Quantity of Reviews – Look for established contractors with multiple reviews. Businesses with customers willing to take the time to leave them a positive review should grab your attention. By the same token, if a business has been established for many years and hardly has a review, good or bad, to its name, that should speak volumes as well.
Quality of Reviews – Most review systems have a 1-5 rating system with the option of adding comments; however, the number of stars (or hammers or hard hats) a business is given by a customer is pretty subjective and can be misleading. You need to read the whole review. For instance, reviews with just a rating or very limited words, extreme comments like “Best Contractor Ever” or “This Business Stinks” are probably fake or at least should be taken with a grain of salt. If you find several reviews using the exact same language, those reviews are probably fake or paid for (often both) and those should be ignored as well. Look for reviews that go into detail about the kind of work done, quality of the work, customer service before and after the project, and how they were treated by the installers.
Age of Reviews – It’s important to look for current reviews when researching a contractor. If there are no current reviews, the business may have changed hands or there may have been problems with the service. If the last review you see for a business is several years old, this may be a red flag that there is a problem with this contractor.
Of course, online reviews aren’t the only measure of a contractor’s reputation. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is still a good source for information about complaints against a business. You should ask around amongst your friends and co-workers for recommendations, check social media sites and search local news organizations for stories. You can also check with your local home buyer’s association or the National Association of The Remodeling Industry http://www.nari.org/ for reviews and membership information.
Home Town Restyling is a full service home improvement contractor with licensed and insured crews on staff for professional installation. If you choose to work with Hometown on projects ranging from window replacement to whole house remodels, you’ll enjoy working with an experienced team that has served the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area for nearly 30 years.
Stop by our showroom or contact us today for more information. You can also download your FREE Guide, Iowa Contractor Comparison Guide – How to Make Your Remodeling Project a Success for tips on hiring the right local contractor.