You’ve got something around your house that needs fixing. As capable as you are, this is something you know that you can’t do DIY style. There are often a lot of choices out there for contractors and it’s really hard to know who to pick from the dizzying array of options.
Hiring a repair contractor sounds easy enough, but then doubts and fears start to roll in about whether they are trustworthy or charging a fair price or going to do the best job . . .
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we are a small business that has been a part of the Bryan-College Station community for more than 35 years. We ARE a type of repair contractor. So we are pretty opinionated on who makes for a good choice in contractors and who might not and can share some insight with you on this topic.
No matter what kind of contractor you are looking for, a few rules of thumb can help you find one that can take good care of you. This article will cover 4 tips to cover in your search for a home repair contractor of any kind. Let’s get started . . .
Before Starting Your Search for a Home Repair Contractor
This is just a little pep-talk here to encourage you on your quest to find the perfect home repair contractor for you and your home. It’s important to do some deliberate research. Don’t take bringing someone into your home lightly. Your home is your biggest investment and you want someone to take good care of it.
Your home is also your haven, your bubble of safety and security. You don’t want just anybody poking around in there. You want someone you can trust and it really should take *a wee bit* more effort than calling the first company you hear about.
You don’t want to unwittingly put yourself in a situation where you feel pressured or unsure. So put yourself in a position of power instead and get prepared to do a little *homework* to find a good home repair contractor.
4 Steps to Hiring a Great Home Repair Contractor
Going through these 4 steps should help you gather some good information on an array of contractors available to you. Do all 4 steps in order.
Just don’t skip any because each tip offers you an essential piece of the puzzle to form the big picture of a contractor’s ability to provide you with service that meets your standards.
1. Survey Your Friends and Family
The opinions and experiences of friends and family can be really helpful for finding who is good as well as who to avoid in selecting a contractor. Do you have any sensible friends and family members in the area?
C’mon admit it, not all your friends and family members are sensible, are they?
Ask people you really respect and trust for advice and suggestions. But don’t stop there because this is a very limited pool of information to draw from. It’s a good starting point to begin your journey but should not be the only step you take in your research.
2. Ask Other Trusted Contractors for Recommendations
Contractors are probably the toughest customers and biggest critics of other kinds of contractors. So if there is a contractor of any kind that you trust, ask them for their opinion on contractors in other service fields. If you have an electrician that you like, then they might be able to suggest a great plumber for you too that they use themselves.
3. Take Advantage of Internet Reviews and Information
The great thing about the internet is that business reviews have been embraced and are available for all to see. The practice of customers leaving reviews is extremely helpful to the rest of us and many enlightening details can be discovered.
People love to leave reviews if they are very satisfied and will often give very specific details and information that can reveal the nature and good qualities of a company or contractor. They will go out of their way to say nice things if they are very satisfied. So any business that has detailed reviews and high *star levels* is a good sign that they are making lots of people happy.
People will also go through great efforts to leave reviews when they are unhappy. It’s really helpful to see both positive and negative reviews for companies. You can usually get a very good idea of a company’s reputation in the community through internet reviews.
Here are a few places to look for reviews and reputable companies:
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Angi (formerly Angie’s List)
- Next Door or other neighborhood-style apps
I honestly wouldn’t use Yelp reviews for finding a contractor. While that app is good for restaurants and hotels, I don’t think it’s a great source for contractors because not enough people take part with it in that way.
Accreditations and Memberships
Speaking of the BBB, here’s one thing to note about this service. The BBB lists ownership, reviews, and reputation information about companies whether they are BBB accredited or not. So you can see a letter grade rating for any legitimate company and see the name or entity that owns the company. The listings also note where they are headquartered and how long they have been in business.
Then you can also see whether the company is accredited with the BBB or not. Going through the effort to become accredited means that the company has paid extra for the service of being, “screened by the BBB and held to a higher standard of customer service, transparency, and ethical business practices.”
Membership in a city’s Chamber of Commerce is another listing that takes effort and expense on the part of a company. Chambers often have some type of membership directory for any business that has chosen to join and paid the fee to participate. Yes, any business can pay the fee and get on the list, but joining a Chamber listing tends to signal a business’s dedication to the local area and intention to “stick around” and support the community.
4. Check Out a Company’s Website and Social Media
Once you have gathered a list of companies by asking your close contacts and searching online reviews, you can now go to a few individual websites and check things out.
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but in today’s web-based world it’s hard not to do so. You might see a new website or one that looks like it is stuck in the 90s. Don’t think that every flashy and totally updated website is all that you are looking for here though. An emphasis on people and building relationships can be felt in a website and social media presence, so look for that over pure aesthetics.
Look for clues like:
- Clear, local ownership
- A physical office or legit mailing address
- A reasonably professional website with a functional way to get in touch
- Upfront and transparent pricing information
- Highlighting employees, customers, and values
- Social media that has recent activity
Home repair contractors and companies don’t need to have the fanciest of fancy websites. But it’s a red flag if you can’t figure out who really owns the company, they have an out-of-town phone number yet “claim” to be local, or it’s hard to get in touch.
Social media activity is nice to see, but it also doesn’t have to be perfect. If you see posts within the last month or weeks, that’s good. But something that looks like it got put up and then abandoned 3 years ago might give you a clue about their attention to detail and commitment levels.
Social media will have a reviews section too, but sometimes these can be less informative with less widespread participation. Social media reviews could also just be personal friends of the business owner attempting to increase the rating numbers. So take a look at them, but take them with a grain of salt.
Identify Your Main Goals to Select the Best Contractor For You
You’ve gathered company names through recommendations and vetted companies by reviews, memberships, and internet presence. So maybe at this point, you have a handful of companies or contractors that you are considering. How can you narrow it down further?
This is where you have to stop thinking about these companies and contractors and think about yourself. What do YOU want in a home repair contractor?
For some people, the most important thing is cost. You want to get out of it having spent the least amount of money. For others, it’s that you are getting the best quality: the best method, the most qualified workers, the best materials.
And for still others, you want someone you can trust to tell you whether you really need repairs or not, not someone taking advantage of your lack of knowledge or experience. It could even be that you just need the job done quickly because you are working on limited time or you just want someone local that you can track down later if there’s a problem.
So think about the very most important thing you want in a repair company and two other less important qualities. Then see if you can identify a contractor or company that meets your top priority and if you’re lucky, you can find one that meets at least one of your other priorities.
You will rarely find a company that *has it all* because something usually has to give in order to meet the priorities, budget, timeline, or values that you have in mind. We like to say that there is no one best service out there (because they all have advantages and disadvantages), but there is one service that best matches up with your needs.
What Kind of Home Repair Contractor Are You Looking For?
We don’t have any idea what kind of home repair contractor you are looking for, but this article should help you no matter what variety you seek. We actually also have some articles that offer recommendations for other types of services, like:
- Drainage Contractors
- Gutter Contractors
- Arborists & Tree Removal Contractors
- Plumbers for Under-Slab Leaks
- Flooring Contractors
At Anchor Foundation Repair, our greatest service to the community is as a voice of trust and our entire business model is built on it. We’ve been helping Brazos Valley homeowners with their foundation repair needs since 1985 and aren’t going anywhere.
Let’s say you’re looking for a foundation repair contractor instead of one of the other services listed there. We’ve got an article to help get you started with, “Foundation Repair Contractors: Avoiding 4 Top Problems of Hiring One.”
Please note: No actual contractors were harmed during the making of this article. Because frankly, I don’t think any of the guys in these pictures are real contractors. I am only making fun of our amusing choices in stock photography, not making fun of any actual contractors. Hope you had as much fun as I did . . .