First Things First
We like to have a direct, personal connection with our customers. We understand that cost is important but if your main goal is to get the cheapest service possible we are probably not the right choice for you. Lead generation services like Home Advisor and Angie’s list are all about creating an environment for the lowest bidder. While that might make sense if you are buying a commodity like steel or paper towels when you are buying a service the lowest price is often not the best value.
So we do not pay for Home Advisor leads or pay attention to sites like Yelp or Angie’s List. Sites like that make the process too impersonal and we pride ourselves on our top notch customer service, getting to interact more directly with our potential customers feels more genuine and more ‘us.’ After all, we’re more than just a listing on a web page.
So What About Those Review Sites?
Sites like Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor do have some benefits, especially if you’re a new company just starting out and you need to get your name out there. We don’t begrudge any contractor who chooses to be listed there, paid or not.
Find Us on Angie’s List
We do have profiles on these sites so that people who might not look elsewhere for contractors know we exist, and we sincerely appreciate every positive review a client writes for us. Customer feedback is important; however, these sites often only post positive reviews for home improvement specialists who are paying members, which we are not. One reason we don’t pay for their services is that we aren’t afraid of getting negative reviews, so we have nothing to hide. We feel it’s important to be transparent with potential clients.
In light of that, it seems like most contractors that we talk to are not fans of Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor (which are now owned by a single company since the two merged in 2017) in general. The largest issue seems to be a conflict of interest between how they service homeowners and contractors. They are trying to make money from both sides and this is a difficult thing to get right while still being fair to all parties.
One of the more common complaints that we’ve heard from other contractors is that the sites really don’t vet people at all and are biased towards those that pay for their services. You can get negative reviews that are unfounded, which is bad for business. More importantly, they don’t check to see if contractors have proper licenses, so a licensed contractor may end up bidding against non-licensed people.
Another note is that a lot of photos on these sites are stock photography and not from actual contractor job sites. In the context of an online profile referral site, this can be misleading.
So How Do You Find The Right Contractor?
So what’s the best way to find a good contractor or tradesman for your project? There are a few ways I think can work well, you may want to combine a few of them.
Asking in Online Neighborhood Groups
Most neighborhoods in Tallahassee have a Facebook Groups or other networks like Next Door . They are great for local neighborhood news, selling or donating items, and asking for contractor referrals.
A Google Search Process
Not all contractors have websites but many of the better ones do. Try to make your search specific for your needs. “Kitchen remodeling contractors in Tallahassee” is better than “remodeling contractor” as it will narrow the results and be more relevant. Be sure to avoid all those home advisor paid ads and spammy posts at the top of the results. Look for actual local contractors.
Don’t just click the link and call. Take some time to explore the website. A good website should answer a few questions for you:
- What does the contractor specialize in? Does that match your needs? You don’t want to hire a new home builder to remodel your kitchen, they may not have the right kind of experience for working in an occupied home.
- Do they work in my area? Are they based in Tallahassee?
- Are they Licensed and Insured? You can also verify licensing on DBPRs website.
- Do you like their work? Explore their project gallery and check out their recent work
- Do you like their process? The website should outline their estimate and design process, how they manage projects etc..
Call Us or Another Well Known Contractor For A Referral
We want to make sure you get the right contractor for your project. Often times we are the right choice but if not we are happy to refer you to one of our trade partners. I think most of the better contractors in town would do the same.
The More You Know
Just in case you didn’t know, as a homeowner you can usually run your own search on state licensing websites to see if a contractor is currently licensed. But should you really have to do that if you’re already a paying member of either of these sites? It’s worth mentioning that even if someone is licensed and insured they may not be tomorrow, so without follow up by the platforms, you won’t always know what you are getting.