Contractors – Who can I trust?

Seasoned real estate investors and newbies face the same challenge in finding reputable contractors that will show up and do quality work at a reasonable price and timely manner.

Referrals from friends, relatives or business acquaintances tend to be the most common way to find a contractor.   This can be a time consuming process and results may vary in terms of the contractor’s performance on your project versus the work they did on your friend’s project.

The cyber world has brought us a couple of options that bring some credibility to finding a trustworthy service provider.  These services have leverage over the contractor’s performance based on you being empowered to provide feedback and ratings of their performance.

Both Angie’s List and Build Zoom have web sites that help you find contractors, but more importantly, they solicit ratings of the contractor’s performance from the people who use them.  This provides an incentive for the contractor to perform and make things right on each and every project.  Their reputation can mean higher ratings, which equates to more business for them!

Angie's List

Angie’s List has been established for the longest and is the largest of this type of service.  Companies or service providers can’t pay to be on Angie’s List, but are added by a member.  The member reports their experience with a business and provides a rating that is added to their list.  Reviews come from real people that use the service.  Since leads are the lifeblood of a contractor’s business, they do not want to risk the impact of negative ratings on Angie’s List.
Build Zoom

Build Zoom has a similar model, but has not been in business as long and is not as large as Angie’s List.  However, it is focused on the home pro and contractor industry and in addition to reviews, provides information on the licensing status of the service providers.  The site also provides photos of examples of work completed in some instances.

Keep these sites in mind when choosing contractors.  We always recommend three quotes for each project.  It may take additional time to schedule appointments, but will more than pay for itself in terms of the quality, timeliness and potentially the cost of the repairs or renovations.  Three quotes will also make sure you are not missing items and prompts questions and ideas.

One of the negative aspects of these sites could be cost.  The highest rated contractors are typically going to have the greatest demand and can command a higher rate for their services.  Minimizing costs on projects is important.  However, the savvy investors know how to factor quality and timeliness into the value equation to maximize the profitability of the project.  Examples of factors that could make a more reliable and slightly more expensive option more valuable is when contractor A is $1,000 cheaper, but is an unknown quantity and ends up taking 3 months longer than the more expensive option or does poor work that requires you to get it redone.

The sites mentioned in this article may be helpful in identifying reputable contractors.