What You Should Know About Reading Reviews

How To Avoid Getting Scammed By A Contractor

Smart consumers already know how important it is to do your research before purchasing, especially when it comes to hiring a contractor. Contractors have developed a bad reputation over the years, and not many homeowners look forward to dealing with them. We live in the information age, and researching a company has never been easier. Although there is no guarantee that it won’t happen to you, knowing what to look for when doing your research can help you choose the right company and avoid a major hassle, or getting taken advantage of and losing money. Here are some tips to help you do your research and find the right company.

Where To Look For Information

There should be plenty of information about the company on multiple sites such as porch.com, yp.com, manta, etc. Do a search for the company on google, and see how many different websites list information about that company. If there are only a couple sites that mention the company, this is a red flag. Reputable companies who have been in business for a long time and served many customers over the years should have a larger online footprint.

Check With The BBB!

Although many people know this already, it is still worth mentioning. The company should be Accredited with the Better Business Bureau with at least an “A” rating. Why does this matter so much? Companies with an A rating have worked to earn it by taking care of their customers, and take their BBB membership seriously! Also, in order to keep their accredited status with the BBB, it requires paying a significant amount in annual dues. Legitimate companies who plan to be around for many years are willing to invest in a BBB membership. If a company uses the BBB member logo and says they are accredited, don’t take their word for it, go to the BBB website and verify! Although an A rating with the BBB is a good sign, it is not a guarantee that they are a legit company, so don’t stop there when doing your research!

How Many Reviews Can You Find?

This is the most important thing to research before hiring any contractor. If you can’t find any reviews about the company, stop right there and choose a different company! Contractors who have been in business for more than a few months should have reviews! Good sites to check are Google, Facebook, and Porch.com. These sites monitor their reviews, and do their best to only allow legitimate reviews to be posted. Owners are not able to remove negative reviews from these sites. Be thorough when looking at reviews, since companies can post fake positive reviews. As much as review sites try to filter out fake reviews, it is impossible to filter them all. With some sites like google and yelp, if you see a review that sounds suspicious, you can click on the username and see what other companies that user has reviewed and find out if they are local companies.

What Do The Negative Reviews Say?

It is nearly impossible for a company to have a 100% satisfaction rate, especially the longer a company has been in business. It is normal, and not necessarily a red flag, for a company to have a few negative reviews mixed in with a long history of good reviews. The important thing is to look carefully at what the negative reviews are saying. Have several customers had the same bad experience for the same reason? For example, are there three or four customers all complaining that the company will not honor their warranty or it has been a hassle to get them to come back and fix a problem? That is a good indicator of the service you will receive from that company as well. It is also important to read the owner’s response to negative reviews. Does the owner sound like he is making excuses, or does it sound like he is concerned and wants to resolve the complaint? One last thing about negative reviews to check – Is this a company who has a long history of good reviews, but the more recent reviews from the past couple months are mostly negative? This could indicate a problem within the company such as a change in ownership or something else, but it might be best to avoid that company, at least until they fix whatever issue they are having and start showing they have satisfied customers again.

Once you have found a few companies that you are comfortable with, call them and have them come out for an estimate (which should be free). Take the time to meet with the representative and ask a lot of questions. The representative should be patient and knowledgable without using high-pressure sales tactics. As you are doing your research and meeting with contractors, it will all come down to using your gut intuition. Choose the company that you feel the most comfortable with after meeting their representative.