It’s never easy to find a good contractor. Unless you’re choosing to work with a person you’ve hired before, your home improvement project will be a gamble. The person you choose to hire might appear perfectly fine, only to start showing troubling behavior halfway through the project. Or they might decide to charge you more than you originally agreed for no apparent reason. Or they can choose to not pay their subcontractors, leaving them with no choice but to activate the homeowner’s lien. These horror stories are worst-case scenarios, but they are something every homeowner needs to consider when hiring a contractor.
At the same time, the Internet has made it very easy for us to search for contractors. There are plenty of websites where they can offer their services. There are also more than enough places where you can check out their reviews. But is it worth it? Could you find a good contractor online?
Knowing Where to Look
First, you need to understand that if you want to find a contractor online, you’ll be able to do it. People and businesses are using the Internet to find customers. Even those that can’t sell products or perform services for you online will have an online presence. So, you won’t have any troubles finding contractors.
There are several different places where you can look for one. Social media, especially Facebook, will work. Google+ is a must for any business that wants to rank well in local search results. For businesses, it’s called a My Business page, and it’s convenient because it also allows users to leave reviews. Of course, contractors can have their own websites. And there are also specialized websites that were created to bring together contractors and potential customers.
Is It Possible to Gauge Quality Online?
You know there are plenty of ways you can find a contractor online. The real question is whether it’s possible to gauge the quality of a contractor’s workmanship online. And that’s where things get a bit tricky. Most of the places where you can find contractors will offer some kind of proof of quality. A My Business page will have reviews. If you go to an online contractor marketplace platform, you will be able to find ratings left by people who hired the contractor through that platform.
But contractors don’t have to include reviews to their websites. Or if they include testimonials, you can never be sure they haven’t been written by a professional copywriter, and not a real customer. Websites that serve only for reviews can be tricked. This severely undermines their trustworthiness. But then again, if you see that a contractor invested money in a good website, you might conclude they are serious about their work. And not all reviews on review websites have to be paid reviews.
What’s a Good Contractor, Anyway?
Another set of problems might come from your idea of a good contractor. If you expect someone to remodel your whole house and to be willing to work for peanuts, think again. You have to be willing to pay for quality work. If you just want to pay the least possible amount of money to get the job done, then it’s unlikely you’ll ever meet a really good contractor.
This means that, when looking for an online contractor, you should know what a good contractor is for you. Then again, that’s the same advice you’d be wise to follow when looking for a contractor offline. And, just as when looking offline, you need to find concrete evidence of the contractor’s ability to do their job. That includes licenses and references, and maybe even contact with their subcontractors.
So what’s the bottom line? It is possible to find a good contractor online because there are good contractors online. There are clear signals that will help you find one. On the other hand, your willingness to do research, to ask important questions before hiring, and to pay decently for good work might prevent you from finding a good contractor. It takes work to find someone who works well.