Can you trust 3rd party reviews and how you can substantiate their claims.
One hot topic when it comes to choosing the right remodel contractor to work on or improve your Indianapolis area home is 3rd party reviews. For the consumer, it is benefit to have such services provide reviews from past customers. But, can you trust them? In some ways yes, and in some ways no.
For the scrupulous consumer the answer is probably somewhere in between. Yes, definitely,you should take into account reviews you read on the internet from 3rd party review companies. Examples of such companies include Angies List and Customer Lobby. Other’s include yahoo and google reviews. All allow the collections of reviews from past clients of remodeling companies, including those in the Indianapolis area. But, NO you shouldnt take everything you see on reviews as truth.
If you go out on the internet and search for the above companies, you will see a few consumers that love these sites and some that may dispute the accuracy of their reporting. Perhaps the most important is Angies list in which consumers pay a subscriber fee to review and research potential remodel contractors and other service professionals. The big deal with Angies list is that a contractor cannot pay to be listed and reviewed on Angies List. That is left to the consumer. However, a contractor can pay to advertise with Angies List. Admittedly, Gettum Associates does pay to advertise with Angies List. We find it as a way to place us in front of more consumers looking for an honest contractor to complete their work. Does it mean we are awarded jobs simply because we advertise? NO. Absolutely not.
For customer lobby, it is free for a consumer to read reviews about potential contractors. However, a contractor must pay fees to collect and list their reviews. An other unmentioned collector of reviews is Guild Quality, which will also poll and place reviews for a contractor, for a fee. The only “free” place that I know of that accepts and posts consumers for free is google and yahoo. Both allow those with a accompanying e-mail address to rate and review those they hired for services, such as home remodeling.
So, how do you know, as a consumer, whom to trust and who to stay away from? Thankfully, most reputable Indianapolis area remodel contractors in business for a good length of time derive a large base of their clients from referrals from past clients. As much as Gettum Associates and other high ranked Indianapolis contractors continually advertise and tout their services for a fee to an advertiser, we always have an equal or greater number of a client base that can back up our claims of exceptional work, great customer attention and service after the sale. A reputable Indianapolis based home remodel contractor should always be willing to provide you a list of recent, past clients in which you can contact direct.
Sure, all reviews are subjective as are the referrals in which you should expect your prospective contractor to provide you. It is afertall, how we stay in business….by making people happy. Your friends, your neighbors, etc. However, you should always ask the tough questions: What went well? What went right? Which areas could be improved upon? Don’t feel bad about asking those questions. You have a large investment at stake. But also dont be overhwhelmed in answers in which you deem negative.
You should expect an honest assessment to include what went wrong. After all, this is remodeling investment. You can and should expect some issues to crop up. Many are out of your contractors hands, and even if during the heat of the moment, you dont see it as that. Yet. they are issues that come up and have to be dealt with. It’s not always our fault, your original siding was installed correctly and allowed water to sit on and rot your wall sheathing. That is a good example, but relevant. It’s more important to ask HOW the issues got solved. Were they solved in a timely and beneficial manner to both parties? Were they thoroughly explained to you as such? Were the extra costs involved, if any, explained in a satisfactory manner? Was a proper change order signed and accepted by all parties? By the way, this is a sign of a good contractor: One in which that places such issues in writing in how they will be handled, both in execution and in payment. For more information, in how to chose a great contractor, see our guide, “6 mistakes to avoid when selecting a contractor“.
In summary, consumer review websites are a GREAT resource for initial planning, contact and review. But, be sure to follow up those claims with a list of past client contacts from the prospective home remodel contractor. From there, give them a call. Feel free to ask the tough questions then make a decision based upon their feeling, how they were treated and their comfort level with the contractor. After all, this is your home. Do your best due diligence in whom you should trust working on your home.
If you have any questions about home improvement and remodeling in Indianapolis, give us a call or send us and email. If you would like to have a no cost, no obligation discussion about your next project Click here.