A few weeks back we talked about which home improvement projects are DIY-able, and which are better left to the professionals. Whether for safety reasons or because you just don’t have the time or skillset to complete a project, sometimes you’re just better off hiring a trained handyman.
But just because you find a plumber, contractor and electrician through a quick Google search doesn’t mean they’re top-notch. After all, you’re inviting this person into your home to handle a tricky, possibly even dangerous project. Are you choosing the right guy or gal for the job? And if so, are their prices worth the money? These are tricky questions, especially if you’re new to homeownership and have yet to find your go-to maintenance team. To help soothe those home repair anxieties (and hopefully maximize your budget) we’ve pulled together a list of five ways to investigate your home help’s experience and price points.
You’ve probably seen an Angie’s List ad on TV, a billboard or in your local newspaper. This membership service compiles consumer ratings and reviews of local service companies and contractors. The site includes details about pricing and professionalism on a variety of services, from movers to painters to plumbers and everything in between. Angie’s List charges an annual fee for consumer membership, and all reviews are verified to filter out spam and fake reviews.
You know Yelp as the restaurant review app, but what you might not know is that it’s also a handy tool for analyzing businesses in the home improvement field. To get started, head to Yelp’s homepage and type in what you’re looking for along with your zip code or city. You can sort results to show the best match for your search, the highest rated or the most reviewed services. Businesses are ranked using Yelp’s traditional five star system along with an explanation from the reviewer and contact information for the business.
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau is a century-old nonprofit organization that focuses on business reliability ratings for the benefit of consumers. If you’re looking for a home improvement specialist, navigate to your local BBB chapter site and search for the business name or category of service. You’ll see a list of businesses that meet that criteria, and each listing will indicate whether this is a BBB accredited business, along with a business grade on a scale from A to F.
Ask Your Neighbors
This research method has been around the longest, and it’s oftentimes the most reliable. Whether you’ve just moved into a new neighborhood or have been there for years, it’s helpful to pop by your neighbor’s house and ask whether they have any trusted recommendations for the service you’re seeking.
Ask Your Online Network
If neighbors are scarce or they don’t have a go-to plumber or contractor, you might want to give a shout out to your social network. Sending out a quick tweet or Facebook post asking for home improvement team recommendations can yield a long list of results. Just be sure not to share too much information about your home situation online.
For more tips on DIY maintenance, check out our full Home Improvement Budgeting series.