7 Signs That a Home Improvement Contractor Isn’t Reputable!

7 Signs That a Home Improvement Contractor Isn’t Reputable!

After years of saving and planning, you’re finally ready to renovate or build the master bath, kitchen or house of your dreams! But, all of the excitement (not to mention the money you saved) will go right out the (newly installed!) windows if you don’t research and vet the contractor you hire for the job carefully. Screening a home improvement contractor is a lengthy process but below are a few tell tale signs that a contractor you’re interviewing may not be the right guy for the job: 1. You can’t verify the name, address, telephone number or credentials of the remodeler. 2. They’re pressuring you to sign a contract. 3. They knock on your door unsolicited and say that they are doing work in the neighborhood. 4. No references are furnished. 5. You’re unable to verify their license or insurance information or it’s expired. 6. They ask you to pay for the entire job in advance. 7. Your questions are not answered to your satisfaction or you’re given vague answers....
A Good Man (Contractor!) Isn’t Hard To Find

A Good Man (Contractor!) Isn’t Hard To Find

After 19 years of operating my Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business, I (humbly) consider myself an expert on the art of finding a good contractor. The number one complaint I hear from homeowners nationwide is that a “good contractor is hard to find”. Believe it or not, reliable contractors do exist–it’s simply a matter of knowing where to find them and, more importantly, how to screen them.  Whether you’re planning a large home improvement project or need to hire subcontractors to handle small repairs around your home, below are a few strategies to help you find a contractor you can trust. Where to find them? When looking for a contractor, many homeowners ask their friends and family for recommendations but in my experience, getting a contractor referral from another tradesperson is far more reliable. While your friend may have been satisfied with a contractor he/she used once or twice, their project may be very different from yours. Trades people (i.e. contractors, painters, plumbers) deal with other contractors repeatedly, over a long period of time and in a variety of projects. In my opinion they are therefore in a better position to offer a contractor referral. And, if a recommended contractor tells you that he’s too busy to take your job, ask him to refer you to one of his colleagues who may be suitable. How to screen them? Once you’ve found a potential contractor for your job, ask the contractor for the names and phone numbers of three to five customers for whom he has completed a similar project in the past two years. This will make it more difficult...
Which Services Do Homeowners Use To Find Contractors?

Which Services Do Homeowners Use To Find Contractors?

I’m often asked about how a Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business competes with online contractor lead generation services.  While it’s true that today’s homeowner has abundant online options for finding a reliable contractor, no online service can compete with a personal recommendation from a trusted source.  But you don’t have to take my word for it. BuildZoom, a consumer service that analyzes and ranks contractors, set out to discover which option– Web directories, review sites, local referral services and social media sites—homeowners rely on most when hiring a contractor. Its survey of 571 homeowners, titled “How Consumers Hire Home Improvement Contractors in the Digital Age,” found that: Personal referrals rank 80% higher than any other resource for finding a contractor. One of the questions asked in the survey was “What methods do you use when trying to find a home improvement contractor?” and results were as follows:   Overwhelmingly, the most popular resource for finding a contractor involved “asking someone I know” categorized in the graph above as “personal referral” which includes local referral services like a Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business. While the internet is an amazing resource for information and research, it can’t replace the value of a personal recommendation when you’re inviting someone into your home and investing in one of your greatest...
A Contractor's Perspective:  8 Questions To Ask Homeowners Before You Start a Kitchen Remodel

A Contractor's Perspective: 8 Questions To Ask Homeowners Before You Start a Kitchen Remodel

Blame HGTV.   When today’s homeowners envision a kitchen remodel, many imagine working alongside hunky remodelers who transform their space in less than a month, with only small glitches along the way that are quickly resolved.   While remodelers are grateful for the business these shows generate, they could do without the unrealistic expectations they create. “Homeowners need to understand that this is not a TV series where we’re doing this in 26 days. It’s a major process. Everything takes more than one day, and it take multiple meetings to get it right,” says Mark Brick, president and owner of B&E General Contractors in Glendale, Wis.   Brick and other remodelers agree the most successful kitchen remodels require consistent conversations with clients throughout the process. To get that conversation started, here are eight questions to help ensure homeowners understand the reality of a kitchen remodel—and that you want to work with them:   1. What’s your financing? In the last year, banks have become less willing to approve home equity loans, one of the most popular financing methods, says Sarah Henry, general manager and owner of Seattle-based Gaspar’s Construction, a 2014 member of Remodeling’s Big 50. Henry says many homeowners assume they are approved before they even have an appraisal. That can hold up a job, or even put the kibosh on it. “We’ve had two projects fall through this year because homeowners couldn’t get the money they needed.” She says this is also a good time to talk about payment schedules—and make clear when the project is deemed completed.   2. What’s your budget? Not every kitchen remodel...
Announcing Aging-In-Place Referrals!

Announcing Aging-In-Place Referrals!

I’m pleased to announce an entirely new market niche for the Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business…Aging-In-Place Referrals!   The senior market is the fastest growing sector of our economy and there are more than 100 million Baby Boomers and their parents who will need home modifications and/or repairs in the upcoming years.  The HRN business is positioned with a unique business model to serve this growing need!   I personally identified this market niche after 15+ years of serving aging homeowners in my community who need to maintain and/or modify their homes and–on a more personal level–as I struggled to help take care of my elderly parents in their home several thousand miles away.  Seniors, more than any other market segment, need to be sure that they can trust the contractors they hire and finding a contractor referred through an HRN is the best way to ensure their safety.   To launch this new phase of the HRN business, I’ve spent the past several months rewriting the HRN Manual to included valuable information on how to assess the needs of seniors, aging in place contractor licensing designations, strategic Aging-In-Place marketing campaigns, ads and more!   And, we’re launching a brand new website www.aginginplacereferrals.com to help aging-in-place contractors and senior homeowners find local HRN owners operating across the country.     Aging-In-Place Referrals adds an entirely new profit center for HRN owners while providing a valuable service in the community!   Be one of the first to launch an Aging-In-Place Referral Network and capitalize on this up and coming trend in the home improvement market!...
Bad Reviews for Angie's List

Bad Reviews for Angie's List

Without a doubt, the question I’m inevitably asked the most when discussing my contractor referral business is: “Oh….are you like that company Angie’s List I see on TV?“ And it always makes me laugh.  The truth is, I started Home Remedies®, my Homeowner Referral Network (HRN®), years BEFORE Angie’s List every hit the marketplace and, while our two businesses may appear similar at first glance, we’re very, very different. First and foremost, the contractors I represent can’t pay to be referred.  Angie’s List accepts advertising from contractors which immediately comprimises their reviews. Second, while my HRN® business serves as a reliable referral source for local homeowners, I also act as an outsourced sales and marketing force for reputable contractors and therefore represent their best interests.  One of the biggest complaints from contractors about Angie’s List is that they have very little recourse when a homeowner writes a bad review. And third, my revenue model is success based.  I get paid when the contractor gets paid which means it’s in everyone’s best interests, to find the right contractor and get the job done to the homeowner’s satisfaction. Over the years, I’ve heard from hundreds of contractors nationwide who are wholeheartedly disatisfied and frustrated by Angie’s List which is why the following article didn’t come as any surprise. Read on and form your own opinion.  As a homeowner, would you trust an online review or would you prefer a referral from a local, trusted, unbiased source? Should Remodelers Try to Kill Angie’s List by Boycotting It? Reduced ratings, increased criticism have left the ratings/referral service vulnerable By: Craig Webb To Our Readers:...