Need Help Finding a Remodeling Contractor? Start with the 3 Best Review Websites

Finding Remodel Contractor 3 best review websites 2 Sebring Services

A major home renovation project can be a dream come true or a nightmare that costs you more money than you planned. The contractor you decide to use will determine whether you have a great experience or lose a lot of money. A remodeling contractor is a company who can design, estimate, schedule & manage all the details of a complicated remodeling project.

The state of Illinois does not require general contractors to be licensed, bonded or insured. Because of this, many homeowners find it difficult weeding out the honest, reliable professionals from the fly-by-night companies.

One of the highest number of complaints filed with the Illinois attorney general’s office is against contractors. In other words, a high number of people end up very unhappy with the contractors they hire. There are many things that can go wrong — from the poor quality of workmanship, to not even finishing the project and disappearing with your money.

Sometimes the problems are not as obvious, such as a contractor using poor quality materials or neglecting to pull the correct permits and not building with-in local building codes, both of which can hurt or even prevent you from selling your home down the road. However, there are also plenty of honest, qualified, reliable, contractors in your town. As a homeowner about to undertake a remodeling project, it’s up to you to find one of the good ones. Online review sites have become the leading way for homeowners to reduce the possibility of hiring the wrong remodeling company.

1. Angie’s List

Finding a Remodeling Contractor: Start with the 3 Best Review WebsitesAngie’s List evaluates companies using a scale similar to a report card, with grades from A to F. Each company is rated by the following criteria: punctuality, quality, price, responsiveness, and professionalism. What makes this site unique to the others on this list is that it requires a monthly fee for membership. By requiring an email address, home address, and membership fee, this helps to reduce the amount of fake reviews.

2. Yelp

Finding a Remodeling Contractor: Start with the 3 Best Review WebsitesYelp grades companies based on a one to five-star rating system. It has primarily been used for reviewing retail locations and restaurants, but recently has become a more active site for reviewing contractors. Yelp is known for their proprietary algorithm that was developed to battle fake reviews. It evaluates whether a review is authentic and filters out reviews that it believes are not based on an actual personal experience with the business. Filtered reviews are moved into a separate area and not counted towards the businesses’ star-rating.

3. Houzz

Finding a Remodeling Contractor: Start with the 3 Best Review WebsitesAlthough Houzz is mostly known for its millions of images of residential interior design & remodeling, it also is a great source to find reviews on local remodeling businesses. Similar to Yelp, it uses a one to five-star rating system. What makes Houzz different is that you will not only find reviews from homeowners, but you will also find peer to peer reviews. This will help you get a sense of how the company is viewed by other businesses in the construction industry.

Finding Remodel ContractorThe Others

There are many review websites across the internet, all trying to provide the same thing. Here are few of the others and why they didn’t make our list.

The Better Business Bureau (or BBB) has been around for a long time. But because it only looks for the really bad contractors and scam artists, this it is not a reliable source to understand the good and bad of each contractor. I have heard they are trying to become more like the others on this list; my feeling is that they are late to the game.

Google review is powered by the number one search engine which helps it get more reviews. But I find that the others on the list above do a better job at it.

Facebook for business has an option for homeowners to write reviews as well. But like the BBB, unless the contractor is really bad, I find it less likely for a homeowner to leave a negative review. Because of this, you don’t get a healthy mix of negative and positive reviews.

Finding Remodel Contractor Yelp Sebring ServicesHere are my 10 best practices in reading online reviews:

  1. Lean towards companies that have received a lot of reviews. The more reviews, the more likely they are not fake.
  2. Likewise, be more careful with companies that have only one or two reviews.
  3. If you can’t find a review for a company, don’t hire them. An established reputable company will have past clients that want to leave online reviews.
  4. Look for specific people or processes that helped make the contractor so great. When you meet with the contractor ask them about the specific people or process. Make sure they can elaborate.
  5. Look for a common theme to all the reviews. If a number of reviewers offer the same opinion about a quality of the company, this gives the opinion more validity.
  6. Some review sites have the option to add photos of the project. If a reviewer takes the time to do this, it will give the review more validity as well.
  7. Pay more attention to reviews that compare a contractor to another one they have used in the past. Comparative reviews indicate that the reviewer likely has more experience and can be more relied upon.
  8. When you see a bad review, look at how the contractor responded to the negative feedback. This is a great example of how the contractor will respond to your criticism in person. Were they apologetic to the client, did they have harsh words or did they even respond?
  9. Yelp’s filter commonly removes legitimate reviews, especially for remodeling contractors, so I strongly recommend clicking the “not currently recommended” link at the bottom of the page. I think this will be eye-opening for you… good or bad.
  10. You will find mostly positive reviews on Houzz, so look at these reviews more based on the quantity of reviews, rather than the quality of negative and positive.

The bottom line: Do your research! The more thorough you are in the process of hiring a contractor, the less likely you will be to hire the wrong company. Don’t forget, Help your neighbor out! You can help with the online review process yourself by writing informative reviews that describe in detail benefits in easy-to-understand language. For more help learning about contractor review sites or how to find a trustworthy contractor for remodeling, download our free Remodeling 101 E-Book or contact us today.

 

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About the Author:

" We are very passionate about educating homeowners. From design ideas to hiring a contractor, we hope this blog helps you in the process of remodeling your home. " ~ Bryan Sebring

24 Comments

  1. Jenkins Leroyson October 26, 2015 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    These are some great tips to help you find a general contractor online. I like your suggestion about finding one that has a lot of reviews. That way you can get a better feel for the type of service you’ll get. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Deanna R. Jones November 11, 2015 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    I usually read reviews for contractors and companies, but I have trouble knowing if a comment is legitimate. Your tips to read sites with a lot of reviews will help make it easier to find a good company. I’ll take your advice to stay away from companies that have very few reviews about them to make sure that what I’m reading is from real people who have used a contractor’s services. Thanks for the tips!

  3. jamesrod214 December 11, 2015 at 12:26 am - Reply

    That’s a good idea to look at all of the review of the remodeling company. I want to find the best company, because I want my home to be one of a kind! I’m going to look for common themes, because they usually tell the story of the company. Whether it be good or bad.

  4. Jason Strong January 4, 2016 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    My wife and I want to get the process of building our home underway. We aren’t sure how though since this is the first time we are doing this. We figured that a good place to start is talking to a general contractor. This article has some great points that I think can help us figure this out and finding a good one.

  5. Kaley Maskell January 24, 2016 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    This is really attention-grabbing, you are an overly skilled blogger.

    I’ve joined your feed and have shared your website in my social media networks.

  6. John January 27, 2016 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    Great post. I am facing some of these issues as well..

  7. Aurora Ricker January 29, 2016 at 11:38 am - Reply

    I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.

  8. Nash Rich March 22, 2016 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    I thought this was a really good list of things to keep in mind when doing your research. I think spending the time to find what you need and what is best is always worth the time investment. I’ve read a lot of reviews on countless things, and reading up on things with tons of reviews both good and bad, are a great place to start. So I agree with that. Also, with a little practice, you can start to tell what fake reviews look like.

  9. Jeff Curtis March 25, 2016 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Thanks for the help with finding the best contractor for a remodel. I am planning on doing a fairly large remodeling of my current home and this really is handy. I will have to use these sites you provided to review some of the local contractors and see if any stand out. Also thanks for the info-graphics those are some easy ways to see what you mean.

  10. Charles Kemp April 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    I don’t think I have ever thought to use Yelp to help find a contractor. I will have to try that because it does have reviews and there are probably a lot of businesses that I could work with. I like that there are a lot of ways that you can find the right contractor for the job.

  11. Braden Bills May 13, 2016 at 7:48 am - Reply

    I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to renovate my home. I didn’t even think about hiring a remodeling contractor! It’s a good that there’s so many resources to find them. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Sarah Smith June 21, 2016 at 11:30 am - Reply

    My husband and I are remodeling our house. Thanks for the tip on looking at the better business bureau and getting some companies from them. I’ll also have to make sure to find a general contractor to help us organize everything so that we can get the house of our dreams.

  13. Sarah Smith July 19, 2016 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    I just moved into a house and need to finish the basement. Thanks for the advice about how you should look for specific people in the company that helped make the contractor great. Hopefully, I can do some research and find a great contractor to help me finish my basement. Another thing you want to do is to make sure that the contractor is insured.

  14. Siaosi August 3, 2016 at 7:35 am - Reply

    Knowing about the process is some really good advice. I would also know exactly what your price range is when you begin. This way you know if you can add more or if you need to cut back on your plans. Thanks for all the advice.

  15. Brooke McAvoy August 31, 2016 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    It’s super helpful to read so much advice for finding a professional online. Our world is online right now, and life can be difficult if you don’t know how to navigate cyberspace effectively. Looking for pictures of previous projects would be a good sign of a valid professional, I’ll be sure to look for this. Thank you!

  16. Laurie December 14, 2016 at 9:03 am - Reply

    I typically will ask friend and family for recommendations first on who they have used. I then will check reviews and the BBB to see if there is anything that stands out – good or bad. Great tips, thanks for sharing!

  17. Robert Pattinson March 9, 2017 at 1:56 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing!

  18. Jade Brunet March 10, 2017 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    It is good to learn more about what to know when it comes to hiring a contractor. I am glad to learn that some review sites provide pictures that can provide a better feel of the quality of work of the contractor. I have heard that word of mouth is another great way to find a quality worker. Friends and family would be happy to tell you about their experiences.

  19. Annika Larson May 18, 2017 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    My husband and I have been wanting to remodel our master bathroom for some time now. As we prepare for this project, we want to ensure we find the right contractor to help with this. As you said, different states have different licensing requirements, so it can be a good idea to use online reviews to find someone reliable.

  20. Jalu Sakti September 17, 2017 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    I liked your tip to look at how the contractor responds to negative reviews online. If you did that, you could see exactly what went wrong with that person’s remodeling project and how the contractor handled the situation. If they take the time to respond to each complaint, you will know that they really care about what their client’s think and how satisfied they were with the services. I”ll have to check for this so we get a good remodeling contractor for our project.

  21. Raisa Delima September 21, 2017 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    That’s a great tip to use Yelp and Angie’s list. I think those are great sites for finding the best remodeling contractors because you can see reviews on them. We will try that out in ours search for a contractor to remodel our master bathroom.

  22. Jensen Mott September 23, 2017 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    I hadn’t ever thought to look on Yelp to find good remodeling contractors! I’ll have to try that and see what reviews I can find for the ones in my area. Thanks for giving me this idea!

  23. Becca Holton October 16, 2017 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I appreciated how you expounded upon what to look for in reviews. It makes sense why it’s better to lean toward companies that have more reviews. This will be helpful when I begin my search for a contractor for the renovations I want to be done.

  24. Callum Palmer April 19, 2018 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    I think it is pretty awesome that you give some advice on how people can interpret the reviews for different contractors. After all, a remodeling contractor will be in charge of redesigning your home, so you want to be careful when choosing them. It’s particularly great that your article suggests looking for any specific processes that were used by the contractor.

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