Referrals are one of the best ways to find a good service provider. My business depends tremendously on our past clients and others who think highly of us and therefore refer us to people who need a good design/build contractor. Likewise our company also finds the trade contractors and suppliers we need by asking other people for referrals. But what if you do not know anybody to ask for referrals? Suppose you are new to an area and you just don't know anybody who has hired a contractor.
Or you can not find someone who hired a contractor that would they recommend. What options are open to you? Well, there are always the Internet, newspaper and yellow page ads. There are certainly lots of names out there. But how do you distinguish between the good and bad companies? Isn't it risky to hire a company out of the phone book to come and work in your home? You have heard so many horror stories and you don't want to have one one of your own! Isn't there some organization that contractors who are ethical and always striving to learn more belong to? Some resource that would be able to make referrals to you of members who provide the kind of service you are looking for and who work in the area that you live? A local organization that was part of a national organization, working to hard to give consumers like you a quality contracting experience wherever you live in the United States.
I am truly pleased to tell you that such organizations exists. If you are remodeling you can find referrals of reputable contractors at www.nari.org and www.nkba.com.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the premier organization representing remodeling contractors across America. NARI is more well-known in the East and Midwest. In those parts of the country hiring a NARI member is the norm because of the work the local chapters have done over the years. Members include general contractors, trade contractors, architects/designers, suppliers and others involved in providing services to homeowners. All NARI members are required to maintain the highest ethical standards in all aspects of their business. Continuing education takes place at the monthly meetings, which are open to members, non-members and the general public.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) provides referrals of contractors and designers that can help you determine the scope of your project, design it and build it. There are more than 40,000 NKBA members across the United States and Canada in 71 chapters/sub chapters across North America. Both NARI and NKBA provides remodeling contractor members the opportunity to be engaged in a formal education program, resulting in the individual member achieving several certifications and designations. The education programs are a rigorous procedure, involving much reading and a series of regular meetings and testing. One of the best aspects of these programs are that candidates get the opportunity to share experiences and learn from one another. The Internet has opened up a host of lists and blogs where homeowners can post reviews, stories and comments about service providers.
I tend to think that the best of these is Angie's List (www.angieslist.org). Companies on Angie's List are there because their customer's went to the trouble of adding them to the list and reviewing their service. A company can not pay or add itself to the list. Angie's List is not available in all areas of the country but it is spreading fast.
Also check into local services like the BBB or Diamond Certified to obtain information about a remodeling contractor. Diamond Certified conduct customer surveys prior to listing and also posts information about the contractor's general liability and workers compensation insurance. The information is out there, look and learn before committing to a relationship with a remodeling contractor.
Gary Belk has been designing and renovating residential property in California, Hawaii, Texas, Maryland, Central America and the Caribbean for over 20 years. He is also owner of Winans Construction in Oakland, California a design/build firm founded in 1978. http://www.winconinc.com