There is no perfect way to search online for a contractor and do your diligence after that but here are some helpful ways that we recommend.
1) Google search
Try a number of different searches in Google. Try using “builder”, “contractor” and even construction. Change up the description of the item you’re hoping to have built. If you are looking for a patio, try looking up “paver patio” and also hardscapes. After doing a little hunting, you should find a good list of contractors to investigate.
2) Visit their website
The first thing you always want to do is visit the website of a prospective contractor or partner. Give their website is a gut test. Does the website look like it was put together by a relative who had a few hours to spare? Is their website professional and educational? Look for testimonials on their website and see what others have to say. Also, spend some time looking through the pictures on their site to see if their work is similar to what you’re looking for.
3) Read online reviews
There are a number of places where you can get reviews on contractors. As you can imagine, some review sites are better than others. You want to look for review sites where their reviews are controlled exclusively by the consumer and not open to manipulation and fakery. This is often the difference between a verified site and free site. Here in the Kansas City metro market, many of our clients come to use through Angie’s List. Angie’s List members supply detailed reviews on the contractors they’ve done business with. These reviews include the dollar value of the project, a letter grade, descriptions, and often times pictures of the job. Look for contractors that have the Super Service Award. We are particularly proud of the Super Service Awards we’ve been awarded through Angie’s List over the years.
4) Check out their BBB
It’s good to take a look at the prospective contractors rating on the BBB website. Look for accredited companies with an A+ rating on the BBB. The BBB takes into account the length of time the company has been in business, whether there are any complaints and other factors. We recommend you make sure that any contractor you are considering has a minimum of an A- rating.
5) Talking to references
Ask the prospective contractor for references that you can call and visit. Find out what work that company did for them and how happy they were with the end result. Ask them specifically what were the positives and negatives of working with that contractor. Then, we strongly encourage you to visit one of the jobs in person. It’s a lot different to stand on or in a structure and touch/feel the various aspects than to just look at pictures.
6) Talk to lumber yards and suppliers
Look for lumber yards that specialize in supplying deck and porch material. Go to a commercial reputable lumber yard. To find one, look for one that specializes in deck supplies. Here in KC, ours is Kansas City Deck Supply. Ask the lumber or supply yard about the reputable contractors. The lumber yards will know. The suppliers can also speak to some of the other factors such as whether the contractor is easy to work with, polite, etc.
7) Spend a lot of time with the contractor
Have you ever talked to a prospective contractor only to feel like you might be taking up too much of their time? If you feel this way, it’s probably because the contractor is showing signs that they’re ready for you to make a decision. Make sure they have time to speak with you, have interest in your project, and can answer your questions knowledgeably. Contractors who don’t have the interest and time to spend with you before you build may not have the interest and time to spend with you while you’re building.
If you are considering adding to your backyard, give us a call for a free consultation. We will walk you through the choices and considerations so you get the best project for your needs and wants.