Where do you turn when you start looking for a contractor? Let me guess, your friends and then the Internet. This holds true for most people. In fact, statistics show that more than 50% of users begin their search for a local business online. But how do you evaluate those construction business websites, and what criteria do you use? Are there indications that can help you put a contractor on your “Get a Quote” list and others that can put them on the “Do Not Call” list?
Here’s what homeowners need to look for on a website to help determine a company’s credibility:
- Clean Design and Messaging: Yes, you often can judge a book by its cover, or in this case a website by its design. Clean design and clear writing demonstrate a company’s professionalism and attention to detail. It shows that someone at the top cares about the experience a customer has when interacting with their brand. It reveals that they have invested in the growth of their brand and their company. It shows they have a plan and the follow-through to deliver it to you. To some companies, a well-thought out construction website design may be a forgettable detail or even an irritant – to others it is a powerful business tool that helps them reach their customers. Who would you prefer to work with? Someone who is organized, can build a plan, and execute it? Or someone who doesn’t pay attention to the details? After all, building a website has some distinct similarities to a building a home.
- About Us Info: This is one of the most important pages on a construction website, because it tells you about the company’s history, the owner and the team. These are the people you will be trusting with your major life asset. A credible website’s About section includes information covering:
- The people behind the products and services
- Background and experience of the principal members
- The history of the company and their work philosophy
- Reasons why you should consider contracting with the company
If the About section tells you nothing beyond where to find the company premises and shows a picture of their office, it doesn’t help to build a picture of their credibility.
- Useful Information: The value of the information on a website speaks volumes about the intent of the contractor. An ethical construction contractor will have no problem sharing process related information with you, such as:
- How do they work with clients?
- What are the steps to starting a project with them?
- What is their system of reporting back to you?
- How do they bill?
- What style of project management do they use?
In other words, how accountable are they to you?
- Projects: Of course, you want to know about the projects a home contractor has done before. That’s why it is so important for the website to contain a portfolio with photos and details of completed projects. This helps you evaluate whether the contractor has the right skills to take on your requirements.
- Reviews: Keep a keen eye peeled for testimonials from former clients – especially if the clients are identifiable by their name and/or their photo. A website that includes brief video clips of real clients speaking about their experience with the company is even better. There are all kinds of review sites out there such as Google, Houzz, Facebook and Yelp, for example, look around and see what people are saying.
- Third Party Validation: Sites like this one—Renovation Find—vet construction companies for you. They investigate things like legal background, credit, customer complaints, BBB reviews, insurance coverage minimums and more to save you from making a mistake. Look for badges from various services that have considered the company and given their seal of approval.
- Memberships, Associations and Certifications: Being a member of their professional association is a good sign that a contractor is active in building good business and within their community. Displaying their memberships, associations and certifications demonstrates to you that they are in touch with their industry and not gathering cobwebs in old building practices.
- Awards: Awards are usually given to members of associations by the association. It recognizes their commitment to their trade and validates their work to consumers.
- Contact Info: Contractors are busy people. They handle an amazing amount of information and communication in a day. If you contact them, make sure that they communicate back with you efficiently and effectively. The website should provide several ways for you to interact.
There is a lot that goes into evaluating a home contractor but hopefully these tips can help ensure that your next selection is the right fit for your project. These are perfect scenarios and we live in the real world, so you might not find a checkmark next to everything on this list. Look for a spirit of good communication and investment in the client’s experience. Look for a contractor with a great construction website design.