Questions to Ask When Considering a Contractor Referral Website

Who is paying? Check the FAQ section of a referral website to see if the user pays or if contractors pay to be listed. Typically, if a contractor pays to be listed, he or she can pay a premium to appear closer to the top of a search.

How many reports are there? While no site can have comments about every contractor in every trade in town, the good ones will have at least a few contractor options for each trade in your area. Be critical of the reports and ask yourself if they provide useful information or just the company’s contact information.

Are the contractors licensed? Most reputable sites only list contractors that have licenses and insurance, but both of these can expire without the website administrators' knowledge. Always ask for a contractor’s paperwork and run it against your local or state licensing board's current list of contractor licenses.

Do the contractors offer a bid in person? Though some standard projects, like installing an outlet or replacing a toilet, do not require a preliminary visit, a legitimate contractor typically will not bid on a large project without seeing it in person first.

Trade Association Websites:

Also helpful in your search for contractors are trade association websites. Among these are:

National Association of the Remodeling Industry: Find a NARI-certified remodeler by entering your zip code.

National Kitchen & Bath Association: Find a NKBA-certified kitchen and bath designer by entering your zip code.

National Association of Home Builders: Find an NAHB-registered contractor using the directory of professional remodelers, with plenty of good information for anyone starting a project.

Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association: Find a contractor registered with the PHCC by punching in your zip code.

National Roofing Contractors Association: Find a contractor registered with the NRCA by punching in your zip code.

National Electrical Contractors Association: Find a NECA-registered contractor by zip code.
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