The Pitfalls of Using ‘Review’ Websites to Help Choose Your Building or Remodeling Contractor

Review Website WarningYou’ve seen them online, and the ads on TV. Use their website to get reviews before you hire a builder or remodeler (or a doctor, dentist etcetera). Their “list” can save you lots of headache, the ads claim.

But how do these sites really work in helping you — or is there more to it?

I recently worked with a client who was very enamored with a particular lady’s “list” site. The client was concerned that there were no reviews of our company on this list. Not every client will take the time to do an online review, even the ones who are over the moon with their project. They don’t want to be a member to do so or don’t have the time.

When I meet clients who ask me this, I remind them that online reviews are only part of the equation in a full investigation they should undertake prior to hiring a contractor for any size project. Sadly, too many people rely completely on the reviews of these types of sites.

List members can review anyone, and there are millions of reviews that might be helpful. However, it is important to note that you have to pay a membership fee to be able to post the reviews, and only paid members have access to posting reviews and seeing them as well.

Before you put too much weight on the online reviews, keep a few things in mind. First, not every great building professional will have a review there. And, while the reviews are likely the genuine opinions of happy homeowners, many are “rewarded” to do so with free list memberships or other incentives.

And if you have a business, you may be receiving a call too to get you to be an advertiser on their site — and you’ll be disappointed to find that the advertisers are promoted to readers first, regardless of their level of positive reviews. A little unfair advantage, perhaps?

So take it with a grain of salt and do the real homework of meeting and checking into several local contractors for your project.

Talking with real clients and being able to ask specific and targeted questions will get you much farther ahead in choosing the right professional for your project.