How to Find a Contractor on Houzz
For some people, having a good set of contractors on speed dial is as important as having a good doctor, accountant, or lawyer. If you’re fortunate enough to be one of those folks, or at least know somebody with a good contact list of contractors able and willing to tackle a variety of jobs, and most importantly do so at a high level of workmanship and service, you’re already one step ahead of the game when it comes to any construction project, big or small.
For people without that knowledge, finding a contractor can be a daunting task. Recommendations are always a great place to start, but if those get exhausted, you might find yourself in a really desperate situation. Relying on historically shady internet advertisements on websites likes Craigslist seems like a bad idea, and simply searching google for “tile contractor «enter your city here»” might put you in touch with contractors that are either savvy enough to be a high search result, yet the question would remain how good their work actually is, or even worse, connect you with contractors that are spending a lot of money to advertise online and passing a lot of those marketing costs through to their clients.
So what’s a homeowner to do that just desperately wants to redo their avocado green bathroom or replace their 1980s brick fireplace with stacked stone but can’t even seem to get started by finding someone to work with? Enter Houzz – a social network that combines design and products and can be useful in bringing together clients and contractors. We often recommend Houzz as a good starting point for our clients when they don’t know a contractor to do their installation. Here’s a step by step process on using Houzz to find a professional contractor for your next project:
Right in the middle of the main navigation banner on all Houzz pages you’ll find a link to “FIND PROFESSIONALS”
By selecting the “FIND PROFESSIONALS” button you’ll be prompted to answer a simple question “What service do you need?” and provide your zip code. For our stone veneer panels and interlocking tile products we tell our clients to enter “tile setter” to yield the best search results.
Read the contractors overview and look at the services they provide to make sure the type of work you have planned is something they have experience doing. We tell our clients that have selected our stacked stone veneer panels to look for someone that has worked with “stone” or “natural stone” before to ensure they have experience working on the types of products they’ll be installing for you.
Look at the number of overall reviews and the quality of each review. The more quality reviews the better. Be leery of any contractor with a 5 star review, but not much detail in the reviews themselves – they might have just asked their family and friends to rate them on Houzz to build up their ranking.
Each Houzz Professional can also post pictures and describe projects they have completed in the “Projects” tab of their profile. This is a great chance to visually see the quality of their work but also the level of projects they have worked on in the past.
Check for industry certifications in the pro’s profile that would indicate they are knowledgeable in certain fields. A good certification to look for with a tile setter is the Tile Council of North America’s (TCNA) Certified Installer certification.
Look for Houzz badges on the pro’s profile, like “Best of Houzz Service 2017”, which indicates they’ve received enough positive reviews in their area of expertise to be deemed “best of” by the good folks at Houzz.
Understand if the professional you are reviewing is a contractor specializing in the specific area of expertise that you are in need of, for example “tile setting”, or if the result is more appropriately identified as a general contractor who has experience in a variety of different construction phases and needs, but might not be an expert in the field you are looking for. Depending on the scope of your project, you might just need an expert, or a more general style contractor could work as well.
Once you’ve found some professionals that you are interested in speaking with, take down their phone #s and give them a call to get the process started, or you can even send a preliminary message right through Houzz by selecting the “Contact Me” button on each Professional’s profile. Use your own method (notebook,spreadsheet, etc) to keep track of who you’ve called, talked to, and are waiting for a callback from, and set a date out in the future to review what you’ve learned speaking/ interviewing each contractor, compare estimates, and hopefully select the contractor for your next project.
Houzz is a great tool to increase your chance of finding a quality pro for your next project. The social aspect of this network is designed to weed out inexperienced or bad contractors by the review system, so if you do end up finding and hiring a pro through Houzz be sure to help strengthen the community be leaving a detailed and honest review. There are lots of different ways to find a good contractor, and some of the best are fairly elusive, not needing to even have a houzz profile because their work speaks for itself and they stay busy by word of mouth alone, but in the absence of that “unicorn” contractor that just doesn’t seem to exist for your project, check out Houzz as a good resouce for finding your next pro.