Judging a Book by Its Cover: What to Look for in a Construction Website
What’s the first place you go to when you need to find a contractor? Typically, you start by asking family and friends for referrals, and then go check out the websites of suggested companies. Or perhaps you use a search engine, and click through on the results that come up to see what the companies are all about? You’re not alone—statistics show that more than half of all users use this as a method of finding local businesses.
Once you land on a contractor’s website, however, how do you determine whether the company is a good fit for your needs? What are the things that make you short-list one contractor over another?
Here are some tips to help you know what to look for and how to determine whether a company is credible or not.
1. Professional Design: Having a great website is more important than you may think. Sure, you aren’t hiring a home contractor for their web design ability, but that’s not what it’s about. A professionally designed website with comprehensive information and good attention to detail shows you a company cares. It shows that your experience as a potential customer matters to the business owner, and that he (or she) has made an investment in their brand and company.
A good website also shows that the company has a plan and a method of working, and is willing and able to spend the time and money to deliver on it. For many homebuilders a construction website is a pain, but to those of us in the know it’s an important communication tool to reach prospective and existing clients. Who would you prefer to be working with? A company that has the organization ability to develop and execute a plan, or one that shrugs off details like having a professional online presence?
2. Solid Company Information: The company info on a contractor website is important, so be sure to look for it and read up on the history and background of the business and the team. After all, these are the people you want to be able to trust with your biggest investment. Some things to look for are:
• Bios of the owner and key employees detailing their experience in the industry
• How the company started, when and by whom
• Reasons why the company might be a good fit for you
If a website doesn’t have an About page you might have to look for it under another name, but if the information is missing or it isn’t detailed enough, it’s worth wondering whether the company is transparent about who they are and what they do.
3. Project Portfolio: One of the first things potential clients want to see when checking out a contractor for hire is whether the company has done similar projects in the past. This speaks to a knowledge of the requirements of the job, and provides evidence of experience in a particular field. It’s important to look for a list of completed projects on a construction website, so you can get an idea of the scope of the company’s ability.
4. Client Testimonials: Most construction companies have client testimonials somewhere on their website. It’s good if these are detailed and are from clients identified by name. You can also search on the name of the company and the word “Reviews.” This usually brings up a list of results on websites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, BuildZoom and Houzz, where clients may have left online reviews about the contractor.
5. Displayed Credentials: A contractor who displays affiliations such as the Better Business Bureau and association memberships on the website is showing his credentials. With the number of fly-by-night homebuilding companies around, it’s vital to know that you’re giving access to your home to someone qualified to do the job.
6. Third Party Validation: There are third party validation services like the Better Business Bureau They investigate issues such as legal history, credit rating, client complaints, BBB reviews, insurance coverage minimums and more to help you avoid choosing the wrong contractor. Look out for the seal of approval from any services that have evaluated them.
7. Contact Info: Homebuilders and other contractors are often extremely busy and difficult to make contact with. The website of a quality company should offer you various ways to get in touch with the people, ranging from email through a telephone number and possibly even a contact form. Be sure to provide all the information needed for them to get hold of you as quickly as possible.
There are many factors involved in choosing the right home contractor for your project, but we hope these tips will help you to evaluate companies based on their online presence. It’s not always possible to find a perfect match, but if you choose a contractor with good communication skills and an interest in the customer’s experience, you’ll be well on your way to a positive outcome.
Thanks for reading!