By Russell Cazeault

The World Wide Web just turned 30 years old this past month. The iPhone and mobile tech arrived in 1997. The internet has completely changed how we do business.

One of them is finding and hiring contractors.  Aside from personal recommendations, it used to be that people turned to the yellow pages to find a contractor.

All that has changed with the internet.  Here’s a look at some of the ways people are using the internet to find and hire a contractor:

Craigslist:  Craigslist is great for buys and selling stuff. As far as hiring the people that post ads looking for work are usually either just starting out or they are moonlighting looking for side work. They often do not have the proper insurance. Because they are just starting out, they also tend to lack the proper equipment for performing more complicated jobs. The cost is generally lower, but use caution when going this route.

Google: Probably one of the more widely used. Need to be aware of the differences of the results.  While Google is ever-changing, the search results consist of paid ads and natural search result. Someone who comes up in the natural (or Organic) listings are general the more established companies. The sponsored listings are basically paid ads that tend to look like and blend with the rest of the listings.  Again, to be playing here can be costly, so they companies represented are generally better established. You do also tend to get some national companies here as well as lead generation services (see below)

Service Matching Companies:  Companies like Home Advisor will often run ads and offer to find you a prescreened contractor. You Fill out a form and answer a few questions.  However you should be aware of how these companies operate. They typically sell leads to a number of contractors at a cost that ranges from $40 -90 per lead. And they often give the same lead to multiple contractors. They do have a screening process, but it’s lacking in some areas. The contractors checked to make sure they have insurance. The weakness falls in the ability to check on the quality and caliber of the work being performed.

Associations: Most trades have an association with a website that will have a member directory.  For us there is the National Roofing Contractors Association, NorthEast Roofing Contractors Association., and the Cape Cod Home Builders Association.  Usually when a company is involved with an industry association, it illustrates professionalism along with improvement and commitment to education.

Manufactures and Suppliers: Both of these sources will have the names of companies that use their products with a successful track record. If a warranty or guarantee is involved, Manufactures generally have a designated process for becoming and approved applicator and there is a vetting process that helps weed out bad contractors. Local suppliers generally have a good pulse of the market and the installers and what projects are best suited for them.

Friends and Neighbors: The original and best way to find a good company you can trust. See who your friends and neighbors used and what sort of experience they had.

Due Diligence.   Once you have found someone you think is a good candidate for your project it’s time to reach out and schedule a consultation to see if they are a good fit.

Russell Cazeault is the owner of Cazeault Roofing in Osterville, MA.  He can be reached at  508-428-1177 or russell@cazeault.com.