Answers to other questions about finding the best in home services in your area!
Owning a home is part of the American dream. The pride and sense of security that come with property ownership is the culmination of hard work and planning, so it is no surprise that most homeowners consider their house to be the most important investment they make in their lifetime. And eventually, we all will probably pull up a google search for “Plumber Near Me.”
Of course, buying a home is just the beginning of a long-term commitment because maintenance and upkeep are part of the deal. Homeowners can expect projects like installing a new shower, not to mention emergencies that arise, such as replacing a malfunctioning water heater, repairing a leaking refrigerator, or fixing a broken pipe.
Unless a homeowner is good with their hands and has a lot of knowledge and experience in home repair, they will have to plan on hiring contractors throughout the occupancy of the house. The question then becomes, what is the best way to find an honest and trustworthy home services contractor? For someone who is new to an area or even a long-time resident, this question can be daunting.
Most of us go right to the internet and select service providers based on reviews, but is this a slam dunk? Sometimes, the legitimacy of online reviews can be questioned, so let’s look at some fundamental issues regarding online reviews for home services contractors.
Plumbing and Heating Services Reviews
Like any set of data, reviews are subject to interpretation and analysis. Naturally, the larger the number of reviews there are, the higher the chance of determining an accurate qualitative score. Also, comparing reviews from several different sites, such as Home Advisor, Yelp, or Google, should decrease the margin of error in the result. What this means is that an average review score of four stars from 100 reviews is more accurate than a four-star average from 50 reviews.
Negative reviews are helpful if they are limited to mature, constructive criticism, and if they are responded to by the business being reviewed. When looking at negative reviews, be wary of individual reviews that may come from someone with an axe to grind. Make sure to consider whether what the reviewer is posting sounds legitimate compared to others. Every business has the occasional misunderstanding or just can’t meet a customer’s high expectations (in many cases, NO company can…). The review could be coming from someone who is by nature a malcontent, or worse, an unscrupulous competitor of the business under review.
The opposite of this is the dubious practice of review padding. Review padding occurs when friends, family, employees, and so forth post glowing positive reviews for a business to boost its rating. This activity may be well-intentioned, and the company may be deserving of the praise, but review padding is unethical and affects the accuracy of the overall score. A suspicious (and comparatively small) number of excessively positive reviews should be taken with a grain of salt.
Another source of information about home repair service companies is the well-known Better Business Bureau. Contrary to what most folks think, the Better Business Bureau is not as impartial as they appear. The BBB is a pay for play system. Unless a business is paying the BBB an annual accreditation fee, clients of that business are not able to post positive reviews- but they can post negative ones. Also, companies that do not pay the BBB cannot defend negative reviews, that privilege is only for paying customers.
Thompson and Thompson recommends Real Time Reviews, that is making a fast name for itself as the most accurate review site out there. The reason for the interest in this site is that only verified customers can place reviews. Review requests are sent directly from the service provider to the customer when the work is complete, and the customer’s review then posts to Facebook, Google and other sites related to the industry in question. This approach guarantees genuine reviews from real customers, thus solving the issues of review padding and false negative reviews.
HomeAdvisor, Yelp and Angie’s List are all fine review providers as well- and may we add that it helps everyone if you write thoughtful reviews of products and services that others will want to know about. Don’t just leave reviews when you’ve been burned!
Big national HVAC and Plumbing companies or smaller plumber near me?
The advent of big box stores has somehow bled into areas such as plumbing and heating so that people mistakenly believe that a large national corporation does a superior job compared to a locally owned business. This belief could not be farther from the truth, however.
Locally owned businesses have a stake in their communities because their customers are all in a limited geographical area. These companies tend to rely more on word of mouth advertising than online reviews. Referrals for local service businesses come from friends, neighbors, the guy who owns the coffee shop in town or a teller at the bank. Locally owned businesses cannot afford unsatisfied customers, because a negative review comes in the form of conversation at the diner or the local tavern, all which which strengthens their commitment to superior service.
The Single-Source Advantage
Calling in the services of a variety of providers is not only costly and time-consuming, but the results can be inconsistent, and there is a security issue when multiple tradespeople are coming in and out of the home over the years, yet most of us call this plumber, that electrician, and a completely different HVAC company. What if they were all rolled into one?
It makes sense to us that there should be a single business that can address multiple issues within the context of home repair. The ideal company is not a handyman or jack-of-all-trades, but a licensed and insured business that has the diversity of skilled personnel and experience to address most any issue that can arise in a house, such as plumbing, HVAC, and electrical- even appliance repair and cleaning! Also, from a financing perspective, the ability to bundle the costs of multiple projects saves money.
Trust in your plumbing services
The most critical factor when hiring a home repair business is trust. Homeowners want to feel comfortable that they can put their faith in not only the quality of the work but also in the people entering their house to complete the task at hand. There are times when tradespeople are left alone in the house while working on a job, and no one wants to worry about what a stranger might be doing in the home unsupervised.
The solution is to find a reliable and trustworthy home repair business that a homeowner can develop a relationship with over the course of their occupancy in a house that is completely familiar to a home services company. There is comfort in a relationship with a go-to service provider that has become a familiar face in the home. When a problem arises, or a project needs completion, there is no question of whom to call. If there’s something broken in the house, one phone call or email takes care it.
Ideally, a home services company is locally owned and active in the community in ways such as sponsoring the local Ronald McDonald House (like we do!) or holding a fundraising event for a community charity in need. This type of company has been in business for years and will know the intricacies and nuances of the home they service in ways that come from experience. When considering a home services company like Thompson and Thompson, start a conversation, and ask some questions. Look at the company’s social media pages and see what others in the area have to say about them.
The bottom line is that a locally owned home repair company will provide a level of service that is reliable and reassuring. Just as most folks find their doctor locally, they should find a home repair service that is local as well because both are important to a family’s well-being.