What about Association Memberships, Online Reviews or Business Bureau type ratings?
Frankly Memberships in Trade Associations only indicate that their check cleared when they joined the Association.
Commercial Rating or Review Companies such as the BBB or services like Service Magic or Angie’s List may be only slightly better. We’ve found it possible to buy improved positioning on almost all of such lists, and even with some services; one can pay to have negative reviews removed.
Plus there are now numerous online services that one can hire to post fake reviews on the various review sites; So one can’t always trust the highest reviewed or rated companies.
What about online services that say they have “pre-screened” the contractors?
We personally have gone through this process with several such services and have declined to participate (pay) in any of them. We’ve found that they often simply on rely little more than a phone call for verification and then trust that the person they are talking to is who they say they are and is telling the truth. While they may verify basic insurance coverage and legal status, there is little more actual “Screening” other than the contractor’s check or Credit Card is good. Plus some of these services charge incredibly high rates for each referral or lead, costs that must be passed on to the customers.
The best option is to actually check references or ask your trusted friends and acquaintances who they use. Look for length of time in business; there is probably a reason a business survives for decades in a community.
Check their web pages;
- Do they let you know their business address? then verify it (google maps)
- Do they let you know who the company ownership is?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have a “Brick and Mortar” commitment to the community?
- Where is the ownership located? it may be far more difficult to reach the owners of a national or regional Franchise
That being said; memberships in local and national trade associations such as the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA),the International Window Cleaner Certification Institute (IWCCI) the Home Builder’s Association, The local or State Chamber of Commerce, etc. Are of some value, in that they may show a company’s effort to be involved with the local business or industry community and learn the newest and best methods to provide continually improving service.