Spring is synonymous with warming temperatures (in theory), greater daylight hours, and community association enhancement and repair projects.
Choosing the right contractor for your association project helps the job remain on time – and on budget. So, how DO you choose the best contractor for your project?
A good start is a quick search on The Better Business Bureau website using a term specific to your project and general metropolitan area. This will likely produce a long list of contractors, many of which have a rating of “A+” according to their standard rating system. Let’s be conservative and say only ⅓ of those companies are contractors who can actually do the work you need done (excluding residential contractors or wrong industry). So the question remains, how do you choose the best contractor for your project?
Proximity to your project is important. Given the opportunity, every one of the contractors on your list would gladly travel as far as necessary to complete your project. You have the ability to see where each of those companies are located, however, so tighten up your Google search radius to only those companies within a reasonable distance from the property that needs work. For instance, if you are looking for paving contractors, search something similar to “paving contractor near me” or “paving contractor near Roselle, IL” which will ensure the result is providing you a contractor that can offer you their best pricing because they don’t have to account for the additional travel. Shrinking your sample size based on location should limit the number of contractors to choose from and enable you to get a better sample of competitive proposals for the work. Google searches also include a rating, 1 star to 5 stars, based on the Google reviews each company has received. Be wary of the ads at the top of the screen as they are from contractors who have paid for that ad space regardless of proximity.
For property managers who have developed a relationship with an existing contractor who has successfully completed other community association projects for them-your time is valuable-so lean into that relationship to ensure you are getting the quality you know you can rely on. However, if you need to reach outside of that relationship, be sure to pay attention to not only the rating of the review but the number of reviews as well as the content.
ONLINE REVIEWS: WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR?
Although it may seem obvious, the Google rating is a great place to start your list. In other words, if you find a contractor with dozens of positive reviews that amount to 4.5+ stars, you have found one worthwhile to consider. The alternative is also true, if you come across a contractor with dozens of negative reviews that amount to 2.5 stars … you know to steer clear.
The content of the review is important. In addition to the rating, be sure to take into consideration the content of the reviews. Details found in a review can make it evident a contractor is better geared for a certain type of project. For example, if you see a plethora of reviews that read, “ABC Paving paved my driveway and I couldn’t be happier. It’s the nicest in the neighborhood!” This probably means you have found a really good, residential driveway contractor. Could they pave your entire community in a reasonable time frame? Maybe. A quick search of the their website will indicate whether or not they would be capable of working on your community association paving project. Online reviews have dramatically diminished the time in which it takes for companies to qualify as a reliable contractor. Customers tend to be most honest when they can go online and provide reviews, rather than to the person who just completed the project. This is a great advantage for you as you now have the opportunity to weigh the good with the bad and make the decision whether or not it makes sense to get a bid from that contractor.
What if the company doesn’t have any reviews? Look for customer reviews on their website; if you can’t locate any reviews in either place, move on to the next contractor on your list.
WHEN SHOULD YOU BE THINKING ABOUT YOUR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION PROJECT?
Typically, the winter months tend to offer the best advantage for securing competitive pricing for your association project. Unfortunately, necessary tasks such as board reviews and permits can stretch the timeline for a project to be approved. My suggestion, as a paving contractor, is to get a jump on the process as soon as possible and receive all the benefits of having the project planned and on the schedule of a positively-reviewed, professional contractor you can rely on!