In addition to more traditional means (Yellow Pages, word of mouth, etc.), today’s homeowner has abundant options for finding a reliable contractor (online directories, referral services, review sites, social media).

BuildZoom, a consumer service that analyzes and ranks contractors, set out to discover which of these options consumers rely on most. Its survey of 571 homeowners, titled “How Consumers Hire Home Improvement Contractors in the Digital Age,” found that:

Consumer decision-making has three phases: discovery, evaluation, decision.

Consumers who say they are highly satisfied with their contractors are more likely to have considered inputs from multiple sources during the research and evaluation stage of the process.

Of those sources, personal referrals rank well above (80%+) other methods, such as the Better Business Bureau (36%), Google (30%), Yellow Pages (18.6%), Angie’s List (16.7%), and ServiceMagic (10%).

The Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List are the most trusted third-party consumer resources, ranking ahead of the Yellow Pages, ServiceMagic, and Craigslist.

Feedback from ratings and review sites plays a more important role earlier in the process (discovery/evaluation), with references and work samples being more important leading up to the final hiring decision. More at

—Ingrid Bush, managing editor, REMODELING.

More REMODELING articles about contractor selection:

You Are What They Read — A buyer’s guide helps make your company the obvious choice

The Gift of Knowledge: Educating Homeowners About What to Look for When Selecting a Contractor

Marketing Shift — Marketing to the new remodeling client