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Will County Pioneer Press

Service Takes Hassle Out of Finding a Contractor

                Whether you are a business owner or a homeowner, you have probably experienced the frustration of trying to get a contractor to work on your property. From waiting for a returned phone call to having a quality job performed and completed on time, contractors have earned a reputation for not being the most customer-friendly industry. Unfortunately, a few contractors can help perpetuate this reputation, even though there are plenty of respectable companies out there. But how is a property owner to know which company to choose? The Home Improvement Network is a service that takes some of the ambiguity out of finding the right contractor for your job.

                “With one phone call to our service, property owners can get three free estimates for their particular job from respectable contractors,” explains Pete Thomas, owner and founder of the five-year-old company. “We have prescreened all the contractors in our network, so property owners can be pretty certain they won’t get the runaround.”

                According to Thomas, the top three complaints from property owners who need to hire a contractor are that they don’t get their phone calls returned, the contractors don’t show up, or the contractors say they are too busy to take on another job at the time. The Home Improvement Network tries to only include contractors who are reliable and available.

                “I worked for a painting company when I was in college, so I was very familiar with the difficulties in the industry,” says Thomas, “I had more work than I could handle because I always called the customer back and showed up on time. Eventually, I decided I would start my own service which would help homeowners get the service they needed, and at the same time provide good leads for contractors who want to work.”

                The Home Improvement Network has over 350 contractors available throughout the Chicagoland area and southeastern Wisconsin in countless trades, including remodeling, painting, flooring, woodworking, siding, windows, landscaping, fencing, healing/cooling, and architecture, among many others. And many of the contractors work on both residential and commercial properties.

                The contractors pay a fee to become members of the Network, but Thomas says he will only accept contractors he has screened and interviewed. “Before we put a contractor on the list, we check out their insurance and references and make sure they are available,” Thomas states. “We also insist on meeting with them in person to interview them because we understand that the services they will be providing are very personal to the property owners.

                “Another added benefit to the property owner is that we monitor our contractors while they are members. If we get a lot of complaints, they might be removed from the network, and if a property owner calls us with complaints, we will help arbitrate the situation, hopefully to everyone’s satisfaction. The Yellow Pages certainly isn’t going to do that if a property owner chooses a contractor from them.”

                Contractors pay a fee to The Home Improvement Network based on the number of referrals they can handle in a month’s time, the minimum number being ten. Thomas says the service is very valuable to contractors, as well, because it provides them with a guaranteed marketing source. As a form of advertising, the money spent to be a part of the network is very cost effective.

                When a property owner calls the Network, they almost always get to speak immediately with a person, who briefly interviews them about what kind of project they are going to be doing. The Network then finds three contractors who would be able to handle the job, each of whom then calls the customer back to schedule a free estimate.

                Since each contractor knows that he or she will be one of three estimates, the customer also often gets the added benefit of lower prices than they might otherwise get. The final decision rests with the customer, who can choose the contractor who best meets their needs and with whom they feel the most comfortable.

                The Home Improvement Network is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and requests can also be submitted by e-mail through the Network’s website (www.findaremodeler.com).

                In many cases, contractors hear about the Network through conventional advertising or at home shows, such as the Will County Home Show held last spring at Lewis University, and decide to join after they complete the screening process. At other times, Thomas says he actively seeks out contractors to fill gaps in certain trades within the Network. Regardless of how they become part of The Home Improvement Network, contractors have a definite advantage in being a member, especially if they are actively seeking work but might not have the skills they need to successfully market themselves.

                “Many contractors are small, mom-and-pop businesses,” notes Thomas. “They might have worked in a trade and decided to start their own business, but they often don’t have the business sense needed to really be successful. By joining the Network they are referred only to customers who have jobs they can handle. In a sense, we prescreen the customers for the contractors as much as we prescreen the contractors for the customers. Many of these small businesses get overbooked very easily, though, and don’t need more work. Thus, they don’t even bother returning phone calls for new jobs. These businesses can’t be part of the Network, so customers won’t be frustrated by the contractor’s lack of response.”

                By using The Home Improvement Network, both property owners and contractors benefit from the services the Network provides. “With the Network, property owners are less likely to choose a bad contractor, and they have someone to turn to if there are problems,” concludes Thomas. “They might even get lower estimates. The contractors get access to clients who need their services, so everyone wins by using The Home Improvement Network.”

                For more information or to contact The Home Improvement Network for your three free estimates, call (800) 553-1810 or visit the website at www.findaremodeler.com




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