Consumers prefer contractor referrals

A national survey of homeowners who have hired contractors for home improvement projects showed a strong preference for personal recommendations, with 42 percent using a contractor they found through a family or friend. Another 28 percent hired someone they had used on previous projects, while 7 percent found contractors through the Yellow Pages.

Retailers who provide installation services were utilized by 7 percent of the respondents. But overall, respondents gave home improvement stores low marks for project satisfaction. Only the Yellow Pages ranked slightly lower when comparing project satisfaction to how the contractor was found.

"Surprisingly, those who used a home improvement store-provided contractor did about the same as those who used advertising as the way they found their contractor,” said Fred Miller, president of Consumer Specialists, a marketing consulting firm based in Germantown, Tenn. He noted that independent referrals got the highest satisfaction ratings from survey respondents.

The full study, called “In the Beginning,” looks at how homeowners approach the critical starting period in home improvement projects and what resources they utilize.

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