When searching for a contractor you will undoubtedly find that many claim to be the most competent in the application of their craft. But how do you really know if the claim is true when so many make the claim? Here are a few ways to make that determination.

With the introduction of the internet, homeowners have at their fingertips the ability to locate and learn about various contractors with little effort. What they learn on websites however is only that information that the contractor wants them to know which may or may not be factual. With this, many homeowners have turned to contractor review companies for guidance. With the proliferation of businesses such as Angie’s List, Yelp, Home Advisor, Consumer Checkbook and many others, homeowners have at their fingertips information about a particular contractor as made available by other homeowners who have employed the contractor. With this, many homeowners feel that they are making the best possible decision when they finally select a contractor. This is not necessarily the case!

Most contractor review companies allow contractors to pay to advertise on their sites. One has even made the claim that they do not allow “contractors to pay” to be on their list and yet another reserves the first listings on their site for those companies who pay to “advertise” with them. With this knowledge, how do you know what you are really getting in a contractor? There are a few things to look for with the most important being the overall grade. On Angie’s List, we carry an overall grade of 95% with 484 total reviews which is the highest number of reviews in the Washington Metro market. The number of total reviews is important in that it shows the “exposure” of a particular contractor. If a company has a higher rating than us but has only 12 reviews, then they have not been “exposed” to a point where an honest determination can be made. The next item to look for is the total number of top contractor awards a particular contractor has been awarded on a particular site. As is the case with Angie’s List, we are the only contractor who has been awarded the “Super Service” award each and every year since 2007 which is the first year that Angie’s List actually reviewed us. No other company in the metro area has this distinction.

Although we present at the top on all contractor review sites there is one site in particular that is the epitome of what a contractor review company should be. Consumer Checkbook! This organization does not now, nor have they ever, allowed a contractor to advertise on their site. Nor have they ever accepted a single penny from any contractor in order to influence their review system. Consumer Checkbook is the one site that is 100% free from outside influence in their rating system. As you may have thought, we are rated as the top tree care company in the Metro area on this site as well. With an overall rating of 98% for “Adequate or Superior service” and an industry leading 319 reviews, which is more “exposure” than any other single firm, we occupy a unique place in the tree care world.

Lastly, I would like to point out that there an estimated 2,000 tree care companies in the metro area and homeowners have many choices. In 2013, Washingtonian Magazine” released one of their “Best Of” issues as it relates to contractors in Maryland, D.C. & Virginia. In the tree category, you will see us as one of only nine contractors selected. If you are receiving this newsletter, I can honestly say that you have made the right choice in selecting a “great tree company” and we thank you for your business.