U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

How do I help customers select the best contractor for their project?

Providing customers with lists of pre-approved contractors is helpful, but offering a long list of contractors without differentiating their products and services can lead to inaction. Most homeowners do not know who to trust to improve their home. Programs can offer tips for hiring a contractor and a list of contractors that meet minimum criteria and distinguishing characteristics such as skills, credentials, location or service area, languages spoken, customer feedback, and information about work quality.

Some programs have publically listed information about the quality of contractors’ performance by drawing from customer feedback or quality assurance reviews. While this information can be helpful to consumers, it is important that programs discuss with contractors what information will be listed publically. In the case of quality assurance-related information, giving contractors the opportunity to improve their standing before the information is shared publically can go a long way in maintaining a good working relationship. This strategy can also be used to recognize and reward good contractor performance. If your program has energy advisors, they can also help homeowners select a contractor by providing an abbreviated list of contractors that are equipped to handle their specific project.


Learn more with the following Solution Center resources:

Topical Resources

  • Author: U.S. Department of Energy
    Publication Date: 2014

    This guide assists with developing an implementation plan for a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. It covers key elements of the plan, including the scope and objectives of the program and the policies and procedures that will ensure its success, including workforce development and support (section 3) and quality assurance (section 6).

  • Author: Federal Trade Commission
    Publication Date: 2014

    This article from the Federal Trade Commission provides information for consumers on how to find a good contractor for a home improvement project.

  • Author: ENERGY STAR

    These tips from ENERGY STAR will help you find the right HVAC contractor, get quality and value from the contractor and your new equipment, and get a signed agreement on the work to be done.

  • Author: ENERGY STAR
    Publication Date: 2004

    This resource includes a list of the different types of contractors you may need to hire to improve your home. Under each type is a brief description of the service they provide and questions or suggestions for working with them.

  • Author: U.S. Department of Energy
    Publication Date: 2013

    This peer exchange call summary focused on using approved contractor lists and matching customers with contractors based on processes/criteria.

  • Author: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    Publication Date: 2016

    This white paper from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory describes the benefits and costs of energy advisors, and describes how residential energy efficiency programs have made use of them in their program design.

Examples

  • Author: Energy Trust of Oregon
    Publication Date: 2017

    Energy Trust of Oregon’s contractor selection tips provide several considerations for choosing an energy efficiency contractor.

  • Author: Maryland's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR
    Publication Date: 2011

    On Maryland's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR website, homeowners can review their contractor and experience. These customer reviews, along with contractors' accreditations and services, are published on the website as part of each contractor's information page. Users of the website can search for contractors and sort the results based on homeowner ratings and by geographical location.

  • Author: California Contractors State License Board
    Publication Date: 2017

    This pamphlet from the California Contractors State License Board provides general advice for hiring a contractor and a construction project checklist.

  • Author: Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors
    Publication Date: 2017

    The Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors provides tips to hiring a contractor, warnings about inexperienced contractors, and information on contracting license requirements and how to verify a license certificate.

  • Author: Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
    Publication Date: 2011

    This Washington State Department of Labor & Industries provides a short list of considerations and tips when hiring a contractor or remodeler.

Tools & Templates

  • Author: Efficiency Maine
    Publication Date: 2017

    On Efficiency Maine’s "Find a Residential Registered Vendor" locator on its website, customers can see the services each contractor offers, sort the list by distance from the homeowner, and differentiate contractors based on number of projects completed and customer satisfaction. All contractors are added to the list when they meet the program's requirements.

  • Author: Focus on Energy
    Publication Date: 2017

    This tool from Focus on Energy connects Wisconsin residents and businesses with local professionals who provide various energy efficiency services and provides a clear list of each contractor's skills.

  • Author: Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
    Publication Date: 2017

    This tool from Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) provides homeowners with a list of contractors, based on their location, to schedule an energy assessment or in-home consultation.  It also provides a direct link to state license information.

  • Author: Energy Upgrade California
    Publication Date: 2017

    This tool provides Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) customers with a list of Energy Upgrade California participating contractors based on location and even provides the languages spoken by the contractor.

  • Author: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
    Publication Date: 2017

    This tool helps customers in New York State find Home Performance with ENERGY STAR participating contractors based on their location.

Handbooks

Last Updated: 
August 9, 2017