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 resources:

Topical Resources

  • 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 co-marketing and brand guidelines (section 1), workforce development and contractor engagement (section 3), assessment and report requirements (section 4), installation specifications and test-out procedures (section 5), and quality assurance (section 6).

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

  • 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.

Examples

Tools & Templates

  • 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.

  • This tool from Focus on Energy connects Wisconsin residents and businesses with local home performance contractors that provide various energy efficiency services and offers a list of each contractor's skills.

  • 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.

  • This tool provides Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) customers with a list of Energy Upgrade California participating contractors, home performance skills, license information, and the languages spoken by the contractors.

Handbooks

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