After more than 10 years of hit-and-miss hiring of contractors, I became a member of the Home Owners Club. I couldn’t be happier. It’s a contractor referral service (one of the oldest in the country, according to their Web site).
Yes, the contractors they recommend have hourly rates at the higher end of the scale, but you know the work will always be done right, and that the HOC will make things right if you’re not happy. In my book, that’s worth a few extra bucks.
After interviewing three asphalt contractors on my own for a large driveway job (I called about eight, but only three showed up, and they left me feeling very concerned ), I signed up at the Home Owners Club. The asphalt contractor they sent was very sharp, showed up on time and had great suggestions on how to fix some longtime drainage problems. The crew and the work was outstanding. They actually finished one day earlier than they had predicted. The cost was about 5% more than what I would have paid the derelicts I found on my own.
Since then, I’ve also used the Home Owners Club for two plumbing projects. For one of those projects, the plumber did great work (figured out an ingenious way to move my water heater to another room by taping into existing piping, which meant no walls had to be torn open), I felt the prices the plumber charged might be a bit too high (plumbers charge outrageous rates so I wasn’t sure). The HOC reviewed the bill, agreed the rates were too high and got the plumber to reduce my cost.
No more phone book cold-calling and wondering if I’m going to get ripped off. Now I just call the HOC. They also offer an “online membership” option for those who live outside Washington state.