But what does that mean? References from a neighbor? A friend? The guy at the hardware store? Yes, yes and yes.
But the kinds of references typically NOT that helpful are the glowing testimonials you might find on a remodeling contractor’s website, testimonials like these:
“What a wonderful company!”
“I highly recommend this contractor!”
My reporter’s mind screams out: Who said these things? When did they say them? About what? Can I speak with these people? In truth, you wonder if these aren’t just made-up comments.
So it was with some delight that I found the website of Roger Perron General Contractors. There, under the Testimonials link, you find an amazing thing: Actual letters from actual people with actual phone numbers you can call.
The first letter shown, for instance, is from Paula Bernstein, Ph.D., M.D., Obstetrics & Gynecology, 8737 Beverly Blvd., Suite 201, Los Angeles, CA 90048, (310) 659-4564. And her letter begins like this:
It was a summer night at two in the morning when our smoke detector went off. A fire had started in the laundry room. By the time the fire department arrived and put it out, our kitchen and den were destroyed, and the rest of the house was a smoke-damaged mess.
The first person we called the next morning was the insurance agent. Our second phone call was to Roger Perron.
The point is, when you are looking for a contractor and you see glowing testimonials on his or her website, don’t take those comments seriously unless they are accompanied by the name of the person, and, ideally, their contact information. If not, those comments could be just another case of creative writing.
See more Perron testimonials from real people.