Whether you’re ready to replace all the windows in your home, upgrade your front door, or finally repair your worn and damaged roof, finding the right contractor to work with is the first essential step to a successful project.
Like when looking for a new doctor or dentist, there are dozens, if not hundreds, in your area. Some are local with one brick-and-mortar business. Some are chain companies with locations across the country. The same goes for remodeling contractors.
Is it better to go local or national when choosing a contractor? Are there any benefits to choosing one over the other? Which type of contractor is best for me?
These are just a few questions running through your mind when looking at both national and local remodeling contractors.
Fear not! We’re here to help guide you to the right decision.
As a locally established remodeling contractor since 1989, Southwest Exteriors has helped thousands of San Antonio homeowners transform their spaces with new windows, siding, doors, and more.
While we are a local remodeling company only serving San Antonio and surrounding areas, we’re not here to bash national contractors or give you reasons not to work with them.
The truth is, sometimes, working with a national contractor may be what you are looking for.
This article will dive into five key things to consider when comparing national and local contractors and how to determine which is best for you.
National vs. Local Remodeling Contractors: 5 Things To Consider
When comparing all types of contractors, there are certain things you want to look at, such as their website, reviews, real pictures, and more.
You’re trying to compare apples to apples, and while looking at national versus local contractors is similar, there are a few different qualities to consider and look at through a different lens to accurately compare them.
You’ll want to look at:
Reviews, both national and local
The contractor’s longevity in your area
The contractor’s knowledge of your specific area
And community involvement
By diving into these five things, you can accurately compare national and local contractors for your project and determine which is best for you.
Now, let's look further into each of these qualities to better understand how they help influence your decision.
1. Contractor Reviews, Both National and Local Fronts
One of the first things that helps determine your decision on choosing a contractor is their client reviews. This information is easily accessible from a simple Google search.
You want to look at not only recent reviews but historical reviews as well. This doesn't mean you have to go back to the beginning of time but look back a few years to see if the company has dealt with their clients consistently and with the same integrity.
When looking at a national contractor's reviews, it's important to look at the overall national company's reviews and the local sector in your area.
This may tell you that even if the national name has a great reputation, their local branch may have some problems. Real client reviews will tell you this.
If you notice differences in the quality of reviews between a national company and their local establishment, this may be a red flag. Finding a locally established contractor with great reviews may be the better option for you to ensure a successful project.
2. Their Longevity in Your Area
The second quality you want to consider between national and local contractors is how long they have been established in your area.
This is especially important to consider when looking at a national company. While the national company may have been established 100 years ago, your local branch may have only started last year.
This does not mean they are not as qualified or do not uphold the name and reputation of their national brand. But it is something to be mindful of. This also goes for vetting local companies.
Think about it. Would you rather work with a locally established company that has been in business for more than a decade or a newly established business that doesn’t have the same credibility?
It’s important to be mindful of both the longevity of the contractor you choose in your area as well as the quality of their reviews. Then, you can find a contractor that you know will give you a high-quality outcome and will be there in the future in case any problems arise.
3. Their Knowledge of Your Specific Area
After looking at local reviews and how long a contractor (or national branch) has been serving your area, you next want to know how well the contractor knows your specific area and climate.
Geography and climate must be considered before starting any project on your home. This includes weather patterns, rainfall, humidity, soil type, and more.
Looking at the geography and climate will determine what products and solutions are best for your home.
If a local or national contractor does not know how to consider where you live and how it factors into the best solutions for you, this can result in disaster.The wrong products installed in your home improperly will prevent them from protecting your home and ultimately fail.
This aspect is especially important to consider when working with a national brand. If the local branch has been established in your area for a while, then they most likely have a good grasp on your climate and what is best for your home.
On the other hand, if a national contractor mostly based in the northern U.S. opens up its first branch in the south, it may not be knowledgeable about the climate and needs of your home.
Checking your potential contractor’s knowledge of the weather and climate, as well as the geography of your area, is crucial to ensuring you get the best products and recommendations for your project to keep your home protected and last.
4. Their Warranties
The warranty a contractor provides for your products and installation is important to look at to know how long they will be there to back up their work.
The length and details included in the warranty a contractor provides say a lot about the quality of the products they offer and the quality of their workmanship.
If a contractor only offers a 5-year warranty on their work, this is a red flag. This means they don’t guarantee their work will last more than five years, and you will end up paying to fix their poor work in a short amount of time.
When considering a national brand name, you also want to compare the warranty of the national name to the branch in your area. While you would assume they are the same, you must double-check check there are no discrepancies or misinformation.
For example, if you see an advertisement for a national contractor that claims they have a lifetime warranty, but the local branch only has a 30-year warranty on their work, this raises questions. Why are they different? Is it a mistake? Are they trying to hide something?
This is equally important to look at in locally established companies.
The last thing you want is to work with a company that gives empty promises and leaves you with low-quality work and a more costly project.
5. Community Involvement
The final thing to consider as sort of a bonus quality is a contractor’s community involvement, whether local or national.
Now, considering this in your decision on choosing a contractor may not be the most important thing to you, but it will help you see the integrity of the company and how involved they are in your community.
Typically, locally established contractors will have more involvement in their community because they were rooted and raised there. Their community helped them grow, so they want to give back and help their community grow as well.
This doesn’t mean national contractors don’t give back to their community. You can likely find charitable donations, acts of service, or community projects on the website of a national contractor. But you may want to ask the local branch what sort of involvement they have in your community.
While looking at community involvement may not be the most important factor in your final decision, it is still important to look at.
If you want to work with a company that doesn’t only care about your home but also your community, then choosing a locally established contractor would be the better option for you.
If you aren’t concerned about community involvement or charitable acts a contractor provides, then you may find what you are looking for in either a local or national brand.
National vs. Local Remodeling Contractors: Which Is Better For You?
Now that you know five essential things to consider when comparing national and local contractor brands, you are equipped with the right knowledge to accurately compare different types of contractors through the right lens.
Considering their national and local reviews, longevity in your area, knowledge of your climate and geography, warranties, and community involvement will help you find the contractor that will meet your needs and provide you with a successful project.
Working with a national remodeling contractor may be for you if:
You want to work with a company that has national status
You want popular brand-name products in your home
You plan to move in the future and want to work with a company that will still be in your area wherever you move
Working with a locally established contractor may be for you if:
You want to work with a local contractor that is rooted in your area
You plan on living in your home for the foreseeable future
You want to work with a company that is more involved in your community
Ultimately, choosing the right remodeling contractor for your project depends on your wants, goals, and needs for your home.
Once you outline what you want from a contractor, product, installation, and overall experience, you will have a better idea of what type of contractor is right for you and can find the perfect match.
Now, we understand combing through dozens of different contractors and companies can be overwhelming and difficult. How do you choose the best one for you?