Let’s face it, hiring a contractor is a daunting task that is subjective and based on a word of mouth rather than any specific science. You can hire plenty of people to do jobs – checking their resumes, their education, their experience, and references – by simply placing an ad asking for applicants. You cannot do that with contractors and we are still stuck in the 19th century. Word of mouth is relatively reliable but is limited to your network of friends who have worked with contractors. The problem is that there are many great contractors out there that will not be visible to you because they are not in your direct circle.
So let’s analyze why we hire through word of mouth. Word of mouth is essentially someone you know telling you that he or she can vouch for a certain contractor. In reality, it is mostly a reference that you are looking for. When you hire someone to work for you, you call their references. So wouldn’t it be great if you could get a list of contractors with their permits sorted in such a way that you could see where they worked and what they did there? And wouldn’t it be even more awesome if you could find out the costs associated with each permit to see if their work is within your allotted budget? So what is the safest way to hire a contractor?
At Kukun, we want to turn the tables. We believe that to hire the best contractor all you need to know is:
- Where have they worked and what have they worked on?
- What type of projects do they tend to do (so you can get an expert)
- What their reputation is like.
In order to solve this difficult problem, Kukun has embarked on a groundbreaking effort to collect all the permits from public records, and analyze the work that contractors have done so that we can inform the public better, helping us all to make the right decisions and get our homes done right while providing more jobs to the best contractors out there.
Contractors who work on homes are more likely to need permits to do so. So if we are able to get to those permits, we can see the addresses where the contractors have worked and then do one of two things: drive by the home and drop a note asking for permission to call them about the contractor or ask the contractor to make those intros for you.
Imagine you live in a certain neighborhood and you want to know who your neighbors worked with. Kukun makes that super easy for you. Simply go to Kukun’s Pro Fact Sheets and choose the right type of contractor, then proceed to “permits near me” and enter your address. You will be presented with a map that displays all the addresses that have obtained permits around your house (within 5 miles). If you click on any of those addresses, you will see the contractor’s profile attached to that address and all of his or her background information, like license info, insurance info, etc.
More impressively, we spent the time to collect and read all their reviews and aggregated them for you. We distilled their collective reviews into four basic categories: their reputation on quality, delivery on time, delivery on budget and their aesthetics.
We believe that by knowing the contractor references and their overall reputation on those four key metrics (quality, on time delivery, on budget delivery and aesthetics), we would know who is good and who is bad. We would know if they are within our budget and if they deliver on time. And all this can happen within a few minutes.
We have been collecting permits in every major metropolitan area just so we can make it easier for everyone to hire the right people, and to make it easier for great contractors to be found so they can do more.
If you have a few contractors in mind and you want to know more about them (and they are in one of the bigger metropolitan areas), you can go to Find Pros facts and search by choosing your metropolitan area or your zip code. You will then see their permit history, a summary of their online reputation, if they are licensed, their BBB record, etc.
At Kukun we believe that the home renovation market has to change and accept the new world we live in. Data and facts are kings and should be helping us to know more, do more and make better-informed decisions. Our tools, our data, and our insights – on every project, task, professional, cost, return on investment – are made to help homeowners and contractors do better and more business.
MORE: Write Down These 10 Fundamental Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Contractor