Remodelers’ Customers Like Quality, Professional Designations

May 19, 2014

A previous post discussed hiring a professional remodeler, with an emphasis on those remodeling projects (like roofing or HVAC work) that most often involve homeowners hiring a contractor as opposed to attempting it themselves. This one deals with the choice of a particular contractor.

The evidence comes from a question on NAHB’s most recent Consumer Preference Survey that asked potenital customers what they look for when choosing a contractor for their home construction projects. (The question didn’t distinguish between remodeling and new construction contractors, on the theory that the desirable qualities would be similar for both.)

In particular, the question asked customers to rank the importance of five contractor attributes on a scale from 1 through 5 (1 being most important; 5 least). “Reputation for quality construction” easily came in first, ranked most important by 45 percent of customers—over twice the “most important” percentage for any other attribute on the list.

Contractor Attributes

This naturally leads to a question about what a remodeler can do to achieve a reputation for quality. One possibility is to acquire one or more specialized, professional designations (credentials awarded by trade associations or government organization certifying expertise in a particular area.)   NAHB has several such designations for remodelers, including Certified Graduate Remodeler, Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist, Certified Green Professional, Master Certified Green Professional and Graduate Master Remodeler.

The consumer preference survey also contained a question on what potential customers think about contractractors with professional designations.  The NAHB economists who tabulated the survey were somewhat surprised at the strength of the positive response.  Well over 70 percent agreed with four positive statements about contractors with designations, headed by 83 percent agreeing that contractors with designations are “more professional and credible.”

Contractor Designations

But the best evidence that remodelers can benefit from professional designations probably comes from the strong positive statement on the bottom of the chart.  Although the percentage is slightly lower than for other statements on the list, 64 percent of customers still agree that contractors with professional designations are “worth paying a higher price for.”