We've all had this happen: you have a home project that needs to be done, but you need a reputable contractor to do it. Only you don't know anyone who has had this particular thing done and can recommend someone to you.
That's where Ray and I are right now. Our chimney needs to be repointed. We get a bit of water in that side of our basement when it rains. Not much, mind you, but this needs to be dealt with. We have the money. We know what we want done. But we have no idea who to hire.
I went through the yellow pages about 10 days ago and started this process. I called about 5 places. One only does industrial jobs, so that brought it down to 4. Until they recommended someone not in the yellow pages. Back to 5. We had 3 replies in 48 hours. First guy was the best. He gave us oodles of information, plus he asks 10% down and the rest once the job is finished. Second guy was kind of short on info, but the same basic quote. Third person didn't show up. Fourth came in a few days later, took pictures of our chimney and claimed they would email us the quote; we've never heard back. And the fifth called us yesterday, came and gave a quote that was $300 less than the first two, and is currently working on our neighbour's chimney across the road (we started calling and he started grilling the people who came to us and asking for quotes too).
The part of me that loves to save a bit of cash wants to go for the last guy. He only talked to our neighbour yesterday and is working today. Which is good. But what insurance does he have? He's not putting up any protective gear for the roof and the ground below (a concern for us because our roof is in good shape and the ground below is our interlocking driveway). And I worry that sometimes you get what you pay for.
So we are waiting to see what the neighbour's review will be. I still like the first guy best though.