I usually recommend my clients look at Angie's List online. Angie's list has Trades people who have been recommended by consumers. There will be honest recommendations from consumers who have used the services. A vendor cannot "pay" to be on this list, so the referrals are better, more like a "consumer report" for the trades.
Ove the years I have built up a ncie network of various contractors in the Charlotte area that I use as a referral basis to clients. if for whatever reason one is not available or I need another quote; I will go out to my fellow Realtors in my office and assk for a personal referral from them on who they use and call and interview them to find a good fit for my client.
real estate is all about building relationships and I beleive that the realtionship does not end with the sale of the house but just begins.....i tend to ensure that the relationship stands the test fo time and my contractors know this. Since after they finsih the work i always call and ask if they are happy with the work or if there is anything I can do to make it right if not....
To date no client has ever not told em that I did not look out for their best interest and have trusted me wht family and friends to help them with Real Estate business...
Coldwell Banker United
The broker/owner of the large franchise office where I started my career almost lost his business when a client won a judgment against him because a contractor he recommended caused severe damage to his home. This may not happen often, but I don't want it happening to me. Bah humbug.
I belong to BNI and we have one of the top chapters in our state. Our members come very highly recommended and that helps.
Second tier will be referrals from other real estate professionals.
Be aware, these coveted assets are protected by those who need their services.
An unknown citizen wanting a referance would be directed to a public directory.
I do not want the contractors I use and depend on to have their time wasted doing estimates for citizens who are not going to do businesss.
When a refer a contractor to another professional, I expect the same level of citizen screening.
Don't want to work through a professional who may ask, "Are you here to jerk there chain or do business?"
At 5:30 am show up at the contractors section of the Home Depot and you'll find "Chuck with a Truck" ready to help you out.