How do you choose a firm? Testimonial, Locals, Better Business Bureau?
I am curious, how do you choose what firms get your business? How do you know, especially in the current climate that the firm you choose is reputable? Do you stick only with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or maybe the local Chamber of Commerce? But, how do you know, wouldn't you be better checking references?
I spent some time thinking about this recently. The BBB wants a fee to be listed, so can't anyone pay to be listed so long as no one takes the time to complain to the BBB a company can appear reputable. How about the local Chamber of Commerce, you pay to join those too, and you can pay more to be a featured business or a Platinum or Premier Member. But does that make one firm better or more reputable than another? Does the local Chamber or BBB only accept fees and list firms they check references on? Maybe some, but I doubt they all do. But, I think that they should. Sure, it's time-consuming, but these types of organizations are asking for consumers to turn to them and use a firm they list. Some consumers might take that to mean these are honest reputable firms, not just someone who paid their annual dues.
I don't know of an organization that actually checks references on businesses, I know I have heard of a few online places where individuals can rate contractors, which has promise if they are not anonymous ratings. I think it would be a great idea for the BBB and Chambers to check references prior to accepting new members and regularly check them on existing members. We have had the unfortunate experience of using local businesses, highlighted in the Chamber as well as being in the BBB, only to find they are not reputable at all.
Do you have a way of selecting a firm that honest and reputable? Do you use word of mouth, check references, or something else. I think in the current economic/business climate we all need to help each other. If that means offering a testimonial or reference for a firm that has done a great job for you I think we all as business owners can take the time to do so....doesn't the future of all of our businesses depend on it?