Your Go-To Guys: Finding Service Pros in Your Small Town
Moving to a small town or the country comes with big changes: financial adjustments, new schools for the kids and driving longer distances to get what you need. But did you know (According to moving.com[i]) finding trusted service professionals like handymen, plumbers, electricians and others is one of the most frustrating and overlooked challenges of moving to a new area?
Here’s how do you go about setting up your support system when you've moved to a rural area or small town.
Word of mouth
Arguably, the best way to find a trusted, reliable service professional is through other people. The first place to start should be with your neighbors. Who replaced their boiler or put on their new roof? Is there someone who plows driveways in the winter? Do they know anyone who can help with cutting wood on your property? If your neighbors have lived there for a while, or for a lifetime, they will know who to recommend for any job.
Apps or the Internet
Just because you’re living in a rural area, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to locate services the good old-fashioned way: online! Most small-town businesses have a digital presence.[ii] Check out recommendations on sites and apps like Yelp, Angi (formerly Angie's List), Thumbtack, HomeAdvisor, Houzz and more. Many of these apps allow you to plug in your project and then watch the bids from local pros roll in, along with their ratings from previous clients. Yelp is mainly a review site, but you can get great information there about the reliability of the business you're thinking of patronizing. But remember, take online reviews from strangers with a grain of salt.
The local hardware or feed store
Is there anything the owner of a small town store doesn't know about life in his or her town? We're going to go with "no" on that. Hardware and feed stores can be the center of buzz and business in small towns. Ask the people who work there for recommendations. They will no doubt know who's reliable and who isn't. It's also common for hardware stores to have a collection of business cards or other contact information from service people in the area.
From bake sales and car washes that benefit local sports teams, to puppies for sale, to handyman services, bulletin boards advertise all manner of things. Common locations include grocery stores, libraries, churches, laundromats, coffeeshops, restaurants and convenience stores[iii].
It's worth a call to your Realtor to ask about reliable service professionals. He or she is an expert in the local area, after all. I.
The Better Business Bureau
Still not sure where to turn? The BBB may have a record of any business you're thinking of patronizing. They can tell you whether the business has received any complaints, and if and when those complaints have been resolved, and its BBB rating[iv].
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