Looking for a type of contractor not listed? Two local companies offer free referrals to remodelers and repairpeople they’ve screened.
One is HomeWise Referrals (703-360-8222). Formerly called Home Solutions Connection, it was started in 2002 by Debbie Farson. She has built a network of 100 trusted contractors—from carpenters and handypersons to interior designers and custom-home builders. HomeWise checks licensing, insurance, complaint histories, and customer and trade references to come up with a list of reliable contractors; it also relies on customer feedback and site inspections to make sure contractors continue to do good work. The service is free to homeowners; contractors pay a commission.
Working much the same way is Urban Referrals (202-332-0848). The service, started in 2002 by Marla Ray, matches one of the 60 contractors in its network to each job. Urban Referrals also is free to homeowners.
This feature first appeared in the March 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.