Research short cut.

There’s a lot of information about siding online. Google “siding” and you’re going to see 237,000,000 search results. Seriously.

If anything, there’s way more information than you can wade through. My advice is to narrow the search. And if you’re thinking about fiber cement siding, one of the first names to pop up in organic search (it’s number three in the results I’m looking at right now) is James Hardie at Australia-based James Hardie is far and away the largest supplier of fiber cement siding.

If you go to the website, you’ll see a function called Contractor Search will direct you to approved contractors in your area. That’s how a lot of people find us.

James Hardie’s careful about which contractor they’re going to send you to. They want the product installed right, and they want to be sure that the buyer of their product has a satisfactory contractor experience. They have critera, and standards that are set. They send inspectors to look at jobs. In other words, they’re directing you to professionals, companies that are a little more conscientious about what they do and how they operate.

But we also ask anybody who’s interested to read reviews. In the past, someone looking to re-side their home would ask a friend, neighbor, colleague or relative about their experience. Who did your house and what was that like? That would get them started. Today any online search is going to get you to a contractor. And if you find one, don’t believe what the contractor says about himself. See what his customers have to say. Any contractor worth anything is going to have Google reviews (as well as reviews on Facebook, Angie’s List, GuildQuality, etc.).

We get a lot of calls because of our reviews. And when we ask people who reach us through our website why they’re requesting an appointment, four out of five say something along the lines of “your reviews are great.”

You can’t buy great reviews. You have to do great work and treat people in a professional way to earn them.

And when it comes to finding a contractor, I find people are interested in four things. They want someone who’s legit, and reviews go a long way to establishing that. They want professional advice, people who know their way around a house, and construction, and installation, and a product. They want a price that’s fair. And they want to be treated respectfully.

Which means they don’t want to be subjected to high-pressure closing techniques. Who in their right would?

About Mike Damora

Mike Damora is vice president of sales and marketing at K&B Home Remodelers, in Randolph, N.J. You can follow him on Twitter @madamoracatch him on Drift.