It’s never been more important to support local businesses, and it’s also never been more important to find a local business you can trust.
Local businesses across the country are facing an uphill battle at the moment, and they are more in need of your support than ever before. But, with the number of coronavirus cases growing by the day, you also want to know that you can trust any local business that you hire.
6 Tips for Finding a Local Business You Can Trust
#1. Check for any necessary licensing or accreditation.
Most industries are under some form of regulation, and many different businesses require some sort of licensing or accreditation. This includes everything from roofers and plumbers to nail salons and massage clinics.
Any time you’re working with a local business that requires a license or accreditation, you should, at the very least, make sure that they have them. If the business isn’t properly licensed or accredited, you shouldn’t even consider working with them.
If you’re hiring a local business to do something inside your home, it’s also essential that you ensure that they are properly insured. This not only prevents them from liability, but you, as well.
#2. Look them up on Google.
You don’t have to hire a private investigator to learn what kind of organization a business is. In fact, you can learn a lot about a business simply by looking it up on Google.
You’ll find the business’ website, Facebook page, local listings, etc. but you can also look for any news that’s been associated with the business in question. For example, if you’re looking for a local restaurant that you can safely support amidst the pandemic, a Google search could help you learn about any previous health code violations they may have had.
#3. Read reviews.
The number one way to learn about what actually working with a local business is like is to go straight to the source — it’s current customers. Here are a few things you can do to get the most out of reading reviews:
- Read multiple reviews – Individual experience is just that — individual — so reading just one review may or may not be reflective of what the typical customer experience is like. Reading multiple reviews allows you to look for common themes and learn about the customer experience overall rather than just one-off experiences.
- Read recent reviews – Businesses change all the time. They hire new employees, offer new products or services, and adapt to meet the changing needs of their customers. Someone’s experience three years ago may have very little bearing on the typical experience at the present moment, so make sure that you read recent reviews.
- Read positive and negative reviews – Don’t just read a business’ five-star reviews or one-star reviews. Read a mix of reviews so that you can get an idea of what the best- and worst-case scenario looks like.
- Read reviews on multiple sites – A business’s reputation on Yelp isn’t always indicative of its reputation on Google or Facebook, or vice versa. In order to really learn about a business, you need to learn about their online reputation overall, which means that you need to read reviews from more than one review source.
#4. Pay attention to how they respond to feedback.
If a business has a one-star review or two, it’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t be trusted. We all make mistakes; it’s just a part of life. But, it’s how a business responds to those mistakes that can tell you a lot about what working with it is like.
When someone has had a poor experience with a business and gives them a one-star review, it’s a red flag if the business doesn’t respond because it indicates that they either don’t care that their customer didn’t have a good experience or that they don’t pay attention to the feedback they get online.
When a business does respond to a one-star review, on the other hand, it can tell you a lot about what kind of business they are. Did they get defensive and petty when they responded to the negative feedback, or did they own up to their mistake and try to make it right?
A business that can’t accept feedback and doesn’t take responsibility is not the kind of local business you want to work with.
#5. Find out how they treat their employees.
Not only should you ensure that any local business you work with treats its customers well; you should also look at how a business treats its employees, especially right now.
With coronavirus, the last thing that anyone wants is to work with a business that isn’t properly protecting its employees, particularly if those employees work directly with customers. It’s more important than ever to ensure that a local business you work with encourages employees to stay home when they’re sick and keeps employees safe by enforcing social distancing requirements while at work.
#6. Learn about safety precautions.
These aren’t typical times, which makes finding a local business a little more complicated than it typically would be. Whether you’re hiring someone to work in your home or you’re visiting them at a store or an office, you want to know that they have your safety in mind. Make sure that you ask about what the business is doing to keep people safe.
Start your local business search with Top Rated Local®.
When you’re looking for any kind of business near you, whether it’s a barber shop, roofing company, or restaurant, start your search with Top Rated Local. With Top Rated Local, you can read a business’s reviews from across the web, and you’ll get a quick glimpse of a business’s online reputation, overall, by looking at its Rating Score™.
Find a local business near you with Top Rated Local today!