Over the course of 30 years or so, many of the contractors that I have hired to do work on my home have been "repeat customers". Generally, once I find someone who is reliable and who does good work, I tend to stick with that person for as long as possible through my various projects.
Oftentimes, somebody I work with on projects over the course of years or decades is able to recommend other people to me who do good work. One example of such a person who I've worked with for a long time is Mike Evangelisti, the foundation contractor who brought his big machines in to dig the hole where my new home will go. Not only is Mike proficient at digging precision holes, he was also able to help me with the septic system, grading, and moving topsoil to a location on the property where I can use it later.
In many instances, the contractors and specialists you'll use for a project in an area may know each other well and know who to call if you're in need of someone for a part of your project.
However, it's good to keep all of your options in mind when it comes to finding qualified experts to work with. If you move to a new area and you don't know anyone, there are some services available online like findabuilder.com that can provide you with some names and phone numbers. It's also possible to hire contractors and builders from an online classified service like Craigslist, but I'm a bit from the old school and generally don't procure my services this way.
What do you think? Have you had an experience where you've used Craiglist or another service to find a contractor or licensed professional? I'm curious to know about your experience... join the conversation and let us know!