What Is BuildZoom?

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff
Published on: May 29, 2018

Whether you need a minor improvement, a mid-size remodel, or full-on construction project, BuildZoom claims to help more than 10 million people per year find the perfect residential or commercial contractor for any job.

Specifically, their mission is “to revolutionize the $1.3 trillion construction industry and empower people to realize their dream homes,” take the risk out of remodeling, and avoid project disasters, while also producing powerful, independent economic insights.

All you have to do is answer a few basic questions about your project on the website, and BuildZoom’s data-driven platform will match you with at least three professionals in your area, all of which are vetted based on contractor licenses, building permits, and customer reviews. Then, a BuildZoom project consultant will provide you with a list of bids and help guide you through the hiring process.

This is a compelling concept. But, is BuildZoom the best option for you? Over the course of the next few minutes, we'll walk you through important details step-by-step so that you can make a more informed decision.

How Does BuildZoom Work?

BuildZoom is straightforward when advertising that their data is their edge. Specifically, their set was generated after gathering and organizing “data from a variety of sources, including contractor licensing agencies, local building departments, and consumers,” along with 125 million building permits and 6.9 million license records.

They then use it to create comprehensive profiles for each contractor. In fact, they claim there’s a BuildZoom profile for every single licensed contractor in the United States.

Combined with “project photos, government sanction records, and detailed profile information provided by the contractors themselves," the result is what BuildZoom calls "the world's best source of information about contractors,” which generates 800,000 unique visitors per month.

Based on these details, if you’re looking for specific types of real estate data, BuildZoom might represent a treasure trove. Considering the scope of this information, though, let’s split their services into three distinct categories:

BuildZoom’s Find-a-Contractor Service

After entering a description of what you need (e.g., kitchen remodel, siding, roofing, etc.) and your zip code, and clicking the Get Started button on BuildZoom’s home page, their site will ask additional relevant questions and details like:

  • When do you want to start? Flexible, ASAP, Within a few weeks, Within a few months
  • What type of property is this? Single family, Condo/apartment, Office/commercial, Other
  • Email address
  • Best number to reach you at
  • Name
  • How many bids do you want from contractors? 3, 4, or 5
  • What is your relationship to the property? Own or help manage, Rent, Considering buying it (working with a real estate agent?)
  • Select budget

BuildZoom’s system will automatically generate a project page based on your answers, at which point they’ll connect you with contractors and provide the opportunity for you to communicate with them directly.

In the meantime, they’ll also list some of the top-rated contractors in your area. If you like what you see, you can also invite these third-party contractors to bid.

Scrolling down, this page will also display any of your open projects, as well as provide access to messages, reviews, related properties, and work agreements (when relevant). Additional details include “work history, previous project photographs, and reviews of the contractors who are interested in your job.” You can close any of your projects at any time without further commitment.

Keep in mind that while all of this is free without signing up, you’ll be prompted to create an account when you submit a project, which allows BuildZoom to assign a dedicated Project Consultant to help you “connect with reliable contractors in your area.”

They’ll contact you to gather information about your project, help you hand select reliable and qualified contractors for each specific job, walk you through each step of the process, and make sure you‘re happy with results.

In fact, the website reports your Consultant “will stay as involved as you would like during your search and will also check in on the status of your project and be sure all your needs are met.”

BuildZoom’s Permit Map

Another primary feature made available by this dataset is BuildZoom’s Building Permit Map. Here, you can search permit activity for a city or a specific address, and then sort results by project (architecture, electrical, HVAC, etc.), budget, and year completed.

The site’s map view will signify each property with relevant activity by a blue dot, which is also accompanied by an image and address on the right-hand side of the screen.

Clicking on any listing will take you to a page with the property’s full permit history, including highest rated contractors who’ve worked at the address, along with their BZ score, the number of projects they’ve completed, and their average project cost.

Related to the specific property, you’ll see the permit date, type, and contractor, as well as details like permit subtype, license number, permit number and fee, status, and client. You can even message contractor directly through BuildZoom’s system.

Together, BuildZoom advertises their Map provides access to information on over 80 million permitted improvements in the US.

Outside of finding a reputable contractor who has experience with your property (or the neighborhood, at least), what can you do with all of this data? A few recommendations listed on the BuildZoom website include:

  • Filter by project type, which allows you to see who’s gone solar in your area
  • Browse the most expensive projects in your neighborhood (even if you’re just window shopping)
  • Realtors can use the data to obtain details on a property they might not find elsewhere
  • Insurance assessors can use it to increase the accuracy of their plans
  • Real estate investors can better assess the value and carrying costs related to a property

BuildZoom for Contractors

Based on the information entered by prospective customers, BuildZoom will send paid members “high quality and actionable projects” from “millions of homeowners in every city who need help with their projects.”

As soon as the project is received, the company recommends contractors call the homeowner or send a message immediately, followed by their best bid if they think the project is a good fit. Ideally, this should occur in person, which gives contractors the opportunity to explain documents directly to the homeowner.

Together, BuildZoom promises to make help hiring the best contractors faster, safer, and easier, while eliminating the risk, since the accountability they provide “gives contractors a strong incentive to do their best work. Contractors know that if they don't do a great job for you, they will no longer receive business from BuildZoom.”

How Much Does BuildZoom Cost?

Creating a project and locating local, reputable contractors is free for BuildZoom customers, as is access to their Building Permit Map.

If you’d like to download the information, one property report is priced at $29.99, while Premium access to all property records requires a customized quote from a company representative. As explained on the website, this allows you to:

“Drill down to see any property’s full report, which includes a top-line summary of the property’s remodeling history as well as details on every documented project that has been completed, in addition to the contractor responsible for the work.”

Project referrals are also free, although contractors will pay a 2.5% commission/referral fee based on the project’s value once they get hired. BuildZoom indicates that the more contractors are hired through their site, they more projects they can refer.

There are no minimums, monthly fees, or hidden costs. The only agreement contractors make is to pay the 2.5% referral fee follow hiring confirmation.

If you have additional questions regarding pricing, BuildZoom staff can be reached at support@buildzoom.com.

What Can We Learn from BuildZoom Reviews?

Although San Francisco, CA-based BuildZoom has been in business since 2013 and has raised a total of $14.7 million in funding, we encountered relatively limited online feedback for the company at the time of our research.

In fact, other than a handful of comments on online forums, the only feedback we encountered was on the Better Business Bureau’s website, where BuildZoom held an A+ rating. This was based on 11 total customer reviews (eight of which were negative) and more than 20 closed complaints, as of 5/22/18.

When details were available, most of these appeared to revolve around information/privacy concerns, and a company representative responded in each instance with a solution.

BuildZoom was co-founded by CEO David Petersen and Jiyan Wei. Previously, David worked as co-founder of Flexport and ImportGenius.com, while Jiyan worked as Head of Product Management for Vocus, Inc. and v-Fluence.

Are There Other Data-Centric Contractor Websites Like BuildZoom?

Between heavy-hitters like Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor, it might seem like the online ‘find-a-contractor’ niche is fairly saturated.

However, while others certainly listed contractors based on customer ratings and number of jobs completed, neither of these options (nor any other potential competitors we encountered during our research) provided an environment built on similar data as BuildZoom. In other words, you won’t find these tools, based on the same data, anywhere else.

Here's the critical question, though: It's no secret that data accumulation and aggregation are the keys for companies to make money in the online era. But, as a consumer, will BuildZoom’s dataset necessarily help you find a better, more reliable contractor?

Let’s carry this question over to the final section as we help you come to a conclusion.

Our Final Thoughts About BuildZoom

Unless it’s an absolute emergency, it's vital that consumers take their time and create a list of contractors they’re considering for a project, followed by an in-depth investigation of each one’s online presence, existing customer feedback, and what any relevant state websites (such as the Labor & Industry website in Washington State) have to say.

And based on their extensive, proprietary dataset, it certainly seems like BuildZoom might help streamline this process, save consumers time, and help them locate reputable contractors who will deliver on their expectations.

On top of this, their service is completely free for consumers, and the company seems to have an almost wholly positive—if not fairly limited—online reputation, so you might not have much more to lose than a few moments of time for giving the site a try.

» For Further Reading: Finding a Home Contractor: A Guide to the Five Best Websites


Read 42 BuildZoom Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 4.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 32 4 star: 2 3 star: 1 2 star: 0 1 star:  7
Bottom Line: 81% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 42
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  • Deck project

    • Cedar Crest, NM,
    • Oct 16, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Very thorough work. Great craftsmanship. I definitely plan on using them in the future. Hard to tell when I'm interacting with BuildZoom and the contractor but it's still very usable. We will enjoy our deck a lot.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • Review of Christopher Rand Construction

    • North Carolina,
    • Oct 14, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Generally a painless experience. Best feature was the ability to get wordy in the actual review. Didn't realize I had ever used BuildZoom to leave a review - and did not know my password, of course. The reset process was easy and quick - and I was able to get back to my email verification page with no trouble.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • Great experience

    • Irvine, CA,
    • Oct 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    BuildZoom is great for the verification of contractors. I was impressed with the easy-to-use platform and will definitely use this website again to find a qualified professional in my city or county.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • BuildZoom

    • Tennessee,
    • Oct 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    The review I gave for Tremor Homes Construction was very easy to do and easy to navigate the site, which was BuildZoom that I use. Easy to understand it and it didn't take long either to finish the review.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Panel upgrade

    • Aptos, CA,
    • Oct 7, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Although I ended up not going with BuildZoom for an electrical contractor, my experience with them was very positive. They were very prompt in referring me to several well-qualified contractors. At least five contractors called me and two actually came out to review the project. Scott McGrath actually spent a half hour going over the project step by step. BuildZoom is first class and very professional. I highly recommend them.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • Finally! A roofer worthy of my praise.

    • California,
    • Oct 3, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Irving from sales came out, did a great conversation and presented a quite reasonable bid to install 4 whirlybirds. It has been a 3-month struggle to get a roofer willing to come to Torrance and help me. Terrazas was here within a week, took only 3 hours to complete, including applying a sealer to every pipe and vent on the roof. Great guys to work with. Their first step was to validate that the two vents on the main section of the house were correctly placed so that they were at the same distance from the peak to keep on from back-feeding the other, both are acting as heat exits (only). Then the installed the 3rd whirlybird on a separate attic section that had been added on in 1987 by the previous owner. Finally, they installed on at the peak of the garage to keep the temperature and contents at ambient air level 24 x 7 - 365 at zero cost. Whirlybirds are powered by wind and the rising heat - Terrazas recommended a TOP name brand with a warranty of "forever" in writing from the manufacturer.

    I couldn't be more pleased.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Rick was wonderful!

    • Bradenton, FL,
    • Oct 1, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I called the office today around 4 pm from a referral. Our AC unit was leaking. The lady on the phone was very nice and understanding. She said the tech would be out as soon as he could. Thinking tomorrow. I was very happily surprised when Rick showed up within the hour! Rick is very professional and knowledgeable. He did not try and sell me all new and improved equipment, he fixed the issue. He didn’t even mind the kids' questions or the dog being nosey. He did a great job and we are all fixed up! They have certainly gained a new customer and I would highly recommend this company and Rick!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • Custom bar, barstools, deck, fire pit, fire pit seating

    • Mays Landing, NJ,
    • Sep 28, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Jess was able to make what I envisioned for my backyard come to life by building my custom bar with barstools, deck, fire pit, and fire pit seating. I’ve received so many compliments on the design and quality of workmanship. Highly recommend!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • Great experience!

    • Shawnee, KS,
    • Sep 25, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    We had a great experience with Jake, Alex, and their team! They were excellent communicators, prompt each day and extremely honest with their fees (which seems hard to come by in this field).

    They made suggestions without being overbearing, which as a designer, I can appreciate! We felt comfortable from day one and would highly recommend them for your home or commercial needs.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • Good job!

    • Virginia,
    • Sep 24, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    The first group of contractors did not respond. The second three all responded. I selected the one with the highest rating. Rocco Customs, LLC and they did a great job!

    Brook of BuildZoom communicated well, letting me know the steps I needed to take and they did a review of the contract, letting me know what I needed to clarify with the contractor.

    I would definitely use BuildZoom to select contractors for my next project.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • Laundry room do over

    • Clearwater, FL,
    • Sep 24, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Had a flood in the laundry room. We needed a complete demo of the laundry room and all new cabinets, floor and painting done. Because it was a fairly small job, it was hard to get contractors out for estimates. Premier Contractors came, gave an estimate in line with the other companies and offered to get the job done in 2 days. Other than the time frame which turned out to be much longer, everything was first class. The workers were courteous and very clean. They never left a mess and went to extremes to make sure all was left in good shape. I would recommend them highly.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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Showing 1-11 of 42

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