Q:  How important is their online reputation when selecting a service provider?  Might all those ‘good’ reviews be from their friends and family?

A:  Online reputation is definitely something you should factor in when selecting a service provider.  Recommendations from your friends and family that may have experience with a service provider are also very important.

If a service provider only has limited reviews it’s quite possible they’ve just recently started up their business and used friends and family to seed their review base.  Once they start visiting homes, however, they can no longer control this process.  Happy (or unhappy) homeowners can take their opinions online and there is little a service provider can do about it other than offer superior service in an effort to build good reviews. 

Companies with hundreds or even thousands of reviews and a good online reputation for quality are likely a safe bet.