How to Find a Doctor, Accountant, or Plumber You Can Trust in a New City

October 31, 2008

People enjoy being comfortable, and moving takes us out of our comfort zone. We leave behind old friends, a familiar school district, the restaurants we love, and the advisors we trust. It can take years to to find and build relationships with quality professionals like our doctor, accountant, contractor, financial planner, and attorney.

It’s stressful and a bit scary moving to a new city and not knowing who to turn to for help. Simply calling a random professional in the phone book can potentially turn out to be a disaster. So, what should you do? We’ll take a look at a few things you can try to help find someone that you can trust.  Getting a good referral, checking with the local chamber of commerce, and taking a test run with potential candidates are strategies that can actually be combined to help you be sure you’re picking the right advisor.

Ask for a Referral

The best way to find a professional that you can trust is from a personal referral. At your new job, ask a co-worker that seems to have their stuff together who they use for their attorney, financial planner, or CPA. You can also ask a neighbor that you’ve begun a friendship with, members of a new church, or contacts in any community organizations you join. If you are a fan of Dave Ramsey, he has a nice network of “endorsed local providers”, which is a network of professionals all around the country that he trusts will take care of you.

If you aren’t moving too far away from your old town, you can also ask your former professional. Many attorneys, doctors, and CPA’s have friends and colleagues around the state. It never hurts to ask them if they know anyone in the new city you are moving to. If they are losing your business, they are usually happy to refer you to someone they trust will take care of you.

Check Angies List

Angies List Coupon Code

Angies List is a service where members share their experiences with local professionals and rate them on a variety of factors such as overall experience, price, quality, responsiveness, and timeliness.  The site has been around since the mid 1990’s so it should have a considerable amount of reviews built up by now.  It started off focusing on contractors and service companies but lately has added health care providers as well. Give Angies List a try to hear what other consumers are saying about the professional you’re considering.

Check With Your Local Chamber of Commerce

If you have a decent local chamber of commerce, they should be able to point you to the professionals in your new town that are well-established with a good reputation. Many trusted professionals join their local chamber of commerce as a way to network with other professionals and gain leads on potential clients.

Take a Test Run

Once you have a short list of potential candidates the best way to find out if they’re as good as their reputation is to give them a test run.  Treat the first consultation or visit as an interview. Grill the professional you meet with and make sure they have the professional skills you’re looking for and the ethical values that you look for in a person.

Keep your old professional

This won’t work for a doctor or dentist, but many professionals such as a CPA, attorney, or financial planner can help you with all of your business from a different location. Teleconferencing and videoconferencing allow you to continue working with some types of advisors remotely, so don’t feel like you have to dump your professional just because you are moving.

Consider a combination of these approaches to help you find a professional in your new area, and you should come out with a winner. Remember, you are the customer, and they are there to meet your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask any relevant questions, and make sure they are up front with you about their fees from the beginning.


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Erik Folgate is a husband and father living in Orlando who's been writing about money online for 6 years. Digging himself out of $20k of debt after college and his former experience in the insurance industry give him some useful insights into personal finance issues.

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8 Responses to How to Find a Doctor, Accountant, or Plumber You Can Trust in a New City

  • tom

    where do you find this person or group of people? You might try the Yellow Pages, check the listings with each of the accounting bodies, ask family, friends or, maybe your banker? All of the above, possibly. But how do you know that the people on that list are reputable and right for you and your business?

  • kurt

    Yup, fellow employees at a new job, neighbors, local coffee shop, all places where you can find someone that will recommend a great service for what ever your looking for. Didn’t know about angie’s list, that’s a neat idea, wish I would have thunk of it..

  • marci

    I agree with asking several folks at your new job for references. That works well.

    I moved away from home for about 6 yrs, but knew I would eventually be moving back. During those 6 yrs I continued to drive ‘back over the hill’ – about 80 miles – for my doctor, dentist, stockbroker, and lawyer appointments. Knowing I was eventually moving back, I didn’t want to have to change all of them twice in 6 years. By arranging to see several of them on the same day trip over, I managed to not have to miss many days from work.

    Also – I’ve been dealing with the same CPA for about 25 years – and he’s over 100 miles away. About every 5 years, we meet in person – but most of the time I mail the information and he calls to resolve any issues, and mails back the results. He promptly returns phone calls during the year on related matters. This has been a very good relationship over the years.


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