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Pearl Contractors are among the top 5% of contractors in the country. They're trained in best practices for improving comfort, indoor air quality, and/or reducing energy costs, and they're committed to documenting their work through third-party certification. When a homeowner decides to hire a Pearl network contractor, they can feel confident that they made the right choice.

But do you know why that’s true? What makes a contractor part of the “top 5%”? How does Pearl select and accept a “quality” contractor into the Pearl Network? What does Pearl certify, and how? And once you’re in the Pearl Network, how do you communicate your company’s eliteness to your customers? In this post, we’ll dig into some of the most important ways Pearl ensures the eliteness, quality, and integrity of its certification system and professional Contractor Network — or what we like to call our three cornerstones of quality:

  1. Contractors must meet rigorous qualifications before being accepted.
  2. Contractors submit certifiable data that Pearl verifies as meeting network standards, increasing the level of accountability of the contractor.
  3. Pearl surveys homeowners, monitors customer feedback, and works with its contractor partners to continuously improve the level of service provided to homeowners.

Cornerstone #1: Contractor Network Qualifications 

Contractor - clipboard in warehouse #diversity

What makes a good contractor? Technical competence in their trade? A culture of delivering value by proposing solutions that meet their customers’ needs and not simply selling products? Answering the phone and showing up on time? Supporting their employees with training and technology? The answer is yes. All of the above and more.

What are Pearl’s standards?

Pearl Network members must meet the following criteria:

  • Superior customer service - maintain excellent customer ratings on review sites, have business systems in place to monitor customer satisfaction, have appropriate policies to address customer complaints, and - as applicable - maintain a good history with the Better Business Bureau.

  • Business best practices - maintain all licenses, pull appropriate permits, and maintain appropriate insurance levels.

  • Success at sustainable growth - a healthy business grows. Growth is often measured in revenue, employees, or locations. But sometimes growth can be defined as growing knowledge — understanding the business and investing in systems to improve the delivery of goods and services to customers.

  • Commitment to quality - supporting its workforce with technical and sales training, as well as supporting employees to grow professionally and advance their careers.

  • Commitment to community - Pearl seeks network members with a shared sense of responsibility and mission to serve its community, whether that “community” is defined locally or globally.

  • Technical and thought leadership - Pearl network members must demonstrate appropriate qualifications for the specific trade(s) and features that they certify through Pearl. A solar-only contractor can’t certify all the features of a heating and cooling system and vice-versa. In addition to maintaining staff credentials for their trade(s), members should be engaged with their industry associations and tracking emerging trends and technologies.

How does Pearl meet and protect its standards?

Pearl vets all contractors before inviting them to join the network. The vetting process includes reviewing customer service ratings, reviewing Better Business Bureau ratings, reviewing the contractor’s website and its presence on social media — and much more.

Pearl also looks for trade-specific indicators of quality such as associations with training, certification, and membership organizations specific to their trade — including:

After the initial vetting process, Pearl works closely with the company's leadership to ensure it’s a good fit. Pearl also digs deeper into the business, exploring how the contractor lives up to its reputation for exceptional service - from reviewing how work is designed, proposed, and installed to the support and management of employees and subcontractors, and more.

Think you have what it takes to join the elite Pearl Network? Let's chat!


Upon joining, Pearl’s Network Agreement sets clear expectations and contractual obligations to maintain those standards. Pearl’s Success and Quality Systems teams onboard contractors so they can quickly start delivering Pearl Certifications for their work. Throughout the partnership, Pearl supports its contractors to share best practices, learn from each other about industry trends, and further increase the value each party delivers to each other and to their customers.

Pearl also promotes our contractor partners in a variety of ways, including:

  • We encourage homeowners to invest in their home’s high-performing features and work with members of the Pearl Network.

  • Our Green Door app teaches homeowners how to make their homes more comfortable, healthier, and efficient, and encourages them to invest in solar, batteries, and other improvements. Green Door also educates homeowners on the benefits of working with a highly qualified contractor and facilitates their ability to connect and work with Pearl Network Contractors.

  • We tout the quality of our contractors, their expertise, and their ongoing achievements through Pearl's many communication channels — including our website, blog, newsletters, and social media networks.

Cornerstone #2: Quality Control and Certification of Work

Contractors quality

As a third-party certifier, Pearl’s primary interest is ensuring the data quality and accuracy of its Certification Reports as well as the brand integrity of its network. Pearl’s Certification App/software was built with these specific goals and interests in mind. Our proprietary software is the core foundation for ensuring the integrity of our data—and it’s the essential vehicle for how Pearl receives, reviews, and third-party certifies data about a home’s high-performing features. This app is at the heart of how Pearl, our Network Contractors, and other Pearl professionals serve homeowners. It puts our scoring system and database at their fingertips and generates Pearl Certification Reports as well as Home Investment Plans. This means ease for the professionals and third-party quality assurance for homeowners.

What Does Pearl Certify?

Pearl certifies home features based on performance characteristics—such as whether a dishwasher earned the ENERGY STAR label, whether the water heater has a good Energy Factor, the SEER level of the air conditioner, the building shell’s airtightness results, the size and production capacity of the solar system, and the insulation R-value in the attic and other areas of the home.

For some features, like insulation and heating and cooling systems, how the feature is installed is critical. These features are not “plug-and-play.” If they aren’t installed correctly, the manufacturer’s specified performance values will not be achieved.

  • Insulation has an R-value based on the material type and thickness. But if it is installed with gaps or is compressed, it will not perform as expected. Insulation earns points based on R-value. But if the installation quality is known, it can earn more Pearl points.

  • Heating and cooling systems are even more complex. Characteristics like SEER are important and do contribute to Pearl’s points. But how a system is properly sized, designed, and commissioned is critical to delivering comfort, indoor air quality, and savings. Pearl awards points if the design and installation are documented and meet quality standards.

How Does Pearl Certify?

Pearl has a two-step review process where a Pearl Approver reviews the qualified contractor’s request and, if approved, a Pearl Certifier ensures that both the Pearl Approver and the contractor have complied with Pearl’s business and technical standards.

Pearl has also developed a number of automated quality assurance/quality control flags and has processes and systems in place to track defects, perform root cause analyses, and make appropriate changes to policy, procedure, and software to mitigate high-risk and/or high-probability errors.

An important aspect of Pearl’s quality assurance/quality control framework is accountability and transparency. While Pearl has robust quality control procedures, it also acknowledges that quality can’t be inspected into a product or process. Rather, Pearl views accountability as a key component to protecting and delivering quality. Pearl often describes itself as a notary, establishing a chain of custody whereby a high-quality contractor (based on their technical and business qualifications) stands by their work, provides transparency (via Pearl’s reports), and takes responsibility for the quality of work and veracity of data they provide. Pearl’s software serves as the mechanism through which this important chain of custody is established and maintained.

Cornerstone #3: Transparency, Accountability, Customer Feedback, and Continuous Improvement

Homeowners contractors kitchen table RE diversity

The crux of the Pearl Certification system is accountability and transparency. Data that underpins Pearl’s score is not hidden or viewed as simply an input into the home’s overall score. In fact, Pearl makes data very visible, so much so that homeowners and other parties can readily see the information and make corrections if and when needed. Pearl’s Certification Report, Green Door, and other products are tools to hold contractors (and Pearl) accountable for providing accurate data that can be trusted by all parties.

Homeowners receive a Pearl Certification Report as part of the certification process. In it, Pearl provides third-party verification of existing and newly upgraded features, describes the functions of those features, and provides the unique service of translating home performance into home value. Pearl includes certified information and enters it into the Appraisal Institute’s Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum, which helps appraisers assign value for energy-efficient and solar features.

Pearl’s Certification Report documents the technical details of a home’s high-performing features so a homeowner has that data for maintaining and improving their home. For example, after a Pearl Network contractor completes air sealing and insulation work, the homeowner has that certified information documented in their Pearl Certification report. That information can then be used by an HVAC professional to properly size a new system when the existing system needs to be replaced.

Pearl also displays this information in a homeowner’s Green Door portal. Homeowners not only see the certified data (R-value, SEER level) but they also have access to photos, documents, and other information that the issuing contractor shares with them.

Putting It All Together

As Harold F. Dodge said, “you can not inspect quality into a product.” Pearl understands that a well-qualified professional, committed to delivering customer value, and supported by robust business practices, is the most appropriate and likely avenue to deliver the highest quality goods and services. Pearl’s role is to highlight the quality of that work and hold the professional accountable for meeting that high standard.

We take this role very seriously.

To learn more please visit our Contractor Qualifications page, our Certification System page, or contact us below with any questions you may have!

Do YOU have what it takes to join the ELITE Pearl Network? Then we want to hear from you! Fill out the form below to start the conversation today.

43355 HOMES CERTIFIED
69227 HOMES SCORED

Pearl Certification is transforming the housing market. We’re making a visible difference nationwide for homeowners and the businesses that serve them.