Angie's List: A Better Alternative to Craigslist for Finding Local Contractors
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Angie's List: A Better Alternative to Craigslist for Finding Local Contractors

After so many bad experiences with Craigslist, I finally gave up and bought a subscription to Angie’s List. For those of you who don’t know, Angie’s List is the nation’s largest provider of consumer reviews and ratings on all types of local service providers, from home contractors to doctors / dentists to nannies and babysitters.

Angie’s List has been around for a while (it was launched back in 1995) that has unbiased detailed ratings scorecards for over 240,000 service providers in over 140 US cities and metro areas. The downside of Angie’s List, however, is that you have to pay to access its listings. Membership costs $4.25 per month, or $49 per year, plus a $10 per month initial signup fee - although you can save around 70% off if you sign up for an annual subscription - plus an additional 20% off using the coupon code below). The way I look at it, though, compared to the hundreds if not thousands of dollars you’ll be investing with your contractor, an Angie’s List subscription fee is a small price to pay. Read on for more details on where Angie’s List shines and where it falls short.

If you hire contractors frequently, it is well worth it to get an annual subscription. If you only need it for one job, I’d recommend going with a one month subscription and use it on a one-off basis. Currently, Angie’s List has over 650,000 subscribers who submit 20,000 reviews each month, so there’s plenty of reviews to help guide your hiring decision. I live in the Minneapolis area, and the coverage of listings and reviews has been great.

So far through the service, I have hired a painter and a plumber - both have been excellent experiences, the communication was great and very professional, and the work completed was superb. I submitted rave reviews for both, and I’m sure they’re both getting great business based on their great work. We also hired our nanny through the service, and she’s been one of our best hires. We really feel that Angie’s List has become an indispensable resource for finding trustworthy professionals and caregivers for our home and family. See a more complete list of provider types covered on Angie’s List.

Here’s a sample report card you’ll see on a typical Angie’s List review:

Is Angie’s List available in your area? During the sign up process, you’ll be able to select your region. If it’s not listed, then you’re out of luck. However, with over 140 cities covered currently, chances are good you’ll be able to find your city. But also here’s a map that provides details on the number of listings in each area.

And if you’re wondering who “Angie” actually is, she’s the company’s founder and you can see her in this TV interview:

While my experiences with Angie’s List thus far have been good, I’d love to hear your experiences as well. Share them here! Learn more about Angie’s List.

Source: http://www.angieslist.com

Some other good services you might be interested in - Service Magic and Renovation Experts and CalFinder are free home contractor search sites which require a little more homework but can save you money. Sittercity and Care.com are services dedicated to finding great local sitters and nannies.

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Comments (28)

anyone know how good their coverage is in the los angeles area?

I’ve been a long time user of Angie’s List, and have overall been impressed with the service. I live in the Columbus area. I recently hired an electrician to install some lighting. He went way beyond the call of duty and stayed 2 hours longer than he charged me for in order to set up the lights just right. Unheard of service! Of course, not every experience is like this, but overall I’ve had positive results.

I used to live in LA and used Angie’s List briefly when I was there. This was about 3-4 years ago, and they were just starting out coverage there, so I’m sure by now, the coverage is pretty good.

Cheryl from Angie’s List here. I saw your post -- thanks! I did want to point out a tiny error, though. We do charge an account activation fee, but it’s not monthly. If you sign up for a year, for example, you pay the fee once – not for each of the 12 months. Our membership fees vary by market, but on average, even including the activation fee, the cost of an Angie’s List membership is about $6 a month. We're up to more than 750,000 members now, and getting about 30,000 reports a month. Thanks, again!

I have found a new site too, especially for bigger jobs. Since things have gotten tough, there are fantastic contractors that will bid for your work if you post your local price. I saved 4 figures! Their screened too, but you can use Angies to verify further. Fixitupforless.com Thanks for the posting

An excellent job with this factoid. Asa handyman I have been burned by working for people who found me on Craigslist. There are just as many people looking for professional work but aren 't willing to pay what a professional needs to charge to stay in business as there are people doing shoddy work. I haven't tried Angie's List because I've gone back to good old fashioned hardcopy advertising and word of mouth.

We do rate private investigators! The only way any business, company, service professional can get on the List, though, is for a customer to submit a report. So let's hope your clients will submit some reports.

The Woodlands Real Estate

This type of site creates a lot of value. It is really hard to find a good contractor sometimes, so a site that responsibly rates a contractor can be of great help. Anybody and everybody can post an add on Craig's list. Do you really know what your getting though. With a site like Angie's list, the contractor will be motivated to do a good job so that he can receive more referrals from the site.

Fred Barry

I used Angie's List to find my home contractor for a room addition to our home. I found that Angie's List was more helpful than other contractor review sites as Angie's List has way more reviews. We found an average of 8 to 10 reviews for many contractors - this is far more than with other sites, on which you're lucky to find any reviews, let alone any detailed and informative ones. Overall even though Angie's List is a bit pricey, I'd recommend it.

J.Curtis

In your opening article about a customer looking for a painter on Craigs list, the thing that you forgot to mention is that you did not sign a contract that stipulates paint coverage or clean up. It sounds like you were not willing to pay a real contractor the 25 to 35 dollers per hour. as required by a pro and were trying to cut corners by hiring a guy off the street and then haggling the final price. With a pro you commit to a price and pay in steps as detailed in a contract. It appears that you were like many on craigslist looking for a great way to short change an experenced pro wicth is what you really were looking for. Or trying to get a pro job from the small guy at a small price. You must be willing to pay for quality......

Ben Crawford

I've many a times referred to Angie's list for many of my purchases. You get trustworthy details there ....

Parnelli DeChucko

Actually, Don Wojan of Dallas, TX has an interesting view about Angies List on his home page:

www.DonWojan.com

Also, some guy named David Tate, who used to be a radio broadcaster, recorded a commentary about Angie's List (or Angies List, without the apostrophe). David Tate says that there are good things and bad things about AngiesList and then, he plays a really cool jingle from WINX, a radio station in Washington, DC:

www.DavidTate.net/AngiesList.aspx

monicaparish

All the links on this page take me to the Angies List sign up page advertisement. WTF, maybe this 'review' is just another AD!

Excellent

JerryB

Angie's List now charges $69 per year renewal - it is Automatic, and there is No Notification. Fortunately, they refunded withing 4 days after I Discovered the charge on my creditcard 4 days after it was posted. I tried to use the list for a year, but found no reviews for any of the services I needed them for. I also wanted to post reports for many businesses, but their restrictions for reports (must have paid the invoice, must have been within the past year, etc) prevented that - which is probably why coverage is so meager in a large market they have been in for a long time - Dallas. I am finding the Free services Kudzu and Yelp! to be Much better.

Sarah L.

COMPLETELY disagree that Angie’s List is a good thing. I work for a company that does home remodeling. A third party tried to hire my employer to do work on a house that they don’t own. When my employer stated that for the company to do the work they would have to have authorization in writing from the home owner the person became irate. Then the person requested that my employer deliver building materials for a $25 fee (normal delivery from the store in question is $75). In the interest of good-will my employer did that and then just out of pure spite because my employer refused to do work on a property without proper authorization this person went on Angie’s List completely slamming my employer. My employer NEVER knew Angie’s List even existed and has an “A+” rating with the BBB for over 15 years. Long story short, Angie’s List is a way for crack-pot type people who hold grudges to pay money and then attempt to ruin others when they don’t get their way.

http://www.premier-kitchen-design.com

I have a kitchen design and remodeling site and would like to recommend Angie's List to my visitors. I have read some negative reviews about this service and am looking for folks that have had a positive experience.

http://www.premier-kitchen-design.com

I have a kitchen design and remodeling site and would like to recommend Angie's List to my visitors. I have read some negative reviews about this service and am looking for folks that have had a positive experience.

Angies List, the owner and management, use poor business tactics and poor business decisions to increase revenue. The company is so hungry for money that in order to make it a cash cow, they have stooped to using tactics that cross the line. Here's 4 reasons why: first of all I am a member and also a contractor. I'm a member so that I can monitor my company's listing. 1. They will allow someone to post a review years after the work was done. Yes, I said years. When I asked Angies about this they said that they don't require the homeowner to provide accurate dates, further they specifically said that they trust that homeowners will use the approximate date as they know that sometimes the homeowner does not have the invoice in front of them. I know this because I had a customer post a review 3 years after the fact (this was in 2003). Customer put that work was done with 1 year previous but it wasn't and I was able to prove it. Sent paperwork to Angies to prove--they said they would contact the homeowner (angies member) to verify. Angies verified it an removed the review. HOWEVER, their rules have NOW CHANGED--there is no time limit. The customer could enter a review 6 years after the work was done and Angies doesn't care. I took this up with 2 layers of management to express my concern regarding this ridiculous rule to no avail. All a homeowner has to do is show a date that they think the work was done and now, with the rule change, if the customer is wrong and work was done 6 years ago--it's just too bad for the company--because the review will not be moved. 2. Angies list bombards me with emails because I am a member. At least twice a month I get an email from them. They email me reminders to post a review for the company's that I searched--I may have not even used the company, but just looked at their rating at the time and because of this they send these multiple emails me to remind me that I looked at them and to post a review. I find that quite obtrusive. If I used one of the companies then I would consider posting a review, but I didn't use them, so why should those companies names be thrown in my face in Angies emails. They do this because they are not getting enough reviews and without reviews their product is useless. 3. TODAY they called me out of the blue (because I am a member) to ask me if I was aware of a few companies...and she started rattling off some company names. Yes, Angies actually hired a call center to start calling members to solicit reviews by throwing out a company name or two. It just so happens that two of the companies she mentioned were direct competitors of my business. But one of the names was my doctor, so I said yes I know of him and she started asking more questions and wanting me to rate him in 8 different categories and asked what grade I would give him A-F. I asked why she was doing this and she said the purpose was so she could post a review using my answers all under the name of "anonymous". What if I had said that I knew about the companies (that were my competitors)? At the end of the conversation, I did tell her that they were competitors and then proceeded to explain how this tactic of solicitating reviews was crossing the ethical line, and opening up invitations for bogus reviews. I requested that the recorded phone call be sent to management. She said it would be sent. I'm sure it will probably be a waste ,with it being a big company, so that's why I'm posting my dissension everywhere I can so that perhaps it will make a difference and Angies will stop solicitating for reviews. 4. Many, many of the companies with an "A" rating are very small with 1-2 employees, usually the owner and an office person or sometimes just the owner working out of a cell phone. He gets "A"'s because he's the owner---I don't know about you but if I was the owner and performed all of the work myself, I would make sure that every call was perfect. In fact, above perfect. Secondly, since the companies are 1-2 employees usually means that they just started in business, otherwise they would have so many customers that they would have to hire more employees. Once you start hiring employees, now you are not the sole worker, now you are relying on someone else to do the job as perfectly as you would. Guess what, it doesn't happen. Employees will never perform as well as the owner. Would you prefer to do business with a company that started up 2 months ago or one who had a proven track record of good business practices for 15 years. For small ticket items you probably don't care, but for an investment of a roof or hvac, which is thousands most people want to go with a reputable company who's been around the block or two. This is why Angies list is biased. It lists a bunch of small 1-2 employee sized companies who just started in business and the owner or owner's relative does the work.

Carole Kacmer

Please cancel my subscription

juliemorris

i noticed more negative feedback than i would like i just wanted someone to know about lapco in knoxville father and son good honest hardworking guys they came and did work for us and couldnt been more pleased.they fixed the garage door swithched lights out and few dry wall patches coulndnt be happier

Kimberley

Your headline is misleading.

I have not used Angie, but have been so content to sell and buy on Craigslist. Guess it all depends on the person doing the work and the person hiring to have it done too. I never pay a fee on Craigslist.

Give me a break

Hey folks - did you know that Angie's List has an Affiliate Program where affiliates like this author post links to Angie's List and earn a whopping 110% of your initial membership fee?? The author of this ad is clearly an Affiliate, and is making money every time you click any one of their many links to Angie's List.

This "article" is a barely disguised ad for Angie's List under the guise of a review of the site. Paragraph two tells you to "read on to find the ways that it shines and where it falls short", yet the article has nothing but glowing things to say. The article title is also misleading.

I haven't tried Angie's List myself yet - I was hoping for an honest review as to whether the money is worth it. I did not find that here. However, some of the negative comments about how Angie's List goes about soliciting reviews do give me cause for concern. Personally, I've had great luck with Yelp for recommendations and reviews if you're in a city that actively uses it...

Peter Jones

Why on Earth would anyone bother paying to join an online Contractor referral group when they can get Contractors for free just by asking Friends , Co-Workers or Neighbors what Contractors they use.

Failing that there is always the Yellow Pages, Craigslist, Yahoo local or Google, then just ask the Contractor to provide references.

Its not rocket science!!!!

Peter Jones

Why on Earth would anyone bother paying to join an online Contractor referral group when they can get Contractors for free just by asking Friends , Co-Workers or Neighbors what Contractors they use.

Failing that there is always the Yellow Pages, Craigslist, Yahoo local or Google, then just ask the Contractor to provide references.

Its not rocket science!!!!

Guys, since Angie's List went public in 2011, it became a scam operation focused on profit, not on consumer protection.  My relative had a bathroom repaired through a 'highly rated' and very prominently posted contractor on AL.  Turns out the guy was incompetent, destroyed the property, and lawyers had to get involved. Angie's List, we learned, got a hefty kickback from this guy who has had several bad reviews that AL buried. Two subsequent contractor reviews confirmed the incompetence and lack of professionalism (toilet removed to fix bathroom was placed on the FRONT PORCH still full of water).  We settled, got most of the money back from the contractor but AL refused to refund their kickback AND as part of the deal insisted all bad reviews of him be buried.  It is a scumbag operation now.  All proof of how going public can destroy an organization's ethical roots.

For the LA area, you may also find it useful to try a local alternative, http://california-ads.com

Also, among the general alts that are out there, you can try http://freecraigslistads.com or http://craigsflyer.com - pick whichever you want :)

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