When we first moved into our house, I started using Yelp and Craigslist to find contractors for repair jobs where we didn’t have referrals from our Realtor. We had success with finding a floor refinisher and a mover via Yelp. I had a much harder time finding good reviews or resources for smaller tasks like woodworking or bee removal. A friend mentioned that she always found good service people throughAngie’s List.
Angie’s List Membership Fee
The thing that had prevented me from joining Angie’s List was the fee. In Los Angeles, it’s $4.50 a month or $45.25 for the first year ($35.25 a year after that.) I opted for the latter since I expected to use them for more than one month.
Then I discovered the abandoned wasp’s nests in my eaves. I searched Yelp, but couldn’t find anything local. I reluctantly joined Angie’s List and found several reviews for local companies. I called one that had good reviews and reasonable prices. They came out an hour later (on a Saturday morning). They were done in 15 minutes and did more than I asked!
We had a contractor I found on Craigslist give us an estimate to fix some cabinets, but he flaked once we decided to hire him (no money changed hands.) I found three more on Angie’s List, as well as some door contractors to replace a door. When we call and mention Angie’s List, they’re always quick to return calls or arrange for estimates.
The reviews system is the best part. Not only do you see customer summaries of services performed, but you also see the price they paid and the age of the house they worked on, so you have some idea whether the contractor is appropriate for your needs.
Angie’s List actively encourages members to leave reviews. Due to my husband’s surgery, I didn’t contact any contractors immediately after investigating them. Angie’s List called about a month later to see if I was ready to leave reviews for them.
In some categories, you’ll see some results highlighted in yellow at the top. Based on how other sites operate, these appear to be sponsored results. I typically read these results, but I also scroll down to find other contractors with good ratings who aren’t sponsored results. In fact, I typically ignored the sponsored results with few reviews in favor of the unsponsored results with many reviews.
Angie’s List has reviews for all types of services, even doctors, but I think it’s really best for homeowners. The home repair business is so full of shady operators that it’s worth paying a small membership fee to find trustworthy contractors. Although it’s not complete protection, a contractor with more than a couple reviews and several A grades is probably more reliable than someone you found on Craigslist.
Angie’s List doesn’t operate in the categories where Yelp excels (restaurants and local shops), so if that’s all you need, don’t bother joining Angie’s List. If you just need one service, consider asking a neighbor instead of paying for reviews. For example, we hired our gardener because he knocked on our door and told us our neighbor had sent him to see if we needed help. (It was a couple days after I told my neighbor after my husband’s surgery.) In that case, we chose him without other estimates because he already works at 3 or 4 houses on my street – that’s the best reference of all.