If you're thinking of signing up for Angie's List...

LaraJuly 19, 2013

I just signed up for Angie's List and they're running a promo with Paypal where you save 20% if you check out with Paypal. I also had a promo code (PAYPAL2B) and saved an additional 40%. So I got a 2 year membership for $33 (normally $70) when I was planning on paying $39 just for a 1 year! Every little bit helps, especially when all our money is sucked into a new house.

Feel free to use the code if you want, I don't think it's specific to me.

Thanks Gladys1924 for the tip about Angie's List!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You're welcome! I haven't used Angie's List exclusively - some subs seem to think it can be slanted - they say subs can pay extra for more publicity or something. I honestly don't know how it works. But I have gotten some excellent people from it. I am also careful to write reviews about the subs after I've used their services - and I love it when I only have good things to say!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 9:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would avoid Angie's List and instead rely on recommendations from people you know.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes and no. I've gotten recommendations from people I've known, and they turned out to be real jerks. We found our cabinet supplier and our foundation company on Angie's List - both excellent, quality subs...Angie's List is an excellent starting point. Not the only place to find subs, but one of many. I think you also have to trust your gut feelings - your own knowledge about a trade. Although we are "only" owner builders, we are usually intelligent and excellent judges of people.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 9:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good points gladys1924 - with any review site you have to be mindful of the negative ones. I hear they have safeguards against competitors putting in negative reviews, but I'm sure nothing is foolproof.

renovator8 - we are definitely using our friend/family recommendations first and foremost, as I agree, that's the best kind of review. But I still like to do my own research. I'm OCD like that. :) And if my friend gives me a recommendation but then I read nothing but bad reviews for that business, I might not use them. Also, there are some categories where we just don't have any recommendations and we're going to have to rely on Angie's List. And if we don't use it, I figure I'm only out $33. :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Only members can write a review and it is very difficult to get your ad to show up at the top of a search. For that you must pay extra. To get enough reviews you must convince your clients to join and write a review for which they must pay.

I would avoid looking for professional services especially surveyors. Handymen might be a useful category but you can find them on a local bulletin board.

A membership is automatically renewed on your credit card and it can be difficult to terminate it. You can also get a lot of spam ads afterwards. Use a throwaway email address.

This post was edited by Renovator8 on Fri, Jul 19, 13 at 10:36

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

good to know renovator8! Thanks :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I really like the "Big Deals" they have for trying out different companies' services. I have called several of them back for repeat work based on the initial discounted work that they did for me.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Huh? I wrote a review. No one paid me to write it. They didn't control what I said, either. I'm not sure that this company knew that I'm an Angie's List subscriber or that I'd be writing a review for them.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 1:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You paid a membership fee that allowed you to write a review. When you contact a contractor they know where you found them and they want you to write a review and they know about it as soon as you post it; they cannot survive on Angie's List without reviews.

Discounts come from the person offering services not from Angie's List. Offering discounts is one way to put your name ahead of others and increase your number of reviews. That's great for the consumer if price is their most important criteria.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 2:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been told that some subs offer people money for writing reviews, and therefore you can't trust the ratings there. Also, in my area there are very few listings on Angie's List-- not even listings they claim to have in google search. I bought a membership so I could read the reviews they said they had about the roofer I was considering, and once I was a member and could search the database, they weren't there.

Another annoyance for me with Angie's List was that after I joined they kept calling me on my cell phone, even after I asked them to stop. I pay for my minutes.

I've been much happier with Yelp. And it's free. I think Yelp has made Angie's List obsolete.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 9:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I worked there for a few years, but I left almost 10 years ago. I still know a few people there, but I'm not getting any benefit from posting this.

It's a good tool for research, but it is a starting point rather than a research eliminator.

I'm sure some fraudulent reviews don't get caught. I'm also sure there are contractors that offer a discount or payment for a review that haven't been caught yet- but would $50 (which I think is really high for most jobs) be enough for you to give a great review for a contractor that really effed up your house or was a royal pain to deal with? I honestly think we're talking about the difference between "I should write a report" and "I will actually follow through on this." Even so, if AL finds out, those reports will get deleted.

The bigger issue though (and this applies to Yelp just as much) is that the reviews are not necessarily written by people who know what they're talking about. The little old lady might be thrilled at the 2K transmission replacement when her problem was the oxygen sensor.

The homeowners might be glad that the HVAC company saved their lives from their cracked heat exchanger that was spewing carbon monoxide. And there's no way to know whether that company knows to look for it because it happens a lot, or if they're just making stuff up to sell more furnaces.

I doubt Yelp will kill it, at least anytime soon. I know I don't even trust it to find a restaurant, there's no way I would to build a house. And that's not loyalty to AL talking at all, it's bitterness towards Yelp for hiding my measured, detailed review of a mediocre restaurant. It wasn't even a bad review- the food was just uninspired and nothing I would hesitate to make at home. But somehow all of the mediocre or bad reviews got hidden...

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 2:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When push comes to shove, I don't think any website can replicate years of experience and relationships within the industry. Yet another reason we are not GCing our build.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My problem with angie's list is that the results are exaggerated and it's useless.

There are by no means 1,370 businesses in Socorro - there aren't even that many buildings.

I was getting search results for Socorro, but when I called the business, they wouldn't drive that far. Some of the businesses were 200+ miles away!

So I resorted to chatting people up at the farmer's market and the swap meet.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have no experience with Angie's List. But a Google search convinced me that all I need from them is distance.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 7:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've used Angie's list for years. I first started using in Indianapolis and it was great. There lots of businesses and a ton of reviews. I felt like a got some great unbiased opinions. I relied more on it for things that had a great number of reviews rather than just one or two because I felt that those reviews could be biased or "bought" - ie your neighbor wrote you a glowing review.

When I moved to El Paso, Texas it was a totally different story. There were very few businesses reviewed and very few reviews for any one business.

I think it depends on the market you are in. If you are in a smaller isolated area like Socorro (hey former almost neighbor) you won't get the same sort of service as you do in a larger market that really advertises Angie's list.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 8:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would have been far happier if they had shown ZERO results for Socorro than showing results for businesses that would not come to Socorro for projects.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 10:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am from Indianapolis where the list started from. It was a pamphlet that was circulated in the area of historic homes by Angie herself. My issue with the list as it stands today is that they "get it from both ends". Meaning I pay to get an unbiased list - but I know contractors whom also pay to be on the list - and once they have your number they relentlessly call and call that contractor trying to get him to spend money. The list was originally created as a way to "blackball" subs and GC's that would leave a homeowner high and dry. It seems like the only reason for the list's existence is to make more and more money for Angie.

The list is no longer unbiased - and I know the market and people really "play" the game giving discounts for good reviews, etc.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 3:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow. You guys are hard on Angie's List!

I love it, at least in a city that has a large enough population to have a lot of reviews. In Cincinnati I used them very successfully to find: a locksmith, luggage repair, auto repair ( excellent for this purpose ), landscaper (we did a total front yard remodel), dog groomer, water damage repair, waterproofing, appliance repair, clock repair (reassembled grandfather clock after move), firewood, chimney cleaning, and hvac, and computer repair.

Not one time have I been burned, but then I only use people with "A" ratings and several submitters reports. They were all excellent and had really earned their great ratings. I would strongly and enthusiastically recommend ANY of the people I used from AL because they all were sincerely great hires. LOVE Angie's List. Love.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 7:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For me it is a love/hate relationship.

We found our framer, roofer, electrician, plumber and insulator all on Angies List. And although I have not reviewed any of them yet (we just started cutting the hole yesterday!) I am pleased with our communicaion so far. In some cases, we knew of the sub, but checked them out on AL as well, before we bothered them with an invitation to bid. Most of our friends have all GC'd their own houses and in most cases used a lot of the same subs dispite issues or problems that occured for other friends. We'd like to pave our own way, which is why we've explored more AL subs rather than using all the same subs. It has helped us check pricing as well. Competition can be a good thing.

But I also respect what cocontom said. Some people have no business writing a review. They blame a sub for issues that that sub has no direct connection to. The only recourse a sub has is to write a response. And I wonder if most people take the time to read the subs response.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 3:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Someone brought up Yelp, and I have got to say that at least around here Yelp seems to be frequented by people who are dissatisfied with every service they've ever received, anywhere.

My dentist, who regularly gets "Best of" in local magazines based upon votes from colleagues and patients has only a few reviews on Yelp, and they are terrible. But they started out with things like "I have been to many dentists, and I have never been to one with an oriental rug in the waiting room, so I knew I was going to be ripped off, so when he....etc."

Really? I have been to my childhood dentist, a couple specialists and then one generalist as an adult. So "I have been to many..." anything, sets off warning bells in my head.

Same with people who've hated the meals and service "Every Time" they have been to a certain restaurant. How many times do you need to decide you hate a restaurant? It takes me once. I know people (who I won't go out with socially) that manage to lodge a complaint and get something comped at every fine dining establishment in the city. These are the people who post on Yelp.

I think most rating services are skewed one way or the other, so I pretty much only rely on actual referrals. It makes things difficult when trying to find someone, for sure.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 4:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree that it depends on where you live. I find it incredibly helpful. As with any feedback, it can be biased. Many contractors outside of Angie's will give cash or a discount on future biz for a referral. On Angie's you can look at the reviewer's history, which I find really helpful to see if someone is an easy grader or a complainer. One time Angie's called me because they suspected one of the companies I used was giving discounts for a good review, but that was not my experience. So I think they try to keep it honest.
I disagree that they automatically bill you. You can set up auto pay or get a renewal notice by mail or email.
The best thing about Angie's is that I find contractors to be more responsive. I don't know if it is because they want a good review or they assume if you bought an Angie's membership you are serious about doing a project.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 6:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You know what else? If you ever have to call Angie's List, someone I think in Indy ANSWERS THE PHONE. No lie. And they're very friendly and helpful. Calling them was a pleasure and incredibly refreshing compared to getting someone in India after being rerouted several times.

And regarding Yelp, there are reports they extort businesses by pulling positive reviews that "seem like they might be spam" from the site ... then call the business and say they'll put the positive reviews back on the site ... for a fee.

So it's unethical to the businesses and damages credibility to the users.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:50AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
is/has anyone built a frank betz home?
Just wondering... Which model? We are currently considering...
Induction cooktops.... Do you have one?
I am doing research on what is out there as far as...
We have started construction!!
We have just started construction of our new home in...
Jack Mason
Well Water
For those of you with well water only. What systems...
Don Gardner Callaway Plan - anyone have pictures
My wife and I are considering building the Don Gardner...
Scott Carson
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™