Angies List Review
May 31, 2009
Angies List reviews of local contractors are written by consumers who share their positive and negative experiences on a range of home improvement services. Angie’s List members submit ratings of contractors they’ve worked with; such as plumbers, electricians, painters, and roofers.
Angies List Trial
I first tried out Angies List when a co-worker let me login to his account and search for local painters in our area. I had Angies List coupon codes but couldn’t find one that offered a free trial so he volunteered to let me test it out using his account. My first step was to find painters simply by searching on the category “Painting – Exterior” and choosing painters in a 10 miles radius, as shown in the image below. As you can see, the other search options are to look for a keyword or to search on a company’s name.
There were 17 painters listed in the results, about half had good reviews. Angies List has members use a rating scale of A-F; there were two F’s, one D, two C’s, four B’s, and 8 A’s. Obviously the contractors with good ratings were the ones I wanted to research but first I was curious to see why some of them had been rated poorly.
A contractor’s overall score is made up of ratings on price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality, and professionalism. Here’s the breakdown of one person who rated a local painter a C. People also leave comments explaining their ratings, this one was pretty brief but pretty much sums it up “PAINT JOB TOOK TWO WEEKS LONGER TO COMPLETE THAN ORIGINALLY PROMISED”.
Some of the ones that rated the painter as F or D had much longer explanations. That seemed to be the case of the majority of reviews, people that were satisfied left a brief summary but people that were unhappy went into great detail describing step by step what happened and why they were so angry.
Then I moved onto some of the companies that were rated for good service. The interface on Angies List shows a snapshot of the latest customer reviews; the score, the date, and a blurb of the review, you can see an example below.
Reading through the feedback made me realize that the best way to use Angies List is as a screening tool.
Every person’s experince is different and I shouldn’t choose or rule out a contractor based soley on one review.
For example, the D rating you see in the screenshot was given because someone called the company for a bid for work and never got a response.
Of course, if it was a trend and lots of people were reporting the same thing you might worry but a D rating from one person that didn’t get an estimate shouldn’t rule them out. Reading through the reviews kind of reminded me of the customers I worked with on eBay. The majority of people are fair and resonable but occassionally you run into an irrational customer with unreasonable expectations that wants to tell the whole world how bad you are even if it was just based on a misunderstanding .
Angies List Signup
After testing out the service I decided it would be worth my money so I signed up for Angies List. It’s only a two step process, first you fill out the screen below that creates your account login and let’s them know what local market you’ll be searching for contractor reviews in.
Then you enter in the age of your home and your address. At first I wondered why they needed my address but after reading through the site I saw as part of the membership you receive a monthly Angies List magazine with home improvement and remodeling tips so they need it to deliver the magazine.
Although there is no free trial for Angies List just to test it out, they do have a monthly option that’s only $4.50. I probably would have gone with that option just to try out the site but since my co-worker let me mess around with it under his login I knew what the site was all about and felt like I’d get enough value out of a longer term. The annual option gives you a 35% discount so that was the best one for me. Plus, they offer a 110% money back guarantee for the annual option if you’re not satisfied with the service. Angies List does offer an even bigger discount for terms of two, three, or four years but I wasn’t sure if I’d need it for that long, we’ll see how much use we get out of it the first year.
They do charge a one time signup fee to become a member but there are promo codes for Angies List that will waive the fee for you.
Angies List Discounts
After I logged in and looked around some more I ran across another aspect that I had overlooked, a lot of the contractors offer a small discount if you mentioned you found them via Angies List. It wasn’t anything major, maybe 5-10% off your bill but I suppose if it’s a big job that could add up.
Another thing I hadn’t noticed was the Discounts and Perks section on the site that offers coupons for deals on a variety of items. A lot of them I wouldn’t use but there were a few like discounts on travel sites such as Orbitz, Delta, Holiday Inn, and Southwest that might be useful. Some of the discounts were pretty sizable, like the 50% off of a subscription to Experian’s Triple Advantage Credit Monitoring service or 50% off newspaper subscriptions. Another one that was interesting was the ability to buy discounted movie tickets for local theaters, the only bad thing is that they mail you the tickets so you’d have to plan that out in advance. Anyhow, the whole point of the site is to find good contractors but I guess they offer these discounts to help members make sure they get their money’s worth.
Angies List Review
Overall, it seems like a good screening service to help find contractors in your area that have a history of quality work and customer satisfaction. I don’t think Angies List would be useful for people that don’t live in or near big metropolitan areas. The real value of the service is getting feedback from other consumers on a variety of contractors in your area. If there aren’t enough people in your town that use the service then there wouldn’t be many reviews and a membership wouldn’t be as effective.
However, if you live in or around a larger city I think it can be a useful service. If you decide to try it out, just make sure you use a promo code so you can wave the signup fee.
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All posts by Ben Edwards