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.

Angieslistpainters

Contractor Ratings

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.

Angieslistratings

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.

Angieslistgoodreports

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.

Angieslistsignup1

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. 

Angieslisthomeinfo

Membership Options

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.

Angieslistpromocode 

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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Ben

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Ben
Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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Comments

21 Responses to Angies List Review

  • Jeremy Metzger

    How do you know if people who rated the business actually used the business, and don’t just have a grudge with the family owned company? This could be unfair to the business.. Also it could be the other way around. There could be someone just trying to drum up business for a certain company.. I guess I am asking, how do u know the review is legitimate?

  • R Burley

    We used DONE RITE painting from Angie’s List and I must say that the work that was performed was excellent. I would used them again in any home repairs or painting that I needed done. I was given a qoute on the job and there were no hiding charges or surprises when the job was finish. Their work was outstanding as I previously stated and some work was performed that was not in the contract and I was not charged for that. This company is plesant to have in your home and Chris is a professional.

  • M. D. Vaden of Oregon

    The best I can do, is relay my experience to others.

    My first encounter was an email that my landscape and tree company got a review on Angie’s List. So I started a contractor connect page. The review was by an actual customer, who gave all “A” ratings and commented they got more than their moneys worth. That review also fits the nature of my own testimonials page at:

    Later, last autumn, another person gave me an “F” rating. I never talked to them by phone, nor gave an estimate or worked for them. They had merely emailed, and did not like that I give free estimates if other bids requiring a license are from licensed contractors. Angie’s List confirmed that people like this can give ratings which affect other ratings, even if they have never so much as talked to a company.

    Just this last week, another person who I worked for recently, submitted a complete “A” report, also stating they got more than their money’s worth.

    So there are the facts, without even interjecting my opinion.

    Two separate customers who I worked for, both gave an A in every category, plus extra positive comments. And the one other person who I never met or talked to, gave an F with extra negative commnents. The person who gave an F, dropped my companies overall rating to a “B” for about 4 to 5 monthe.

    At least once, I have mentioned or written to Angie’s List, that they should consider listing ratings separately, for people who have and have not hired a service.

    Cheers,

    M. D. Vaden of Oregon

  • Cheryl Reed

    Thanks for the shout-out, Ben, and welcome to the List!

    Mark — we’re always looking for categories to add, and expansions usually come from member ideas, so keep ‘em coming.

    And Jim, you’re absolutely right. The value of the List is tied to reports. That’s why we offer free membership when we first enter the market and ask new members to help us build the List into a more valuable resource. So don’t despair if you’re in a new market — we’ll get there, and we’ll get there faster with help from members who offer up their insight.

    Right now, we’re focused on our health care report drive and are offering a great gift to those who submit a certain number of reports.

    See Angie’s blog for details:
    http://www.angiehicksblog.com/Blog/May-2009/The-sound-of-music-and-health-reports.aspx

  • Jim

    One thing to look at is the # of reviews in Angie’s list for your city. You can see that here: Service Provider Directory

    If you live in a smaller city with very few reviews then Angie’s list is probably not going to be too beneficial. But if your city has a lot of reviews then it would give you a lot more information and prove more useful.

  • Mark

    Angies list is a great service and could broaden it’s consumer base by adding more than home services and doctors. We think they should also include payday lenders.

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