5 Reasons Not to Join Angies List

April 27, 2011

Angies List is a great way for current or soon-to-be homeowners to find local contractors to do work on your house or property. We use Angies List and I’ve written about it a fair amount on this site but it’s not for everyone. I had a reader email me about the site after reading my Angie’s List review and it turned out that it wouldn’t make any sense for him to join because he lived in a town where local reviews aren’t collected.

Obviously, I’m all about saving money so I don’t want to suggest that you sign up for a membership that you can’t use. In light of that, I’ve put together a list of 5 reasons you might not want to join Angies List.

1) No Contractor Reviews in Your City

The main benefit of the service is hearing and reading the experiences other consumers had with individuals and companies they’ve worked with. If you go to search on a certain type of review and there are only two pieces of feedback for your area it’s not that helpful.

To avoid situations like this, Angies List has certain criteria they use to determine whether a city will generate enough consumer reviews to make it worthwhile to potential customers to sign up for the service. Here’s a list of cities with Angies List reviews, if you don’t live near one of them then the service won’t do you much good.

They are adding new cities as demand appears, if you want to signup for my newsletter, I can let you know when new ones are added.

2) Extremely Specialized Work

As I mentioned in the first point, the big value of Angies List is that you get a good sample of feedback on someone before you decide to hire them.  However, if you’re in need of a very specialized service that may only turn up one or two reviews in your area, then it won’t do you much good to check on that kind of work.

If you have a question about whether a specific service is reviewed you can contact Angies List, their customer service has always been helpful for me and they might be able to answer your question about a specific type of work in a certain area. 

You can also contact me with questions – I won’t be able to look at service providers in your city but I can get an idea of whether the kind of contractor you’re looking to hire gets reviews in a major metropolitan area – and if so how many.

3) Emergency Work Needed

The great thing about Angie’s List is that it helps you find the best service for your needs.  I’ve explained before that I like to choose three different providers that meet my criteria and get bids from all of them.  Then I pick the one with the best price and service for us.

If you’re having an emergency, you don’t need the best, you just need someone to fix your issue. For example, if the water main downstairs is spraying water and filling up your basement.

This does bring up the the other big benefit of Angies List, it helps you avoid deadbeats and people out to cheat you.  When I follow my process it accomplishes both, eliminates crooks and finds the best provider.  But if you’re in a major hurry you don’t have time to go sign up and search for providers.  If you’re already a member, it doesn’t hurt to go pull the most highly rated name and call them.  But if you’re not, call a person you really trust to get a quick referral who can show up immediately.

Pre-Screening Contractors

This also brings up the point that it’s not a bad idea to do some research before you have an emergency.  It’s probably worth your time to spend a few minutes finding the top providers for a few categories, like plumbers, electrician, heating/cooling, roof repair, etc.  Basically things that you might have to call about right away – like a water main break, if the heat quits middle of the winter, or a big leak in your roof on a stormy spring day.

Then over the following few weeks, call them up and find your favorite. Make a list of your tops picks and keep it somewhere handy.  You might want to pick two of each in case one is busy or unavailable when you do call in an emergency.

4) You Don’t Want to Give Reviews

Angies List has grown to the point that there are millions of users around the country leaving feedback, so chances are you can get first hand reviews of companies you’re thinking of working with.  Users have a vested interest in leaving reviews, particularly once you’ve found a good provider on the site.  If you find a quality company, you want to share it, with the understanding that the other members will do the same and you’ll be helping each other out.

Of course, you can still be a member and lookup reviews even if you don’t leave your own feedback but it’s not as helpful to the people in your community if you don’t.  I’ve actually felt guilty about that in the past year, I’ve been so busy I haven’t taken much time to leave my feedback. But what I’ve found out is that Angies List actually has employees whose job it is to just call up members and ask them to give their reviews over the phone.  While driving home from work last week I gave reviews on our HVAC contractor, pediatrician, dentist, and lawn mowing company.

5) You Don’t Think It’s Worth the Money

If you don’t want to pay for a membership, I know how you feel.  You already have enough expenses, you don’t want to add one more.  But I did give away some free Angies List memberships just a few months ago and I’ll be doing it again in the future. If you’d be interested in winning a free membership, enter your email below.

In terms of cost, Angies List has recently reduced the price of a membership.  Their logic in dropping the price seems to make sense. They know that the more people they have using the service, the more valuable it is to everyone. 

They realized that by reducing their prices they’d actually help consumers in two ways.  First off, the lower cost would save new members money and get more of you to join and give people more access to the service.  Secondly, the larger number of people using it makes the service more valuable – basically customers get a better price and more value.

So if you’ve checked them out before and price was a concern, you might want to take another look.  You can also save money when signing up with these Angies List discounts.


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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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3 Responses to 5 Reasons Not to Join Angies List

  • Barbara

    Another reason not to join — the contractors are contacted by Angie’s List once you give them a review. They are badgered on a regular basis that if they pay a monthly fee, they will be “moved up on the list”. So here I am thinking I am getting UNBIASED CONSUMER REVIEWS and I am actually seeing contractors who are paying to be on the list! I know this for a fact – a contractor I had reviewed is getting weekly calls from Angie’s List! Angie’s List, however, tells me that contractors only pay for “Advertising” and consumer coupons!

  • Jeff

    I have looked at Angie’s List in the past put couldn’t understand why I had to pay when there was so much free info online I could find. It makes sense if you need to use the service frequently or maybe for a short time signup to get real reviews. The points you make answered some of the skepticism I had. Ironically, I just saw an Angie’s list Ad on TV a few days ago and it said the service was free to use so maybe it’s time to give them another look. Thanks for the updated review. Wish I would have seen your free membership giveaway earlier.


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