I had been putting off writing this review until I finished adding a garage to our house last year. So now that’s it’s done, (are construction projects ever done?) I feel that I can adequately review my experience with Angie’s List.
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I used Angie’s List for to hire several contractors, from a masonry contractor to drywall and electrical, so I can give you an honest assessment of how the process works and how it provided value to me.
Now Angie’s List is not just for construction and home repairs, they have reviews on all those types of services, but also on dentists and doctors all the way to car repair shops, child care providers and hair salons. They really have expanded they types of reviews they off in a big way in the last few years.
Why is Angie’s List Awesome?
There really are 2 major reasons:
1. Companies’ can’t pay to be on on Angie’s List. It’s 100% by customer referral only. So you know that a company can buy their way in. Angie’s List also has a process to prevent companies from reporting on themselves.
2. Real people are giving you their real experience with local companies in your area. Good and bad. No anonymous reviews. It’s like a friend is telling you what they think about the company they hired. You can’t get a more authentic review than that.
Both of these reasons lay the foundation for a pretty honest platform to help you determine which service provider is the best for you.
A Quick History of Angie’s List
It was started by Angie Hicks back in 1995, when she and some friends were frustrated by the process of trying to find reliable contractors in the Columbus, Ohio area. So she decided to start a list to help homeowners sort through the good and bad service providers.
The simple process starts with putting in your local zip code, so they can show you the companies in your areas, They cover almost all major and minor metro areas from Charlotte to San Diego.
Once you put in your name, email and other information, you pick a membership plan. Simple through and through.
Cost – Membership Fee
There’s no free trial for Angie’s List , but you can sign up to a monthly membership or do a yearly membership. If you go monthly, you’ll have to pay an activation fee, usually $5 or $10 depending on your location, but not if you go with the yearly plan.
Monthly plans are between $3 and $5 per month depending on where you live, and you can cancel any time, no contract.
Annual plans don’t have the signup fee and are also cheaper. If you do a 1 year plan, it’s $39, which averages out to $3.25 per month. It gets even cheaper when you increase the years. A 4 year member ship averages out to just over $2/month.
Variety of Services and Companies
Basically the List is broken out into 2 Main lists which require separate memberships. One for the Home (the original Angie’s List) covering home, yard auto and pet, and one for health and medical companies, called Angie’s List Health and Wellness, that covers every medical and fitness category under the sun.
Reviews are easy to find. Once you sign up and log in, do a search on a particular topic, and it lists all the companies in your local market relating to your search, next to each one is a review section. Reviews can be ordered by date or highest ratig to lowest rating to make it easy to find the most highly recommended server provider in your area.
Once you’ve hired a contractor, you can post a review and even upload pictures of your project (like I did) to give the review a real and complete feel. This gives others some perspective on how big or small your project was and how well (or not) it turned out.
Companies are also allowed to respond to reviews so you can get the whole picture. Sometimes people who hire these companies can be pretty unreasonable or too extra picky, so the company can respond to a negative review. I often find that how a company responds to a negative review tells a lot about them.
I actually feel more comfortable with a company who may have a couple negative reviews, but respond to each one and try to make it right. Angie’s List with show you the complete picture.
I hired a masonry contractor to pour the slab and do the walls on my garage addition and I was extremely satisfied. I even posted pictures when I was done. I also used Angie’s List to find a drywall contractor and an electrician. Again, I was very happy with both of them. I did attempt to hire an electrician from Angie’s list that I had a bad experience with, so I left a review with details so others could decide for themselves.
Angie’s Added Services
- Angie’s List will also help mediate between the homeowner and a company if a project goes bad.
- Live phone support
- Discounts from service providers only posted for Angie’s List members
Overall -My Recommendation
If you’re doing any kind of home project, a renovation or an addition, you will need to find highly recommended contractors, so it’s a good value, given the low monthly cost. And because they have monthly plans, you can cancel it when you’re done with the project.
But my experience has been that even when I was done with my project, I found myself checking out AL for lots of other things. My natural tendency was to just check Angie’s List out of curiosity, but then we ended up using it month after month to look for a new dentist, a person to do a landscape project, and nail place for my wife.
So overall, after you project is done, instead of cancelling, you can use it for every day things. The yearly plan ends up being pretty cheap, around $3/month, and you get the peace of mind knowing you’re going to hire a reliable company for the job.