Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

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Small Law Survivor
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Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by Small Law Survivor » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:43 pm

I have a lot of work I need to do on my house this spring/summer, and I'm having a difficult time finding people to do it through personal contacts. I've always been reluctant to use Angies List (although I did use it many years ago). I don't know if this reluctance is well-founded, but I'd rather find people through neighbor referrals and personal contacts than an online marketplace. But, that just may not be possible.

And, to make things a bit more complicated for me is the almost constant advertising of Homeadvisor on cable TV (CNN/MSNBC). Angies list advertises also, although I'm aware that Homeadvisor acquired Angies List a couple of years ago. If you didn't know better you'd think they were competing services.

Any advice on which of these services to use (or another one) would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
68 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names

stupidkid
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by stupidkid » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:57 pm

I've had success with Angie's when cross referencing other sources. Of late been checking out nextdoor for neighborhood referrals.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:06 pm

Make sure you're clear on how companies appear on these sites, how they get ranked on them, etc. Paid vs. reviews, and whether reviewers might get an incentive.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

cherijoh
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by cherijoh » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:22 pm

stupidkid wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:57 pm
I've had success with Angie's when cross referencing other sources. Of late been checking out nextdoor for neighborhood referrals.
I used to use Angie's list but dropped my membership years ago. I recently went back to the website and asked to be contacted by qualified providers. The companies that contacted me sent emails thanking me for finding them through Home Advisor.

I was looking for an alternate vendor to clear my gutters when the company I had been using didn't bother calling me back (after 2 attempts by me to make contact). For smaller jobs like a gutter cleaning, I prefer the old Angie's list model where I could find potential service providers, look at their reviews, and visit their website before I contacted them.

I was very annoyed with the HomeAdvisor model because you are basically fish bait. I was referred to a company that sells replacement gutters that don't need to be cleaned - which I had specifically asked them to exclude from my search results (based on prior experience). These guys were very persistent and called and emailed multiple times even after I emailed back that I wasn't looking to replace my gutters. It's almost like a paid advertisement that pops to the top when you do an internet search. Quite often only peripherally related to your original request.

runner3081
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by runner3081 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:02 pm

I have used Thumbtack.com for a few projects lately. No issues at all.

1) Plumbing leak
2) Drywall repair
3) Roof

Also, if you have a local neighborhood on nextdoor.com, there are good recommendations on there (as someone else mentioned).

Joe Bladi-Blada
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by Joe Bladi-Blada » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:38 pm

I've had good luck with checkbook.org . It's only available in certain areas, though.

orlandoman
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by orlandoman » Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:54 pm

With Angie's list, you read reviews & contact the service provider directly. I have used Angie's list for many projects & have always been happy with service provided, from plumbing to roof repair to heat pump replacement.

Homeadvisor is a lead generating website, not a service provider. They generate leads & then sell them to service companies, I think for between $20-$50 each.
"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

mrsbetsy
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by mrsbetsy » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:34 pm

All of these are "pay to play" types of sites. Yelp is the worst. Best thing to do is ask your neighbors on Next Door or some other local site.

drawpoker
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by drawpoker » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:47 pm

OP did not specify just what type services he was seeking but I agree with others here that HomeAdvisor is not to be trusted. For a variety of reasons.

If I can't find a neighbor or friend who can vouch for recommend home repair people, this is what I do:

For painters, I go to our local SW store and ask the manager. They know which painters buy quality paint/supplies, and which don't. Which ones are well-established, pay their monthly accounts promptly, and which don't. Which ones stay very busy and have plenty of satisfied customers, and so forth.

For roofing repairs I did the same thing at our local bldg supply store (Not a Lowe's or a Home Depot, doubt if this method would work in Big Box environments) Just asked the manager who he would hire among the local roofers. Based on his knowledge of what they regularly buy. Quality grade, or cheap materials just enough to get by. So far managers have been very receptive to this approach, and willingly shared their "insider" info with me.

As I say, this method likely won't work in Mega Cities. But if you are in a small town, or medium-sized suburb, it is worth a try. The worst they can do is say no.

FWIW, when a tree trimming company was too booked up to get to me I asked the foreman what he thought about
using "John Smith" as a 2nd choice. Since the job I had was not going to be terribly difficult and would only require one man.

HIs answer was, "Oh, John doesn't always work alone, if he lands a big job, he just signs inmates out of the detention center for the day as helpers".

Yup, after checking, found out this was 100% true statement. :shock: :( :oops: Close call!

Nukie
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by Nukie » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:07 pm

I've hired several contractors in recent months to do some relatively expensive work at my home. After learning the hard way in past years, I've developed something of a process that I now use.

First, I start with the Better Business Bureau website to identify contractors near me for the type of work I want, and sort the results to focus only on those that are rated A+ and that have also gone the additional step of becoming BBB Accredited. Then I look at the results in order of distance from my home, and try to identify several candidates that have been in business for 10 years or more. If that doesn't give me several viable candidates, then I back off and look at those that have been in business for 5 years or more. The BBB website also gives some useful information on complaints received, number of positive reviews, and often points me to each individual company's website (where I can do some more research).

Second, I go to the website for my state's registrar of contractors and verify that the viable candidates have current licenses and no disciplinary actions.

Third, I look at other sites (Angie's List, Yelp, etc.) and see whether the contractors have other reviews that were not posted on the BBB site, and what their overall average ratings look like.

I finally make my selection on the basis of years of experience and overall positive "vibes" received from reading reviews. When I decided to replace the underlayment for my tile roof late last year, for example, I ended up with a company that had been in business for 30 years, was BBB Accredited and A+ rated, and had about 300 positive reviews summed over multiple websites, without any negative reviews. I couldn't be happier with the work that company did for me, and for a very, very reasonable cost to boot!

retire2022
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by retire2022 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:22 pm

OP

It depends on the area in which you reside, I have a vacation home and have run into that issue, those social media (Homeadvisor & Angie list) sites don't work with bluecollar workers and and residents who are not computer savvy or access to a computer or smartphone or lack of internet.

The town in which my vacation home is located the population is 2800, and with high poverty rate one would think they would be knocking down the door for work, not the case.

Most contractors would not keep appointments, return phone call, nor willing to provide an estimate, hopefully you don't have that in your area.

good luck

miamivice
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by miamivice » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:25 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:43 pm
I have a lot of work I need to do on my house this spring/summer, and I'm having a difficult time finding people to do it through personal contacts. I've always been reluctant to use Angies List (although I did use it many years ago). I don't know if this reluctance is well-founded, but I'd rather find people through neighbor referrals and personal contacts than an online marketplace. But, that just may not be possible.

And, to make things a bit more complicated for me is the almost constant advertising of Homeadvisor on cable TV (CNN/MSNBC). Angies list advertises also, although I'm aware that Homeadvisor acquired Angies List a couple of years ago. If you didn't know better you'd think they were competing services.

Any advice on which of these services to use (or another one) would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
In our community, we have active community Facebook groups. A lot of folks solicit for names of contractors there, and a lot of people make comments about those who are recommended. In my opinion, this works better than any website.

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Mlm
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by Mlm » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:37 pm

I found my current handyman on nextdoor.com for my area. Neighbors are happy to give recommendations. I have also seen references given on a community facebook page.

I never trusted Angieslist or Homeadvisor although I know people who have used them.

themesrob
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by themesrob » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:51 am

I think it does depend a lot on the area, but a combination of Yelp and BBB has helped me on several occasions. (Yelp is most definitely not the "worst." Obviously have to read the reviews with a critical eye, but I think the reviews for service providers like plumbers/electricians are often more helpful than the "the waiter looked at me funny"-type restaurant reviews.) Now that I'm in an area with a very active NextDoor community, I'd try that too next time. I would not venture into the lead-generation/advertisement world of Angie's/HA.

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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:08 am

I would trust BBB less than anyone else. I'd rather have those inmates mentioned working on my house.

My BBB story. Horrible roofer who I complained about leaks after they did a complete re-roof. He sub-con's a bunch of apes to come and slather tar all over wherever the leaks were pointed out. This did nothing. I put in a BBB complaint after about half a dozen attempts by these clowns to fix it. A month later, I check online and it says zero complaints. I find my complaint and it says "resolved". I call BBB and they tell me that the roofer told them it's resolved. No notice to me, no inquiry. So understand that whoever you complain about is the judge in whether the complaint is outstanding or resolved.....and you can guess what they're going to say.
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peseta
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by peseta » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:37 am

Joe Bladi-Blada wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:38 pm
I've had good luck with checkbook.org . It's only available in certain areas, though.
If you live in an area that Consumer's Checkbook serves, that is the only reliable, dependable source of unbiased reviews I would rely on. They are fantastic. Like a local Consumer Reports.

peseta

mrsbetsy
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by mrsbetsy » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:08 pm

themesrob wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:51 am
I think it does depend a lot on the area, but a combination of Yelp and BBB has helped me on several occasions. (Yelp is most definitely not the "worst." Obviously have to read the reviews with a critical eye, but I think the reviews for service providers like plumbers/electricians are often more helpful than the "the waiter looked at me funny"-type restaurant reviews.) Now that I'm in an area with a very active NextDoor community, I'd try that too next time. I would not venture into the lead-generation/advertisement world of Angie's/HA.
You must not own a business if you don't think Yelp is a crooked operation. They call us regularly asking us to advertise with them. Each time we decline, they take our good ratings/reviews and make them "not recommended" and hide them.

ALL of these are pay to play. Even the BBB.

Your best bet is your neighbors and word of mouth. This is how we've been successful.

gd
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by gd » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:26 am

The absolute worst experience I've ever had with a tradesman was the top-rated Angie's List contractor in my area for small/midsize renovation. I hate dealing with these guys, and thought AL would be my rescue. It was so bad I cancelled the job in the middle and ended up paying $30k for at most $20k of work, walking away for my mental health. This guy was ok at Home-Depot-installer-level jobs, clueless at anything more challenging, and genuinely good at one and only one thing-- using Angie's List and exploiting the shallowness of the ratings. It was his business strategy. I've tried Nextdoor for little stuff since, then, but mostly made a rational, thoughtful decision that I'd just be one of those guys who lets their house decay as they get older, and Angie's List is the reason.

Totally separate-- back when they had no free level they were treacherous at sneaking in autorenewal of your membership. Be very careful giving them a credit card number unless it's a one-use number such as from BofA's ShopSafe feature. Now I assume they make money from selling placements.

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stickman731
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by stickman731 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:37 am

I have use Home Advisor for small electrical and Pumbling job that are outside me field of comfort. Both were excellent.


I also verified that they are currently licensed (NJ - https://newjersey.mylicense.com/verification_4_6/) and ask if they have insurance. For the license verification, I would just Google - STATE and contractor licenses to see if they have an available database.

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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:40 am

Asking if a contractor has insurance is a good first step.

A better step is to require that a contractor provide proof of workmen's compensation insurance as well as liability insurance. In many cases, contractor will have to contact their insurance company to have this proof generated as current. Seeing a policy from 3 months ago doesn't tell you that it's in effect today. Of course a simple fix job is much different than having major construction work done.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

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Small Law Survivor
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by Small Law Survivor » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:59 am

Lot of sad, disappointing stories here. Nextdoorcom is active in my area, but I don't get many referrals from that source.

My favorite here "mostly made a rational, thoughtful decision that I'd just be one of those guys who lets their house decay as they get older, and Angie's List is the reason."
68 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names

themesrob
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by themesrob » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:00 am

mrsbetsy wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:08 pm
themesrob wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:51 am
I think it does depend a lot on the area, but a combination of Yelp and BBB has helped me on several occasions. (Yelp is most definitely not the "worst." Obviously have to read the reviews with a critical eye, but I think the reviews for service providers like plumbers/electricians are often more helpful than the "the waiter looked at me funny"-type restaurant reviews.) Now that I'm in an area with a very active NextDoor community, I'd try that too next time. I would not venture into the lead-generation/advertisement world of Angie's/HA.
You must not own a business if you don't think Yelp is a crooked operation. They call us regularly asking us to advertise with them. Each time we decline, they take our good ratings/reviews and make them "not recommended" and hide them.

ALL of these are pay to play. Even the BBB.

Your best bet is your neighbors and word of mouth. This is how we've been successful.
Many have sued under that theory, but unfortunately it has never held up to scrutiny. I understand why business owners may feel like their rating is unfair. But the real issue in the online consumer review world is fake positives - not just with yelp, but on amazon, google, etc etc. Here's a good Planet Money episode about the issue: https://www.npr.org/templates/transcrip ... =623988370

so it's understandable why positive reviews are more heavily scrutinized.

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Small Law Survivor
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by Small Law Survivor » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:51 pm

Certainly agree that in the world on on-line reviews "fake positives" are more of a problem than fake negatives.

And the "I was given a copy of this book to review ..." disclaimer on Amazon are not reassuring.
68 yrs, semi-retired lawyer, 50/40/10 s/b/c, 70/30 dom/int'l. Plan: 4% WR until age 70, 3% after social security kicks in. Boglehead since day 1 (and M* Diehard before that) under various other names

mrsbetsy
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Re: Angies List v. Homeadvisor v. ???

Post by mrsbetsy » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:36 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:51 pm
Certainly agree that in the world on on-line reviews "fake positives" are more of a problem than fake negatives.

And the "I was given a copy of this book to review ..." disclaimer on Amazon are not reassuring.
Not true. Competitors give poor reviews to their competition all the time. There are plenty of fake negative reviews.

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