My Bad Experience With Angie's List

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Small Law Survivor
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My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by Small Law Survivor » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:08 am

I had a number of different projects I needed done around my house this spring, and I couldn't seem to find a local handyman to do this work - it seems like everyone is very busy, and a lot of people that did this kind of work have retired. So, I went to Angie's List and found a company that had almost uniformly good reviews - 54 reviews, almost all "A's". "In business since 1980." The few bad reviews were in the nature of "they didn't return my call."

So, I hired them and boy has this been a disaster - they sent a new "crew" to do the work (I learned this when I asked some of the workers how long they'd been working for this company - "three weeks.") T'he work was obviously deficient, grossly so, and had to be redone in places. They pulled workers on and off the job with no communication to help transitions. The company owner - who seemed very knowledgeable before I hired then - has been nowhere to be seen; no inspection, no contact at all, even after job completion.

I had them stop work before they even completed my punch list - frankly, I wanted them off my property.

The lesson I draw from this - You can have 54 great reviews on Angie's List, and still be incompetent. I realize this was one experience, and you can't generalize, but still ....

One further thought - I'm reluctant to give them a bad review on Angie's List. They are local, they obviously know where I live. Is it worth the risk of some form of retaliation to write a bad review, even if that risk is very small? Probably not. And, contractors can respond on Angie's List, and who wants to get into a fight on social media?

I wrote this post in part in the hope that venting would make me feel better about this situation. Not sure it worked ... :annoyed
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

kaneohe
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by kaneohe » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:13 am

Perhaps the owner is not even aware of your concerns? Perhaps your feedback to them would be helpful......private if you are concerned about being public.

mrsbetsy
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by mrsbetsy » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:28 am

Angie's List, Yelp, Diamond Certified, BBB --- these are all "pay to play" type of sites.

We are small business owners and refuse to play - especially with Yelp as they are particularly nasty.

Best bet is word of mouth. Check with your neighbors on Next Door or a local group.

I'm sorry you had such a terrible experience. Everyone should heed your warning.

barnaclebob
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by barnaclebob » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:33 am

Take pictures and post them. Its hard for the owner to refute junk work aside from flat out denying your were his customer. Dont worry about retaliation.

drjazz
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by drjazz » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:35 am

I have had great luck with Angie’s list I moved last year and did renovations on old and new homes. I found mover,hvac,electrician,mason,tree expert,landscaper,plumber based on large numbers of favorable reviews. All were top notch. Ymmv I guess

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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by Hockey10 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:40 am

Contact the owner directly and let him know what took place (he might not be aware of the situation). Tell him you will be giving him an F rating on Angie's List if he does not fix the problem immediately.

I had a problem with a contractor about 10 years ago. After I threatened him with the F rating, he came out the same day I contacted him and fixed the problem. I never did a review for him on Angie's List, nor did I ever hire him again.

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Bogle7
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Why expect different?

Post by Bogle7 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:43 am

I am shocked that companies that pay HomeAdvisor (who owns Angie's List) have almost uniformly good reviews.
I cannot imagine that HomeAdvisor would toss negative reviews into the rubbish bin.

Yelp and NextDoor are better sources, in my opinion.

It is why I review everything I can. Almost 1200 reviews in 15 years on Yelp. It is to help others.
Last edited by Bogle7 on Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cherijoh
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by cherijoh » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:52 am

:thumbsup for word of mouth. I used to use Angie's list when it was a paid service, but I don't like their current model.

I am fortunate to have a good handyman - who (you guessed it) came from word of mouth. I have asked him for recommendations when the job wasn't in his skill set - i.e., painters for my house exterior when I discovered a previous house painter retired. My old lawn guy (who has since retired) recommended a tree guy when I had a dead tree. I have since used him to trim the branches hanging over my house.

I also have a friend who is very thorough in her research of any contractors and who has exacting standards. She's the one I ask first if I need someone to do a job. If a contractor meets her standards I know they will meet mine. :happy

fru-gal
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by fru-gal » Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:55 am

I hired a company with good reviews and a good reputation to paint my house last year. They did an unspeakably terrible job via a crew that did not speak English and obviously had no idea of even simple painting methods like masking off adjacent areas, and did thousands of dollars damage as well. I am also afraid to post a bad review, since yelp tells them the name and address of the reviewer.

The owner was no help whatsoever. I would not even allow anyone from that company on my property again, as everything they touched they made worse.

I would like to warn other people about this company, but don't see a way to do it without possibly endangering myself or my property.

I have looked at Angie's list in the past. I am not sure why its reviews are supposed to be better than other sites'. They clearly aren't.

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HueyLD
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by HueyLD » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:07 pm

Home repairs/improvements is an industry full of scams.

I have used Angie's list in its current unpaid format and am totally underwhelmed with their recommendations. The companies it selected did one of the following things: did not respond at all, responded after a long delay, came to my house and replaced some small part for $250 even though the part only cost $3.76 on Amazon and the trip charge was already paid for, or quoted me an amount way above other quotes (obtained outside of the AL).

I know this may be a YMMV thing, but I am done with the AL. And like some prior posters, I didn't dare to post negative reviews even with 100% factual data for fear of my personal safety.

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Small Law Survivor
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by Small Law Survivor » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:44 pm

Yes, I have let the owner know how unhappy I am - no response so far.

I am an active user of Next Door, but have found no help there.

"I cannot imagine that HomeAdvisor would toss negative reviews into the rubbish bin." Sarcasm, I trust?

" hired a company with good reviews and a good reputation to paint my house last year. They did an unspeakably terrible job via a crew that did not speak English ..." My workers did not speak English, with one exception.

"Home repairs/improvements is an industry full of scams." Guess we have no choice but to live with this.

"didn't dare to post negative reviews even with 100% factual data for fear of my personal safety." This is how I feel. Even if the risk is minuscule, what's the upside to taking it?
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

Starfish
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by Starfish » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:59 pm

The review industry is based on blackmail: you pay, your score is good and negative reviews have less weight or get discarded. You don’t and they get heavier weight and become more prominent.
Sometimes (if not most of the time) they are just fake, written by paid people or bots.

BeneIRA
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by BeneIRA » Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:33 pm

The problem with review sites, even assuming everyone is being honest, which is a large assumption, is that most people who have everything go well won't post a review. If I go to a McDonald's and everything is exactly what I expect from a McDonald's, I am not posting a 5-star review. I expect McDonald's to be good at being a McDonald's. Now if cashier calls me an idiot and I get a hamburger with a bite already taken out of it, then I will post a bad review.

The issue you are running into is partially "The Guesthouse Effect" or the tragedy of the commons. The Guesthouse Effect is when people only post good reviews because the owner(s) or one of the workers were nice even though you weren't satisfied. You wouldn't give the woman who gave you a big hug and was the nicest person you have met all year a bad review, would you?

The tragedy of the commons is one I personally fall into all the time. I consume reviews like Cookie Monster devours cookies, but I rarely post one myself. What is to be gained by me from me posting a bad review? Maybe the owner will respond and I will feel bad. Seems like low gain to me. Unfortunately, it doesn't help anyone else.

Best of luck. Sorry this happened to you.

DoctorPhysics
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by DoctorPhysics » Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:59 pm

I learned you won’t get the best service or price from those pay to play rating sites. The worst pricing I got was from folks advertising their services through those sites, for example I had 3 whole house repipe quotes and 2 were within 1k of each other while the 3rd was nearly double and would charge me 3x what it cost for pulling the permits from the city (silly move because that is publicly available information).

The best service I have gotten for major home repairs was also the most reasonably priced.

Miriam2
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by Miriam2 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:11 pm

Several years ago we needed outdoor home maintenance help quickly and found "done.com" - the site owner called and gave us a local handyman who came out with his associate immediately, worked very hard, had all the tools, and did a perfect job. I see that "done.com" has merged with another company, but may be worth a try nonetheless.

likegarden
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by likegarden » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:21 pm

done.com is now services.porch.com, Google says.

graeme
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by graeme » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:25 pm

A flooring and woodworking contractor years ago came and had a large 'Angie's List' sign on their truck. The contractor kept trying to substitute cheap, low quality wood and paint items when others were specified. Basically, there were trying to minimize costs to just get the job done and get paid before we noticed the substitutions. When called on it, they became rude and unprofessional. We ended up banning that firing that contractor.

Since then, Angie's List to me indicates a likely shady contractor that does poor quality work.

Texgal17
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by Texgal17 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:34 pm


I have used Mr. Handyman in the past for some maintenance items and they did a good job. It’s a franchise so not sure where they are located other than my area. They came in a marked commercial vehicle and wear uniforms. As a female this made me feel better. They offer all sorts of trades and services. Maybe google to see if in your area. Good luck!

palaheel
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by palaheel » Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:00 pm

We had a similar bad experience. The contractor never showed up, and claimed he'd done the work. He even sent an invoice as "proof." We had pictures, but Angie's List wasn't interested. We disputed the credit card charge, and never heard anything more from anybody.
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:02 pm

Hockey10 wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:40 am
Contact the owner directly and let him know what took place (he might not be aware of the situation). Tell him you will be giving him an F rating on Angie's List if he does not fix the problem immediately.

I had a problem with a contractor about 10 years ago. After I threatened him with the F rating, he came out the same day I contacted him and fixed the problem. I never did a review for him on Angie's List, nor did I ever hire him again.
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Broken Man 1999
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:06 pm

I have had mostly poor experiences using the various handy person sites as well.

When my neighbors or I find a good person, we share them and don't try to nickel and dime them to death.

I would rather pay more than to take a chance with a random person on the net.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by JohnFiscal » Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:19 pm

BeneIRA wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:33 pm
Now if cashier calls me an idiot and I get a hamburger with a bite already taken out of it, then I will post a bad review.
This actually happened to me once. The Saturday morning that I had a migraine and feeling ill. McD was a madhouse. I ordered my Quarter Pounder and eventually get it, then sit down. Opened the box. It had a photo-perfect bite taken out. This was wrong on several levels (putting returned food back up for sale?).

This was at the particular McDonalds in Oak Brook Terrace, Illinois that for years served as a test bed for their Oakbrook, Illinois headquarters.

retire2022
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by retire2022 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:03 am

I found the social media sites were worthless for my vacation home in an rural area less than 3000 people, where cell service is less than stellar (open signal.com will allow for visual service areas where contractors could call back) people don't know how to say no, we are not interested, or call back timely within reason.

So Homeadvisor/Angie list did not list any contractors with any reviews compared to local press, white pages, or phone directory. The contractors are what I call "pick themselves up by bootstraps", but feel entitled and insulted when you go with multiple bids.

Some of the contractors recommended to me, I google their names, phone numbers and found two had arrest records, one couple, husband died unfortunately of opioids.

I recommend you check against better business bureau, local commerce for complaints and https://www.spokeo.com/ for legitimacy of business.

Make sure you ask for liability insurance and additionally insured, this will separate the cash and carry contractors, if they get hurt on the job. Also be aware the contractors could counter sue and hit you with a mechanic lien, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanic%27s_lien) which is a lawsuit for unpaid work. I had to consult my attorney which cost me money to extricate myself from a handshake contract.

good luck
Last edited by retire2022 on Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

fposte
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by fposte » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:11 am

retire2022 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:03 am
Social media sites for my vacation home in an rural area less than 3000 people, where cell service is less than stellar (open signal.com will allow for visual service areas where contractors could call back) people don't know how to say no, we are not interested, or call back timely within reason.
I find that's pretty common in my area too and may be across the board. I think it's a combination of admin/management not being the skills of the people who run the work and ghosting just being a norm for smaller jobs. My favorite was the guy who called to say he couldn't find my house and was going home. (No, it's not a hard house to find.)

HomeStretch
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by HomeStretch » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:14 am

I found my (great) contractors through word-of-mouth. They are so busy that they do not need to advertise. Not one bothers with Home Advisors/Angie’s List. A couple tried it and said the sites and some of the customers were a hassle.

mrsbetsy
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by mrsbetsy » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:00 pm

It's worth the $4 to watch Billion Dollar Bully on Amazon.


https://www.amazon.com/Billion-Dollar-B ... way&sr=8-1

Our experience as small business owners confirms the evidence in this movie.

rebellovw
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by rebellovw » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:47 pm

Small Law Survivor wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:08 am
I had a number of different projects I needed done around my house this spring, and I couldn't seem to find a local handyman to do this work - it seems like everyone is very busy, and a lot of people that did this kind of work have retired. So, I went to Angie's List and found a company that had almost uniformly good reviews - 54 reviews, almost all "A's". "In business since 1980." The few bad reviews were in the nature of "they didn't return my call."

So, I hired them and boy has this been a disaster - they sent a new "crew" to do the work (I learned this when I asked some of the workers how long they'd been working for this company - "three weeks.") T'he work was obviously deficient, grossly so, and had to be redone in places. They pulled workers on and off the job with no communication to help transitions. The company owner - who seemed very knowledgeable before I hired then - has been nowhere to be seen; no inspection, no contact at all, even after job completion.

I had them stop work before they even completed my punch list - frankly, I wanted them off my property.

The lesson I draw from this - You can have 54 great reviews on Angie's List, and still be incompetent. I realize this was one experience, and you can't generalize, but still ....

One further thought - I'm reluctant to give them a bad review on Angie's List. They are local, they obviously know where I live. Is it worth the risk of some form of retaliation to write a bad review, even if that risk is very small? Probably not. And, contractors can respond on Angie's List, and who wants to get into a fight on social media?

I wrote this post in part in the hope that venting would make me feel better about this situation. Not sure it worked ... :annoyed
I had the EXACT same experience with Angies List.

I needed a new deck in the back yard installed with landscaping and railing.

I found the best company on AL based on reviews and number of reviews.

The owner came out - and seemed very knowledgeable - and in fact through our conversation I found out he was in the Navy as a machinist when younger - which my father was - so I felt - this guy would be great.

The project started well but the lead guy was pulled off and other guys joined. Like you I asked them and found out they were only on the job a couple of weeks even days ("I used to install spas..." )- and really didn't seem at all to have decking skills.

My deck was all jacked up and terribly - done - I was extremely angry - and forced the "machinist" to bring back his lead guy - which he did. I had to micro manage the project the entire time and question all their decisions.

I was pleased when finally done - but I've now since encountered issues. I've pulled all my reviews of this guy and have not posted anything negative - though I desperately fight myself on this.

I'll never use Angies List again - I've even received a refund from Angies List for their auto-resubscription deduction process which really angered me.

This guy had a terrible work ethic - not at all like my father - he is no machinist as far as I'm concerned.

OnTrack
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by OnTrack » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:28 pm

mrsbetsy wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:28 am
Angie's List, Yelp, Diamond Certified, BBB --- these are all "pay to play" type of sites.
A business can be listed free on BBB. I used to find Angie's List useful when it was a service paid for by the consumer. Since it became a free service to the consumer, I don't find it useful. I have had good luck hiring plumbers, locksmiths, etc. using BBB. It's fine to hire companies that are listed free (i.e., that are not BBB accredited).

https://www.eversparkinteractive.com/ho ... ss-bureau/
"There’s a common myth that you have to pay to be listed on the BBB. That’s not exactly true—a paid account comes with serious benefits, but you can get listed for free if you prefer. Here are the differences:

- Free listing. A free listing essentially just means your business information appears on the BBB (if it didn’t already) and that your information is up to date. It also allows you to manage your listing and try to achieve the coveted A+ rating. However, you do not get a link from the BBB website and cannot use their badge.
- Paid accreditation. Getting your business accredited means you submit to an (easy) review process and the BBB certifies you meet their standards. You get the same benefits as a free listing, plus a valuable link to your website. You can also use the “Better Business Bureau Accredited” badge on your own site to establish credibility with your customers."

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Ged
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by Ged » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:58 pm

mrsbetsy wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:28 am

Best bet is word of mouth.
This is what I have found as well. If you have one tradesman you are happy with ask him about other people he has worked with or for. I found my electrician through a furnace installation. My bathroom remodel was done by somebody recommended by the electrician. My bathroom remodel contractor recommended a carpet cleaner and a plumber.

And so on.

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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by investor4life » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:45 pm

I realize that this may not work in every situation (e.g., for jobs that are small enough that a handyman suffices), but for larger jobs (e.g., HVAC) I've had good luck going through Costco. My assumption that the contractor must be good in order to have satisfied Costco's quality control has been borne out on these occasions. The pricing is also good once you factor-in the 10-15% Costco cash card that you receive in return.

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F150HD
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by F150HD » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:21 am

JohnFiscal wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:19 pm
BeneIRA wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:33 pm
Now if cashier calls me an idiot and I get a hamburger with a bite already taken out of it, then I will post a bad review.
This actually happened to me once. The Saturday morning that I had a migraine and feeling ill. McD was a madhouse. I ordered my Quarter Pounder and eventually get it, then sit down. Opened the box. It had a photo-perfect bite taken out. This was wrong on several levels (putting returned food back up for sale?).

This was at the particular McDonalds in Oak Brook Terrace, Illinois that for years served as a test bed for their Oakbrook, Illinois headquarters.
.....wow that is beyond. Can't make something like that up.

mrsbetsy
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by mrsbetsy » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:36 am

investor4life wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:45 pm
I realize that this may not work in every situation (e.g., for jobs that are small enough that a handyman suffices), but for larger jobs (e.g., HVAC) I've had good luck going through Costco. My assumption that the contractor must be good in order to have satisfied Costco's quality control has been borne out on these occasions. The pricing is also good once you factor-in the 10-15% Costco cash card that you receive in return.
Ha! Your assumptions are not correct. The vendor must be desperate enough to endure the low margins, but certainly high volume from Costco. We do not even try to compete as those customers are not our customers.

In the same vein, Home Depot customers are not our customers either.

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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by gd » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:49 am

Absolutely the worst tradesmen I've had were the top-rated Angie's List contractor/carpenter company in my area. They were bad in almost every respect-- skills, materials, knowledge, scheduling, honesty. Owner's business model was good Angie's List reviews. I totally fell for it. Ruined a year of my life, disruption to house/lifestyle long term.

I assume they can defeat bad reviews somehow, but if you don't even try you're part of the problem. Don't give opinions, give facts. Focus on specific indisputable events or items, with photos and factual details to avoid he said/she said exchanges. They aren't going to throw a rock through your window.

BTW, in my smallish town I've had no luck with neighbor's recommendations. Turns out people recommend their friends and relatives. Currently trying nextdoor, with mediocre results. Best solution appears to be writing my house's value down, and letting it quietly run down to preserve my mental health.

retire2022
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by retire2022 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:57 am

gd wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:49 am

BTW, in my smallish town I've had no luck with neighbor's recommendations. Turns out people recommend their friends and relatives.
My neighbor’s nephew is one of the GCs i asked to redo the roof, my neighbor did not recommend him nor did he follow up in regards to what I really needed.

Silence was telling. Small towns life sucks with contractors.
Last edited by retire2022 on Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

Turbo29
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by Turbo29 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:29 am

mrsbetsy wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:36 am
investor4life wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:45 pm
I realize that this may not work in every situation (e.g., for jobs that are small enough that a handyman suffices), but for larger jobs (e.g., HVAC) I've had good luck going through Costco. My assumption that the contractor must be good in order to have satisfied Costco's quality control has been borne out on these occasions. The pricing is also good once you factor-in the 10-15% Costco cash card that you receive in return.
Ha! Your assumptions are not correct. The vendor must be desperate enough to endure the low margins, but certainly high volume from Costco. We do not even try to compete as those customers are not our customers.

In the same vein, Home Depot customers are not our customers either.
The HVAC/Plumbing company that is in all of the Costcos here is anything but desperate. They are probably the largest HVAC company here, in an area where summer temps get to 115F+. The company is not the cheapest but they do good work and stand behind it.

They may endure low margins when they install the system but if you use them on an ongoing basis they make it up.

FI4LIFE
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by FI4LIFE » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:26 pm

Go to your local lumber yard and describe the work you need done. I'm talking about real lumber yard (not home depot). Ask the sales clerk if he/she can recommend anyone or tap on a contractors shoulder and ask. Professional paint stores are a good place to shop around too since a lot of painters are handymen as well or they will know one that they use when they come across rotten boards, sheetrock repairs etc.

fareastwarriors
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Re: My Bad Experience With Angie's List

Post by fareastwarriors » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:37 pm

How about we share our preferred list like a Boglehead approved list of professionals. We have members all over the US and the world. We can probably cover many areas.

I know a good one in the SF Bay Area. He's always busy though but worth the wait.

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