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Terry's Forum Posts: 5
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By Terry in Portland, OR on 7/28/2007


Has anyone used Angie's List? Was it a good or bad experience? I've heard that not only owners, but subcontractors also, pay to be on Angie's List. I've talked to some subs who don't advertise at all because they get so much work from word of mouth. It made me wonder if only bad contractors who lack work get onto Angie's List.
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By Anonymous on 7/30/2007


Hi Terry! I work at Angie's List and came across your post. I'll leave it up to other folks to give overall experiences about the List but wanted to clarify one thing, companies do not pay to be on the List. The only way companies can get on Angie's List is by a member submitting a report on that company. Also, companies that advertise with Angie's List do by invitation only and must have and maintain a grade of A or B to advertise with us. Thanks for the mention about Angie's List and hope you get valuable feedback from this post. Please let me know if you need anything further.

Thanks!


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By Miriam in San Antonio, TX on 8/5/2007


Hi, I had never heard of Angie's List before and glad it was brought up but I read some of the Q&As on the website and it states they have a 110% guarantee, but also states no refunds. Does that just apply to the month by month membership? Also, do you have a big selection in San Antonio, TX? I have tried Service Magic and they stink here in San Antonio because there is not a huge selection for each trade.

If anyone else out there has any experience with Angie's List please share. It would be great for us owner-builders to have another reference point.


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By Jeff in Hartland, WI on 6/12/2008


Hi Terry,

I've used Angie's List for several years and find it to be a great resource. It might be useful in finding subs, but most of the companies entered on Angie's List specialize in home repair, remodeling, etc. I've contacted a couple of companies referred on Angie's List who told me they don't do new construction. However, I just had a roofer come out to my existing house to give me a bid on a repair, and handed him the plan to get a bid on the new house. It might be worth a try.

Jeff


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By Rich in Suffolk, VA on 12/27/2010


I recently tried Angie's List. My opinion is that in an area where Angie's List is very mature with numerous, robust reports, the info is probably worth the monthly membership fee. For my area, however, it isn't, so I tried it for a month and am terminating my membership. 

Looking back, I searched hard for a good Realtor, soil scientist, surveyor, and excavator. I fully believe I found the very best and I have prices and proof of quality work to back up those claims. Not a single one of those individuals was listed on Angie's List. I had to painstakingly add each name, and then make a long entry detailing their work.

I joined with the hope of finding a concrete contractor. I contacted everyone on the list who had a positive review. A few responded, but none gave me bids. The guy I'm most likely to use I found myself on the Internet. I checked and he has no review on Angie's List.

In summary, I'm a tightwad. Everything I own and spend money on must somehow benefit me. Angie's List for my area does not. If it were free, I would use it. But instead, I found myself making long entries without obtaining anything for the time I was spending.

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By Jeff in Hartland, WI on 1/30/2011


I thought I'd post an update on this thread. The last time I posted, I hadn't started building my house yet...


I did use Angie's List for a few things on my list. That roofer I mentioned in my previous post? Did a great job putting the roof on the new house. And I saved about 30% over the other bidders. I also found somebody to clean out the ducts, do landscaping, etc. I use Angie's List just about every time I look for a new service provider. And I have yet to be disappointed by a recommendation from Angie's List--I only consider companies with high ratings and recent reports.

That being said, most of the consumers who submit reports on Angie's List are worried more about day-to-day repairs than about building a new house. That probably doesn't matter for something like laying tile or exterior painting, but does matter for an electrician, plumber, or HVAC contractor. So I'd say that Angie's List is a great resource. And you'll probably save money and/or get better-quality subs using recommendations from that site. But be sure the subcontractor you select has experience with large-scoped jobs. 

Jeff

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By Jo-Lynn in Issaquah, WA on 2/7/2011


Hi Terry,

I signed up for Angie's List so that I would have an additional place to check up on potential bidders. I use it like I use the bbb.org site pretty much -- research and customer satisfaction checking. In our area (outside Seattle) there's a fair amount of content on Angie's List in many trades, but I agree with the previous poster that the list tends to be more for those looking for repair or replacement rather than building from scratch. On the left side of each vendor's page there is an area that I always look at first: they can indicate the kind of work they DON'T do. I look there for new construction being listed and then I know whether I can consider them or not.

Most of my really good subcontractors (actually just their bids, at this point) have come, just as others have said, from word of mouth. Interestingly, many of them aren't listed with Angie's List OR the BBB. I'm guessing that's because they mainly interact with GC's, not the homeowners themselves.

One of the things I've thought about is that, when a company deals with consumers rather than GC's, they have to spend money advertising. Every penny spent there probably equates to some markup in any bid you would get from them. Many of the Angie's List subs had website URLs shown -- tells you more about what they do, etc. but is also an expense for them to maintain. The way the AL site is set up, they drive you towards contacting vendors through their mail system rather than reaching out to them directly. Normally that's OK, but I still have a message to one company sitting in a queue -- it never went out! 

I would speak to people who've recently built a house and see if they have recommendations they'd make for various trades. My banker has been a veritable fountain of information about good and bad subs! I asked a lumberyard for material bids and then asked them for referrals that they had faith in. In some ways, you need to stop thinking like a consumer and start modeling more like the GC. I'm pretty convinced that's the way to succeed. 

Would I use Angie's List? Yes, as part of my research arsenal to confirm what others might be saying about a particular company. Companies only get onto Angie's List when consumers rate their experiences with them -- that's very valuable information to consider. But I don't think I would depend on them as a first-tier source of labor and supplies, because they're generally not focused on what we're doing here -- building from the ground up. Just my two cents...


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By Jo-Lynn in Issaquah, WA on 2/11/2011


Hi again, Terry,

One other thing I wanted to highlight about the subcontractors on Angie's List -- my GC pointed it out, actually. Since they're mostly focused on remodels and repairs, their bids will have terms that are appropriate for a regular consumer doing a small job. Without some additional negotiation on terms, they'll likely NOT fit into a construction loan disbursement process. 

I found an excavation company through AL and asked for a bid for site work and foundation. When the bid came, the terms were 50% on signing the contract, 35% due at foundation inspection and remainder done at final grade -- and we're talking about a total amount in excess of $60K. Not that I would have accepted the terms anyway, but the construction loan disburses the month after work is done, by the 10th, when appropriate invoices are submitted to the GC and plugged into the spreadsheet the bank expects to see -- and they must sign a lien release with each payment or they won't receive subsequent payments until they've release the previous phase. New construction is a lot different than adding a concrete patio or patching a roof, to be sure!

So just another thing to be aware of if you search on Angie's List for subcontractors! There are definitely some people worth considering there and they've already reviewed by AL subscribers. Just be diligent about confirming/negotiating construction-loan friendly payment terms for their work!


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By Jerry in Germantown, MD on 12/14/2015


Like anything it can be a hit or miss.. I've had siblings use Angie's list and they thought it was very helpful. I definitely will give it a try.
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