It’s all about who you know. At least that’s what our fathers have been telling us for ages. This is especially true when it comes to getting home repairs done and getting them done right.
There was a time when if somebody needed home improvement help, perhaps a plumber to fix that nagging leaking sink, they’d simply do it themselves.
If they didn’t have the know-how to DIY it, they’d either ask friends and family to find the (unlucky) helper or they’d call around town looking for the best quotes from several plumbers.
The problem is that everyone is a self-proclaimed professional. Time and time again you’d hear horror stories regarding botched jobs and people getting ripped off by two-bit contractors.
Then someone came along and decided that there must be a better way to connect customers with contractors. Her name was Angie Hicks.
Fast-forward 25 years and Angie’s List is still going strong. As one of the first success stories of the internet, Angie’s List (Angieslist.com) is a verified review website and has been hanging around since the beginning.
I’m sure you’ve already heard the name, but we’re here to tell you exactly what Angie’s List is, how much it costs, and why it’s still relevant for customers like you to use.
What Is Angie’s List?
Angie’s List is a home service review platform that enables customers to find the best local service providers for the job they need done. Angie’s List members are able to find the most reputable service providers for a range of jobs, including plumbers, roofers, mechanics, doctors, dentists, and more.
As one of the first review service based platforms, Angie’s List paved the way for how everyday people find everyday things, like goods and services.
It provided a means for people to make confident decisions when it matters most. Decisions that involve your home, your family, and your belongings require a great deal of trust. Angie’s List provides that with its comprehensive reviews and ratings so you can find high-quality service providers.
How Does Angie’s List Work?
Members of Angie’s List provide reviews of service companies they hire for a job. Other members are then able to decide on their future service provider by reading through these reviews and comparing Angie’s List ratings.
After a customer receives the service, they’re required to leave a detailed, open, and honest review of the company. This review won’t be anonymous in order to allow the service provider to give feedback or, in the case of a poor review, his or her side of the story.
The comprehensive ratings and review system is based on an “A” to “F” scale and covers job details like:
- Project cost
- Company response time
- Overall quality of work
In order to maintain the legitimacy of the review system, there are measures put into place to make sure nobody is abusing the service and that members are always seeing truthful reviews.
For example, members are only allowed to provide a review for a company once every six months. This prevents people (or shady business owners) from creating false reviews that make the company look better or worse, depending on their motives.
Also, all reviews go through an Angie’s List staff check to weed out any irregularities or falsified information. Occasionally local businesses will try to create fake buzz around their company, which can result in a swift removal from the site.
You’ve been hearing all of this “service provider” talk, but you may be wondering what types of jobs are listed on the site.
Types of Jobs on Angie’s List
There are more than 720 different types of services with ratings and reviews on Angie’s List. That pretty much encompasses any service you could ever think of, in nearly every metropolitan area in the United States.
Looking for a landscaping company? That’s an easy one, check. What about a pet groomer? Those are on Angie’s List too.
As you can tell by this screenshot, the list goes on and on, and these are only the top categories. Imagine how obscure of a service you could find on Angie’s List if you really needed to.
We decided to dig for some random (and weird) services that Angie’s List provides. What did we find? A few that stuck out were a pet bakery (yes, they do exist) and a provider who will install a basketball net in your driveway. It seems like you can find a service provider for any random task you don’t feel qualified to do yourself.
Do you see a service that’s jumping off the page? Something you’ve been meaning to get done for ages? If you’re not already signed up, here’s a quick guide to get you set up in no time.
Getting Started on Angie’s List
If you have a project around the house that you need completed or you’re looking for a service provider (like a dentist) in your local area, then Angie’s List can be your go-to resource.
Signing up for an Angie’s List membership is free and easy to do. If you love the results, you can even upgrade to the paid service. But let’s get you set up first.
To sign up for the basic Angie’s List membership, head to the Angie’s List website. From there you’ll go to the “Join Now” link at the top of the page.
After clicking on the “Join Now” link you’ll need to create an account by entering your email and password.
Next you’ll complete the sign-up process by entering the rest of your personal details, including your full name and address.
After that, you’re free to start looking for your next service provider! Since you entered your address while setting up your account, all of the listings and search results will be in your local area.
How to Use Angie’s List
There are a few different ways you can search for the many services and companies on Angie’s List. One of the ways is to type in what you need. You can also click below on some of the popular services in your area. Some of the more popular options are handymen, carpet cleaners, or painters.
You can also search for deals in your local area. This is a great way to solve those household problems you’ve been putting off for a while now.
Let’s say you’ve been wanting to paint a spare bedroom for months now but haven’t had the time or resources to do it yourself. A 30 percent off deal for a painting service might give you a reason to finally get it done.
Once you’ve found a company you think might be a good fit, you can look at the company’s thorough profile. Included in company profiles are in-depth details that you can use to make an educated and trusted decision.
You’ll be able to find crucial information like whether or not the service provider is licensed and insured, what services they provide, contact information, and much more.
Don’t forget about what Angie’s List is built on — its abundant consumer reviews. You’re able to look at user reviews from a high level or dig deeper and read individual experiences of past customers.
The interface makes it easy to hop around between different types of reviews in different service categories that the company might also be serving. You can also see overall grades of the company that are broken down by things like price, professionalism, and punctuality.
You can get an even better sense of trust and comfort with a company when you start getting into individual customer reviews.
In these customer reviews, you’ll find a description of the customer’s experience with the company and the work that was completed. You can also see how much the customer paid, when the work was completed, and if the customer would hire the company again.
This is a sparkling example of a great customer review of a plumber. However, some of these reviews aren’t so sparkly clean.
You may come across some negative reviews that are riddled with F ratings and “Would not hire again!” comments, but that’s the whole point. You can avoid those companies like the plague and only choose to do business with top performers in your area.
Angie’s List Membership Tiers
Up until 2016, Angie’s List was a paid membership only. Lucky for you, the basic membership is now free for everyone to use.
The Green membership is the most basic option, which we highlighted above. It gives you access to all online reviews to help you make your decision and also leave a review for companies you previously hired.
If you want to receive an upgraded level of Member Care Support, you can sign up for the Silver or Gold memberships. This will give you access to additional services and perks, however, what those additional services and perks are is quite elusive.
Angie’s List breaks down its membership tiers like so:
- Green Plan — Free: This will give you access to anything needed to make your decision on a service provider.
- Silver Plan — $24.99 per year: This plan gives you a print Angie’s List magazine subscription, a few coupons and exclusive discounts, and added chat and email support if you need it.
- Gold Plan — $99.99 per year: You receive everything mentioned above, plus more coupons, the Complaint Resolution Team, and Home Concierge.
What is Home Concierge? Well, it seems a little murky, but from what we gather it’s a service that handles your job details from start to finish. This includes dealing with the contractor, handling quotes, and scheduling work times.
The details surrounding membership tiers were quite a pain to track down. After searching far and wide on nearly every single inch of the Angie’s List website, we were unable to find premium membership pricing, benefits, or even how you can upgrade to the Silver or Gold level.
At the beginning of our search, we were lead to our account page where it shows our current membership plan.
We currently have the Green plan which gives us pretty much everything we need, plus it’s free. Since we weren’t able to find pricing or features information anywhere on the website, we had to get ahold of Angie’s List directly regarding our membership upgrade. This was entirely inefficient to say the least.
So away to the Member Care Chat we go. Say hello to Cesar, our member care specialist of the day. Cesar was extremely helpful, however, you could tell he was doing whatever he could with the cards he was dealt.
We started off by asking Cesar about the elusive benefits and pricing we were struggling to find on the Angie’s List website. He claimed they were in the FAQ section of the website. Spoiler Alert: They aren’t.
Cesar did provide us with pricing and a direct link to a full comparison chart of the membership tiers. This is quite helpful as it lays out the benefits of each tier and paints a very clear picture. You would think this chart would be front and center, but it’s nowhere to be found on the Angie’s List website.
Since this extremely useful pricing information and chart were obviously not on the front page of the site, we asked Cesar why all of this pricing and feature information was hidden.
He replied that they’re currently transitioning their site to a new platform and that this information will be available shortly to its members.
We feel that this is a huge miss on the company’s part to not include the most basic membership information that anyone would need: features and pricing.
To top it off, the tiers that Angie’s List offers seem pretty lackluster. You’re paying a premium price and not getting a whole lot out of it, especially the Silver tier. With this tier you’re pretty much paying $19.99 for a few coupons and a chatline that we just accessed without even being a Silver member.
As far as the Gold tier goes, you have access to Home Concierge, but we did our research and still struggle to fully understand what it is. Are we missing something here? Please comment below and let us know if we are being completely ridiculous.
But we digress. The Green tier (also known as “Free”) gives you everything you’ll need to set up your next job. Let’s get back on track and give you some helpful information on how Angie’s List handles their contractor screening process.
A big selling point for Angie’s List is that you can find companies and service providers that have been screened and received background checks. Angie’s List uses a third party to perform two types of checks: a criminal background check and a sex offender search.
Business owners or acting managers are required to complete background checks every two years. The checks are performed in the state where the company is located and encompass the following:
- Criminal Background Check: This check looks for relevant criminal activity within the past seven years. The comprehensiveness of this check will vary by state depending on the local laws and legislation.
- Sex Offender Search: This check makes sure there’s not a match (based on the name of person) to the consolidated state sex offender information.
Not all companies on Angie’s List have undergone a background check. Only top providers that are Certified Service Providers and have an A or B rating are required to pass a background check. Companies that are given a Super Service Award are also required to do so.
As you’re searching through the listings for your next service provider, you’ll see an Angie’s List Certified badge, like the one shown above. This means the company (owner or manager) has passed a background check.
It’s important to know that background checks are not performed on every employee of that company. Only the owner or relevant manager will be screened, meaning some of the employees who will be working on your job haven’t been screened.
With this in mind, it’s vital that you always do your own due diligence before deciding on a provider.
If someone has failed a background check, they’re barred from advertising anywhere on the site, they’ll be removed from any search results, and they’ll be marked with a “Background Check Failure” on their listing.
Angie’s List always wants to ensure that you feel safe and confident making your decision. If you ever have any questions or concerns, there are a few different ways you can chat with Angie’s List.
How to Contact Angie’s List
If you ever need to get in touch with Angie’s List customer service regarding an account issue or contractor dispute, there are a few ways you can do so. Depending on your membership tier, we can’t promise that they’ll be able to help you with every request, but it’s worth a shot.
The contact information for Angie’s List is as follows:
- Account & Membership: Head to your account page and click the “Chat About My Membership” link
- Online Message: Go to the FAQ page for Green members and click on the “Send A Message” link to email a care team member.
- Phone Number: The only number we found was their Business Center call center: 1-866-843-5478. Who knows, it may work!
Make the Right Choice for Your Next Job
Regardless of how inaccessible some of the pricing and membership information was, we still think Angie’s List comes in handy for finding your next service provider.
Sure, you could always use another review site, like Google or Yelp, to try to find reviews on companies, but it doesn’t provide the added benefits that Angie’s List is known for. The provided security of background checks and organized information, like price charged for a job and an elaborate rating system, help Angie’s List stand out.
While we don’t completely agree with the premium Angie’s List tiers, membership fees, and membership benefits, you could always do your own research and decide for yourself. But as far as we’re concerned, the free option will give you everything you’ll need.
Good luck on your next project!