Kitchen design tips...Angie's List vs Home Advisor
References for your new kitchen
Should you have referrals for your new kitchen?? Yes...No matter how you're going to go about a new kitchen project (all-inclusive or al-la-cart), the very first step is service and product reviews.
So, what to do? Angie's List vs Home Advisor or your brother-in-law? I'll enlighten you on that issue but first I have a question for you to contemplate.
An average new kitchen could be $30 - 50,000... How many expenses of that monetary scale in your life come with no regulation, no FDIC, SEC or IRC...no lemon laws, no legal representation and no measuring gauge from brand to brand ? Very few.
The point is that you're sort of on your own intuition when it comes to replacing an entire kitchen. So you'll take all the credible advice you can get, right? Here's mine.
If you want several hungry contractors buying your contact information and aggravating you for business...Use Home Advisors (formerly ServiceMagic).
If you want genuine reviews written by real end users, pay for an Angie's List membership. Go ahead and skip over the free stuff and get a paid membership, it's annoying to use it any other way.
I am basing my recommendation as a user of both services myself, and as a K & B business being reviewed by previous clients. If you'd like to know how and why to use Angie's List to your best advantage, read a little more.
The Angie's List agenda
Angie's List (A.L.) charges you the consumer for their services. But what you are paying for is the assurance of reliable reviews. The product and service suppliers do not have to pay, but they do have to join and then be found by consumer members. If 'Custom Kitchens' wants to be recognized for their good work in town, all they have to do is join Angie's List...but, they'll have to wait for actual Angie's List members to report on them and earn their reputation. That could be a long time.
So, to catch up quickly, A.L. helps Custom Kitchens with some simple "review, fold & mail' forms to hand out to their current (happiest) customers with a request for owner to fill out and submit...a 5 minute thing.
So, Mr. & Mrs. Hap E. Clients send in a nice review on Custom Kitchens by mail with the required return contact information...address and phone number and email. So, A.L. now has a review written by a non-member in their hands. Hmmm.
What they do is they validate the submitter as a bonafide referral. Of course they also solicit the submitter to become an active Angie's List member...which many do.That original review carries zero weight as a reference until they submitter is validated.
Only if they then convert to new Angie's List subscriber, does that reference become available for all members to see.and carry the full weight of an honest review.
Anyone trying to manipulate the system fails when they get confirmed and asked to join AL as a consumer...see what I mean?
If all that leaves you shaking your head, just trust me, the advertized statement of ridiculously reliable reviews does hold up for Angies List.
If you'll notice, you'll find no link here to Angie's List or Home Advisor, there is no hidden agenda here either.
Home Advisor agenda
Home Advisor (H.A.) has been around a long time. Consumers do not pay anything to find a contractor or supplier. But somebody has to pay something, right?
It's the business owner. At HomeAdvisors, your search gets narrowed done by your zip code and the scope of your project. You've just became a 'lead'. There are dozens of contractors willing and waiting to pay for your lead. H.A. sells your contact & project leads to a list of local, prequalified* contractors of which Sears Home Improvement always seems to be the #1 referral. After that...it could be anybody.
You will then be contacted by whoever chooses to buy your lead and contact info.
*Below is pasted from H.A. terms and conditions. You don't have to read it. It is obvious they simply do a 'public records check' on any contractors who choose to participate in their referral program based on SS #'s and addresses..So, with Home Advisor you can be assured that the people annoying you are not in jail, not bankrupt, not sex offenders...
Licensing - HomeAdvisor may display licensing information provided by service professionals on the service professionals' profile pages, however HomeAdvisor does not confirm (i) the accuracy, of any such licensing information, (ii) that any such license is active or in good standing, or (iii) that any such license is appropriate for the the task for which you are seeking a service professional. . We recommend you confirm all licensing requirements before proceeding with your project. Larger projects often require the use of sub-contractors for specific types of work (for example, a kitchen remodel may require an electrician or plumber). We recommend you verify that all the sub-contractors doing work on your project carry the appropriate licensing.
- State Business Filings - For service professionals that are corporations or limited liability companies, we confirm that the service professional is in good standing in the state in which it is located.
- Criminal Records Search - HomeAdvisor uses 3rd party data sources to conduct a criminal search, in the state in which the owner/principal of the company is located, for any relevant criminal activity associated with the owner/principal of the business, within the three years prior to such service professional's registration with HomeAdvisor.
- Sex Offender Search - In the state in which the owner/principal of the company is located, we check the state's official Sex Offender web site, to confirm that there is not a match based solely on the name of the owner/principal of the company. We do not run sex offender searches in any other states. Please note that only a fingerprint match can guarantee an accurate match for a sex offender search. We recommend that you check the applicable state sex offender website for any individual that will be performing work in your home.
- Identity Verification (Social Security Number) - HomeAdvisor verifies the social security number(s) of the service professional's owner/principal for identity check purposes. This check applies primarily to smaller business entities.
- Legal Search for Civil Judgments - We use 3rd party data sources that record legal information to check the principal / owner of the business for significant state-level civil legal judgments entered against the principal / owner by business customers and for bankruptcy filings by or against the principal / owner, in the state in which the owner/principal of the company is located, both within the three years prior to such service professional's registration with HomeAdvisor.
Angie's List vs Home Advisor who??
For those who don't know...HomeAdvisor is formerly "sevicemagic.com"
If you are a consumer with plans to make several purchases or service contracts in the next 12 months, join Angie's List. It will pay for itself many times over.
When I look at the local lists provided by Angies List vs Home Advisor for my area, regarding a service I know very well, The Angie's List list is far, far more accurate to the companies I know and trust thoroughly. My results @ HomeAdvisor were a list of 4 never heard of companies...but I check off a couple 'results' for a match to my 'project'. The next thing that happens is a series of incoming calls from overseas call centers asking about my kitchen remodel! No references, just hired guns.
Here is an inside tip...As part of a company with a growing reputation on Angies List, we pay extra special attention to anyone who happens to mention Angies List. Being an Angie's List member almost guarantees you great service and the best price. We never want to lose an Angie's List member over price or, God forbid, bad service. Don't be shy about mentioning your source of referral and membership. You'll be treated very, very well.
What are your plans
Do you now, or plan to, use a referral service ??
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