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Old 08-26-2011, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Squirrel Hill
1,349 posts, read 3,557,253 times
Reputation: 406

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I am about to be in the market to do a variety of rennovations/improvements/fixes on a home we are going under contract on. Anyone have experience with Angie's List for Pittsburgh? Seems like that information should be free, but seems that contractor reviews and recommendations are pretty hard to come by.
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:51 PM
gg
 
Location: Pittsburgh
26,137 posts, read 25,750,134 times
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You have to pay for Angie's list.
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Squirrel Hill
1,349 posts, read 3,557,253 times
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I'm aware. If it was free I would just sign up and not ask for people's opinions about whether it was worth dropping ~$60 on it or not.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
29,623 posts, read 34,065,168 times
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I have Angie's List (my mother gave me a membership one year for my birthday, and I've been renewing it.) I'm not from here, so I don't have a huge network of people I could ask about home recommendations, and the few that I have gotten from friends or coworkers have been not good. It's proved to be pretty useful--I tend to check it and use it several times a year, most recently to get a nest of yellow jackets in my siding taken care of. I try to be good about writing reviews once I get service, otherwise it'd be useless for anyone else.

The reason why it's not free is that they want to prevent all of Bob the Plumber's friends and family from posting glowing reviews of how awesome he is.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
510 posts, read 899,774 times
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I have found a landscaper, an electrician, our home inspector, and a 'handyman' through Angie's list. I have been pleased with all of them. As someone new to the city I did not have many people to ask for referrals when we first moved here and bought a house. I think it is a good resource, and I always add to the on-line evaluations of the people I hire for jobs.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:04 PM
 
675 posts, read 2,088,231 times
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I use it. I my experience it hasn't been particularly effective in finding good contractors/doctors/etc. The reason being, when you scan the listings to find the results with the highest rankings, you'd think you were looking at all related contractors in order of how good they are. Instead, it appears that the contractors who are aware of Angie's List push the service to their customers and ask for good reviews. What this means is, if you were to search for "roofer," you'd get a list of 500 roofers. 490 of them will have no rankings or reviews, and the 10 with rankings will have 15 reviews each. They aren't really any better than the other 490, they've just figured out to ask people to give them reviews.

Of course, it's helpful to weed out ones that have bad reviews, and it is nice to have a comprehensive list of all related contractors with contact information, but that's about the extent of its helpfulness, in my opinion. We've been very disappointed with all of the 5 or so different businesses/practices we've found on Angie's List, all of which were close to number one in their respective field.

Hope this helps!
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,912 posts, read 24,521,999 times
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I've been a member two different times, with a couple years in between, and both times have left me kind of let down. There's info but it's not always seeming like enough, especially if you're not fairly centrally located.

Right after the first time they started running an extremely low-priced promo, which means to me they knew they needed more members and reviews. I mentioned this when someone contacted about my cancellation, but they didn't move to make changes either.

It's tough to say. I need a couple things right now perhaps (looks like I'm going to need a tree service, and I might need a plumber if I find I can't do my own fix), and I don't have a ton of people to ask for recs (I can ask the one neighbor about plumbers, he's been there for years, but tree is kind of specialized and most people haven't needed one).

I'm not particularly thinking of signing up again at this point, though, if that gives you any indication.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:07 PM
 
Location: O'Hara Twp.
4,359 posts, read 7,475,512 times
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My sister lives out of town and she uses it a lot. She uses it for the same reason that the others uses, she doesn't know many that many people in her new town.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,912 posts, read 24,521,999 times
Reputation: 5162
Quote:
Originally Posted by gallacus View Post
The reason being, when you scan the listings to find the results with the highest rankings, you'd think you were looking at all related contractors in order of how good they are. Instead, it appears that the contractors who are aware of Angie's List push the service to their customers and ask for good reviews. What this means is, if you were to search for "roofer," you'd get a list of 500 roofers. 490 of them will have no rankings or reviews, and the 10 with rankings will have 15 reviews each.
Heh, yeah, that's about right. Okay, well, there may be 1 or 2 reviews, often quite old, on some of the other 490.

I was a member when I had my dishwasher repaired, and I did make my final choice (out of about 2 or 3 really is all the choices you have for authorized Bosch repair, and it still had parts under warranty so needed to be that) at least slightly based on the list, I think. And it worked out okay, and I left a good review. But I didn't mention the list to them I don't think nor did they ask me.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,912 posts, read 24,521,999 times
Reputation: 5162
Quote:
Originally Posted by robrobrob View Post
My sister lives out of town and she uses it a lot. She uses it for the same reason that the others uses, she doesn't know many that many people in her new town.
The quality of the list is highly variable from city to city. It can be much better in some other areas; I don't think it's especially good here. It's not awful either, just mediocre I would say. Just puts in position where it's difficult to know for sure whether it would help a given individual or not here in Pittsburgh. Some here may get some help out of it, and some may get little to none.
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