Quick Intro: How Does Angie’s List Work For Contractors?
Angie’s List is a review based platform used to advertise your business to home owners. It’s like the contractor’s version of Google. You can sign up and list your business for free but if you pay, you could get to the top of the list and be seen.
You do not pay per lead like you would on Home Advisor. Instead, you pay monthly no matter how many leads you get. If you are unaware of the other ways you can get exclusive leads as a local contractor, I will explain that in this article as well.
Examples of The Inner Workings of Angie’s List
If you’re thinking about signing up for Angie’s List as a contractor, here’s an example of how their lead generation process really works:
From a home owner’s point of view:
- You’re thinking about getting your kitchen remodeled so you go to angieslist.com
- You realize that before you can see a list of contractors to choose from, you have to go through a bunch of questions specifically going over what you need done. It seems like a bit much to you, but you hit the submit button after typing in your address and phone number.
- You start getting bombarded with phone calls from contractors offering you an estimate when you’re not really in the buying stage yet.
- You realize that a lot of these phone calls are from Home Advisor. This confirms that your information is being sold to Home Advisor when you didn’t really want them to have it in the first place (you were on Angie’s List after all).
From a contractor’s point of view:
- Once you realize you have to pay to be seen, you sign up to get your business listed.
- You might realize that the leads you do get (if any) are not turning into jobs.
- You do some research and realize that the leads are not as warm as you thought they were. This is because these leads are getting sent to multiple contractors at once and they’re either recycled or outdated.
- You want to quit but didn’t realize that cancelling your account requires an early termination fee of 35% of the remaining contract.
You may now see why there are so many pissed off contractors and home owners using this site. Do you see why people say things like “Angie’s List and Home Advisor sell fake leads“?
Are They The Same Company as Home Advisor?
I’ve sat down with contractors who told me about their experiences with Angie’s List, good and bad. Many of them are unaware that Angie’s List was bought by Home Advisor’s parent company, IAC, in 2017. So yea, Angie’s List is owned by the same company.
So what comes first for Angie’s List, profit? Or you, the customer? Since many business owners do not have the time to research on this topic, I’m gonna lay out some relevant points you should know if you’re thinking about using Angie’s List. You’ll find out in this article with different reviews from contractors in different lines of work to help you make the right marketing decisions. Personally, some of these reviews make me want to grind my teeth and I’m sure you’ll want to as well.
#1: They Share Leads With Home Advisor
This guy is a roofer helping contractors become aware of lead generation sites and their bad practices. His channel has videos explaining his experiences with Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Porch, Thumbtack, Yelp and others. In this video, he shows himself on a live phone call with a representative from Angie’s List as he tries to figure out why they share leads with Home Advisor.
Basically, this is what the customer service rep had to say in response: “Home owners on angieslist.com who are not logged in as a member will get put through a funnel and asked to put in their information. Their information then gets shared with (and sold to) Home Advisor. On the other hand, members of Angie’s List can go in and choose a contractor with no Home Advisor competition. But we’re not sharing leads with Home Advisor.”
?…But yet they still technically share Angie’s List leads with Home Advisor…I don’t see how that makes sense.
#2: Read the Contract Before Agreeing to it, Even if the Customer Service Rep Tells You Different!
If things were a little more upfront as far as their contract goes, then maybe more contractors would know what they are getting into. Even if they didn’t guarantee leads to the contractor (who knows what the sales rep actually said during the sign up process), the “lock down” contract and hidden fees do not sound like much fun to me…
#3: You Have to Pay to Get Results on Angie’s List
Most positive Angie’s List reviews look like they were bribed, but this guy has actually had some good results. It shows that if you’re a good salesman and pay for advertising on the site, you could get a decent return of investment depending on your niche and location.
I like how he makes it a point that Angie’s List does not guarantee jobs, only leads. It shows how a lot of your success comes down to how organized and hard working of a salesman you are. When you have a business, you have to be good at sales.
I do see some inconsistencies and false advertisement in the way Angie’s List promotes themselves though. Telling people that they don’t have to pay to get higher placement is totally false. Dishonest advertisement makes you think “what else is on that contract that I don’t know about?” But hey, use it at your own risk. Some people do get results.
#4: Fake Reviews and False Advertisement?
I decided to talk to a past client, a former owner of a Florida cleaning business who in the past, used Angie’s List to get leads. Here’s what she had to say:
I used Angie’s List and it didn’t last very long. I had a bad review left on my page from someone I didn’t know and definitely didn’t do work for. I called to have it removed and they responded by telling me to buy more advertising for jobs so it could be covered up with better reviews. The customer service was pushy and the overall company seemed too shady for me.
I also tried Home Advisor which was worse. After I quit, I seen an ad that had my business name (Clean Source) and the phone number to Home Advisor right underneath it. They were promoting my business name but using their phone number! I was like, is this a joke? I had to call them to have them take it down immediately.
Note: This happened years ago before IAC bought Angie’s List, which made me wonder…
Have They Improved Over Time?
Based on the reviews I see today, it doesn’t seem that their customer service has improved much. Here’s a recent review from consumer affairs to confirm:
This may be a stretch, but could it be possible that people are paid to leave fake reviews in order to sell contractors more advertising? I sure hope not. Here’s what I took from these reviews:
- If you get a false review, Angie’s List will make it hard to get it removed and proceed to sell you advertising.
- You have little to no control over your business on Angie’s List.
- Your sales rep can be overly “salesy” and pushy.
#5: The Cancellation Process Can Be Sketchy and Frustrating
A few cons about the Angie’s List sign up and cancellation process:
- You have to commit to a 12 month contract
- If you decide to cancel within those 12 months, you have to pay the fee, which is 35% of the remaining contract.
- Based on multiple reviews (not just the one below), it seems that the service reps are evasive and extremely unclear to the contractor during the cancellation process.
#6: Why Home Owners Should Think About Giving Angie’s List Their Information
When a home owner is searching for a contractor, why can’t they see a list of them straight away? When they go on Angie’s List, the site makes them put in their information before they can see anything. The reason they do this is because they sell the home owners’ information and use them as leads to share with contractors on Home Advisor (probably the worst platform for a contractor). Almost every video on Youtube has comments from home owners like this:
Clarity For The Consumer and Contractor
You can probably understand why homeowners would be mad over this. They’re not on Home Advisor, They’re on Angie’s List, which actually used to be a somewhat ok service from what I’ve heard. But they’re basically the same company and sell the home owner’s information without confirmation that they’re ready to make a buying decision.
If you’re using Home Advisor, you, the contractor, are paying for these cold leads and I could see why this would make your blood boil. The real problem is obviously Angie’s List and Home Advisor. I think they need to be more clear about how they operate so that you and the home owner could make better decisions.
#7: You Won’t Have Control Over the Type of Leads You Get
This is definitely something to consider if you’re looking for a specific type of lead for your business. The location of the home owner will also be unknown until you get the lead. This is another example of how you will have little to no control over your business on Angie’s List.
#8: Overly Pushy and Aggressive Sales Reps
Out of all the reviews I’ve read, it seems like Angie’s List and their employees have a very spiteful way of doing business. You have to ask yourself, “Can I really trust a company like this?” The review below reminds me of the “crab in a bucket” theory because of the way Angie’s List coordinates themselves.
The repeating patterns of these reviews blow my mind and make me question why they haven’t cleaned up their way of doing business for the sake of their reputation.
#9: What Employees Think About the Work Environment at Angie’s List
#10: Do Their Customers Come First?
Since Angie’s List and Home Advisor are the same companies, I honestly think they should be merged and promoted as the same platform so there’s no confusion for the home owner and contractor.
You see this happen a lot. A business buying another business with a plan to increase profits but keep the value of the service the same, or make it worse. Below is a real screen shot from The Better Business Bureau and a quote from the founder I included as well. It shows that Angie’s List has an A+ rating but an average of 1 star ratings from the actual customers.
#11: You Will Be Competing With Many Other Contractors For the Same Lead
Being on Angie’s List will put you in the push position (I describe this in further detail in the next section below) while competing with contractors that may be in desperate situations. This will have you chasing leads that 5 to 10 other contractors get sent at the same time as you. Also, you’ll most likely be competing with low ball estimates. Lowering your price just to land the job is not what a business that values their work does. This is why you should build your own online presence and make the leads come to you.
The Push and Pull Position
A great way you could succeed as a contractor is to be in the pull position. In other words, you want to get your phone ringing.
When you see contractors advertising everywhere (the radio, billboards, Facebook ads, etc.) but most of their reviews suck, it usually means that they’re lacking something within their service. They’re always looking for new customers to replace the old and unsatisfied ones. This is the push position. They chase the cat, which gives them a much lower chance of catching it. This is a great analogy from a book called Unscripted by MJ DeMarco (recommended read).
Successful businesses attract the cat to them after it sees the value they provide. This is the pull position.
What Your Business Should Have to Achieve the “Pull Position” and Create Value
- Great Authentic Reviews (Not Bribed)
- A Professional Website That Doesn’t Look Like it Was Built in 1998
- Referrals From Satisfied Customers
- Great Communication and Customer Service
- First Page Rankings On Google
Inbound leads are very powerful and could put you so much closer to the sale than contractors who are chasing after leads from Angie’s List and Home Advisor. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use any push methods. I think a good mixture of the two works, but you gotta remember that everything starts with the foundation within your business.
#12: There Are No Shortcuts to Success
I know you want to get leads right away. If you’re on Angie’s List or Home Advisor it should only be temporary until you use better methods that you could even do yourself. Remember though, it will still cost you money but it will be well worth it.
In my opinion, Angie’s List isn’t worth it but I understand if you have to use it short term (just be sure you know what the contract says!).
Ways to Get Plenty of Exclusive Leads and Beat Angie’s List On Google
- Get a professional website that is built with an effective sales system.
- Hire an SEO expert to rank your website on page one (you could do it yourself if you take the time to learn).
- Rank in the top 3 on Google My Business (Google Maps).
- Showcase your work on social media to show people the professional you really are.
- Do good work and get more 5 star reviews to build your online presence and trust.
These are great ways you could beat Angie’s List on the Google search engine.
And I hate to come off as salesy, but if these tips are like reading Chinese to you, and you need an expert to take care of your online presence, feel free to tell me all about your problems and goals by answering 2 simple questions on my contact form.