Angie's List, not quite as they describe themselves. Suburban Chicago area deck contractor reveals Angie's List business practices that negatively impact service providers.
Posted in 2015
What are my thoughts regarding Angie's List? Superb idea! What a business plan! Charge consumers a fee of, lets say $135.00 annually (depends on where you live). They then have access to the names of contractors (deck contractor in my case) and other service providers that pay thousands of dollars annually to be listed prominently on their site. It works like this, once a member or non-member writes a review on the Angie's List website (provided the grade given was at least a "B"), that service provider is contacted by a sales rep from Angie's List. They are offered a dedicated business profile page, for an attention getting fee. First time, the fee does seem manageable (not cheap but comparable to my Yellow Page advertising a few years ago) and I signed a nine month (seasonal business) contract. When renewal time came, the following February, the price was increased by approximately 40%. The reasoning the rep. had said was that 40% more clients had viewed my dedicated page than what I had been contracted for. Oh really? This supposed increase did not however equate to a 40% increase in business. (Imagine a new car going from $25k to $35k in 12 months) As a matter-of-fact, I could never have serviced 40% more new clients. I rejected the new price with that reasoning in mind. They then offered to keep the rate the same. I agreed. Theirs is a decent clientele, for sure. Several jobs contracted from those leads. This year, renewal time, 30% increase. How much you wonder? $4199.00 Sorry! No can do. They offer no proof of this increased visibility and had they, it still would not equate to 30% more business for A-Affordable Decks.
Bottom line: With my 23 year track record, excellent reputation, and highly trafficked website www.dupagedecks.com, I have and will continue to attract good clients that will keep my schedule full for the 2015 outdoor construction season.
If a service provider doesn't pay (and not under contract) he'll probably be found on page number 345 of their website. Aside from the skyrocketing pricing (from one year to the next), what I dislike most about Angie's List is that anyone can go on their website and write a review, whether they are customers or not. What? That's right. A guy whose phone call I intentionally did not return (out of season in December, never spoke or received a penny from him) gave me a grade of "F" and reduced my overall Angie's List grade from "A" to "B". That's more than ridiculous, that is libel! I have a right to do business with whomever I want and vice-versa. I am in business to make money not waste my very valuable time and energy on what I perceive as a dead-end sales prospect. Angie's List allows this and does nothing to eliminate these false and potentially damaging reviews. So, like many other contractors, I will no longer pay Angie's List to be on their website. However, they use my name so, I'll use theirs. I have read in one online contractor forum that many contractors across the nation also have similar grievances with this Angie's List non-client review policy. If they change their policies I might reconsider.
Frank Lamphere, owner of A-Affordable Decks is a professional deck contractor based in Lombard, Illinois. Website: www.dupagedecks.com