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When searching for a home improvement professional, there are little options at your disposal. Having the professional opinion of a true expert can make all the difference. It’s important to keep in mind that, most referral services get paid for providing leads to contractors. Sometimes the cost is per month by geographic region, but it can also be by the individual lead or a percentage of the overall contract.
Either way, as the consumer, you’re likely to be paying for those fees in the form of marked up project costs. Before you consider using one of these referral services listed below, it’s helpful to know a bit more about the good and bad of these contractor referral platforms.
Angie’s List makes a big point to say they’re consumer driven, when in fact 70% of their revenue comes from advertising. It’s not advertising Coca Cola, it’s advertising from the companies they rate,” explained Jeff Blyskal, a senior editor for Consumer Reports. While companies do not pay to be listed on Angie’s List, companies can pay to appear higher up in the search results, which Blyskal believes compromises the validity of the Angie’s List sorting system.
“If you’re looking for contractor, you’re only going to look at first page or two. That skews the ratings,” he said. “It’s about who advertises. I don’t think they’re being straight with the public on that.” (Read More Here)
HomeAdvisor is even more dangerous than Angie’s List because they do not discriminate among contractors and remodeling professionals. As long as a contractor is willing to pay for leads, HomeAdvisor will accept them. Even worse, HomeAdvisor uses misleading online strategies to divert homeowners to their own contractor network. (Read More Here)
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau, one of the country's best known consumer watchdog groups, is being accused by business owners of running a "pay for play" scheme in which A plus ratings are awarded to those who pay membership fees, and F ratings used to punish those who don't.
"Right now, this rating system is really unworthy of consumer trust or confidence," said Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal in an interview to be broadcast as part of an ABC News investigation airing tonight on 20/20. (Read More Here)
This company has been taking $1000 "security deposits" from contractors, designers & architects since summer of 2009 but they have not produced the lead generating program that they have promised. It appears that they may be out of business now. I have been trying to get my money refunded since October 2009 and they have never responded other than telling me "they are working on it". I enlisted their local BBB to assist and they had no luck either. Ironically, they are still advertising and offering a sign-up for new contractors. Please do not fall into their trap! This business is corrupt!
(Read More Here)
Yelp, the San Francisco based tech giant that has grown into a $3.4 billion company on the strength of its business review service, has a little problem. The customers for Yelp’s advertising services are the businesses getting reviewed on Yelp. Yet more and more small business owners loathe Yelp, and consider it a technologically advanced version of the time tested protection racket. “Nice little business ya got here, be a shame if something happened to it.”
According to many small businesses, they are being extorted. Either they use Yelp’s advertising services, or face reputation ruin that will force their businesses to close. The accusations are not new. Yelp has been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. (Read More Here)
There are not enough competent, reputable and reliable contractors around to service all the homeowners in need of remodeling, so using a referral service for major home improvements is extremely risky. The type of companies who subscribe to referral services are a mixed bag too. You can find large firms who are just looking to increase revenue as well as small firms that are unqualified. When you are looking to remodel your home, I recommend using an unbiased and trusted company AAA Construction Consultants to check out contractors for you.