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Unless you are knowledgeable about fixing any and all things in a home and have endless time on your hands, you'll likely need to hire a contractor at some point in your life. If you need your plumbing fixed, a fence put in, cement poured, or you get an itch to remodel your home, you will need help from a professional.
Contractors are great resources because they usually work independently and can get the job done quickly and more affordably than you'd find at a large-scale company. Contractors use their own equipment, make their own schedule, and set their own pricing to stay competitive with other businesses. Rather than working through a third party who puts you on a long waiting list and doesn't let you talk directly to their workers, hiring a contractor allows you to work one-on-one with the professional to get the job done efficiently.
Tuesday, October 26th
HomeAdvisor has been in business since 1998. They have over 100,000 service professionals available to help with more than 500 project categories. Not only are they well-known in the contractor service industry, but they are well-liked too. Whether you're "techy" or not, their website makes it fast and easy to find help with whatever project you're working on.
Easy Booking Process
When you create a profile on HomeAdvisor, you can keep track of your service requests and review the professionals who have previously worked for you. This makes it easy to start a new project and submit personal details to new contractors you've decided to hire. Professionals are available to work on just about any job you can think of. By answering a few simple questions and submitting your zip code and address, HomeAdvisor will connect you to one or more service pros in your area. You'll also see a graph that gives an idea of average costs for the project you are requesting.
Free For Customers
HomeAdvisor does not charge customers to create profiles on their site, browse the lists of professionals, or connect with them. The way they make money is by contractors paying advertising fees to be listed on HomeAdvisor's network of professionals. Although contractors pay small fees for the leads they receive, HomeAdvisor reassures their customers that this does not become part of your estimate.
Accountability From Contractors
The contractors you find through HomeAdvisor have to go through a screening process before they can use the platform to gain clients. State-level licenses are verified and the status of business filings is confirmed. Once a pro gets listed, they must maintain a two-star rating or higher from customers they work with in order to remain a part of HomeAdvisor. If you feel that there is something fishy going on with the license or background of one of the service pros listed on HomeAdvisor's network, you can contact them and they'll investigate the matter.
Highest Ranked Contractor Service
HomeAdvisor has an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau. On top of this, they have 20,000+ positive customer reviews around the internet that confirm this company is reliable and offers connections to high-quality professionals. Many customers have used HomeAdvisor over and over again, which is reassuring. If an issue were to arise, HomeAdvisor will work to rectify the situation and covers damages up to $500,000. Because they are so highly recommended and all their processes are professional and simple, we've given HomeAdvisor our highest rating.
Houzz is a robust platform that not only sells all the decor and appliances you would need for your home, but also connects contractors to individuals looking to complete home projects. They boast that there are over 2.5 million professionals listed on their website and over 100,000 contractor/customer matches are made each month. They've been featured by Today, Real Simple, and TIME.
The Houzz process can be broken down into three easy steps:
Browse the pros
By Entering Your Zip Code, Email, Street Address, Phone Number, And Answering Some Basic Questions About The Nature Of Your Project, You Can Browse A List Of Pros In Your Area. Rather Than Showing Names Of Individual Contractors, Houzz Primarily Comes Up With A List Of Companies Around You, Which Isn't Always What Some People Are Looking For. However, It Does Help That They Do The Work To Narrow Down Local Businesses Based On The Project You Are Working On. From There You Can Contact Any Of The Companies You're Interested In.
Detailed Company Profiles
Company profiles list a description of services, projects they've worked on with pictures and/or videos, the typical cost of jobs, reviews from past customers, awards, and contact information. There is plenty of detail to give customers a feel for the company's style and reputation before deciding to contact them for hire. Once you've worked with a contractor, you can easily leave a review detailing your experience with them for others to see.
Houzz is known just as much for the products they sell as they are for their contracting services. From kitchen to bath to home improvement to lighting, Houzz sells hundreds of thousands of products through their website at affordable prices. This is the perfect place to come if you're wanting to redecorate or remodel an area of your home. You can find the help you need to paint, build walls, add shelving, or anything else you would need to update a space all while shopping for new decor to top it off.
Highly Rated Company
Whether you look on Houzz's website or other places online, customers are overall very satisfied with the services they receive from Houzz. The Better Business Bureau gives them an A+ rating, which confirms that their company is on top of customer service and running an honest and reliable business. The only glaring thing missing from Houzz is a guarantee on projects completed by companies and independent contractors that they recommend. Besides this, Houzz is one of the best places to go when looking for assistance with home projects.
Networx, as their name suggests, is a contractor referral network that's been in business since 2004. Their professionals work on a wide range of projects, some of the top being carpentry, landscaping, plumbing, remodeling, roofing, and HVAC. They have over 20 services to choose from and thousands of active contractors.
Real-time Connections With Contractors
The information you fill out is sent to contractors via text and email in real time so they can quickly connect with you if they want to take the job. By filling out your location, contact information, and a description of the project you're working on, Networx will send your job posting to their top contractors to reach out to you. The service is completely free for customers.
Dashboard To Manage Jobs And Reviews
Customers can manage their job postings and reviews through the Networx dashboard when they create a free profile. In addition to sending requests to professionals, this platform also shows customers the pros that they match with and can contact directly on their own. Customers are able to request help with other projects at any time and manage it all conveniently from the dashboard.
Thorough Information On Contractors
Every contractor has a page to highlight their business that customers can browse. It includes a list of their main services, company description, list of service areas, state license numbers, photos of past projects, and reviews from customers. It is extremely helpful to be able to reference license numbers and verify the legitimacy of contractors on your own rather than relying only on Networx's vetting processes.
Useful Estimated Cost Breakdowns
Something unique offered by Networx is their cost guide. There are over 100 projects you can choose from to find out what an average cost is in your area, what an expected price breakdown would be, different materials you can choose from, and more. This is a helpful place to start if you're considering doing a house project but aren't sure how to budget for it.
Small Network, High Customer Satisfaction
In addition to their A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, customers who have found contractors through them relay that they have had great experiences. They don't seem to be as big of a network and aren't as well-known as our highest-rated contracting services, but Networx is still a reliable choice for hiring someone to complete home projects for you.
Handy connects individuals to independent contractors for services like home cleaning, light fixture installation, general plumbing, electric, lawn care, deck installation, and home renovation projects. They are proud that thousands of customers use their website each week and their booking process only takes 60 seconds.
Simple Booking Process
Once you've identified one of the many services offered by Handy, you enter your zip code, the number of professionals you're looking to hire, a description of the project, how many hours you want to book, the date/time, and your contact information. A professional will be assigned to you unless you have the name of someone specific you want to request. On the booking page for each project, Handy has reviews you can read from other customers who have had similar services performed. It's unclear whether or not these are filtered, but most seem to have an average of almost 5 stars and tens of thousands of customer reviews.
Three-step Screening Process
All of the cleaning professionals and handymen on Handy's website go through a verification process before their profiles can be listed. A pre-screening requires them to provide detailed personal information and validate their home service experience. A third-party company verifies this information before a different service conducts a background check. The background check identifies whether or not the professional has any criminal history or offenses that would disqualify them from working in people's homes.
Doubles As Online Furniture Shop
Interestingly, Handy doesn't only connect individuals with contractors, but they also have a shop where you can buy furniture, wall decor, lighting, gift cards, air conditioners, and more. All the products come with free installation as well. This is definitely unusual when compared to other online contracting sites, but hey! Why not kill two birds with one stone? Hire someone to fix something in your house and get something new for your house while you're at it too.
If by chance you have issues with the services you paid for through Handy, they have a happiness guarantee in place. If you are unsatisfied with the performance of your contractor, Handy will send another pro to your next booking at no charge. In addition, the bookings are insured up to $2,500 in case property damage or theft occurs. To qualify for this coverage, customers must report issues within 72 hours of the appointment at which they took place.
Handy has a B rating from the Better Business Bureau. This is an improvement from the F rating that they had a few years ago. Unfortunately, customers seem overall dissatisfied with their services based on reviews outside of Handy's website. Some common complaints from customers who have hired handymen through their service include needing to reschedule multiple times due to no-shows, having a different person show up to work than was booked, contractors doing less work than they were paid for, and even some instances of theft. Eek! Surely not all the contractors here are bad and there are thousands of people who have had great experiences with Handy. However, bad reviews always seem to carry more weight than good ones, and Handy has received plenty of criticism.
Handy is used by thousands of customers and consistently has a lot of activity on their platform. There is no doubt that they have a sleek booking process and have provided great service to thousands of customers. The main question is whether or not it's worth taking the gamble to see if you'll be one of the lucky, satisfied customers, or one of the disgruntled customers who has been given the runaround by the company and their contractors. The mixed feedback leaves us leery of Handy and they've received an average rating from us.
Angie's List boasts that over 6 million people use their platform to connect with contractors like roofers, dentists, doctors, mechanics, plumbers, and handymen. They collect ratings on over 720 services to help customers make educated decisions on who they should hire to work on their home. Their website is professional, easy to navigate, and frequently updated.
Easy Search Functionality
You can quickly narrow down contractors for a project based on these popular categories:
If it's easier, you can also use the search bar to briefly describe the project you need help on or the type of contractor you're looking for. There are thousands of contractors for hire on Angie's List that you can reach by either calling them or requesting a quote through the Angie's List platform. You can read their clients' reviews, see deals they are running, get a description of their services, and find other general information.
Free Browsing With Limitations
If you're wanting to browse the contractors on Angie's List for free, you can opt for the green membership plan. This means you can browse service providers, read reviews, and read the digital content from Angie's List Magazine, all without paying a dime. However, Angie's List has to make money, so they save their best services for paying customers. A silver ($24.99/year) or gold ($99.99/year) membership are optional for customers who want access to support that matches you to a professional, books estimates, schedules the job, manages the communication in-between, and gives you a service guarantee (unclear what this entails since it isn't spelled out anywhere).
Biennial Background Checks On Service Providers
Every two years, Angie's List uses a third-party service to run criminal background checks on owners of the Certified Service Providers listed on their site. Since a lot can happen within two years, they rely on customers to submit legal, ethical, or financial concerns about a company to them for investigation. It's highly recommended that you do as much research as you can about the company/individual you're looking to hire rather than relying completely on the criminal background check that Angie's List runs.
Great BBB Rating, Bad Customer Reviews
Angie's List has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. As happy as we were to see this, it was quickly diminished after seeing over 230 customer reviews left on the BBB's website that resulted in a 1.22/5 star rating. Over 500 customer complaints have been closed in the last 3 years with people reporting that they're given fake leads, it's difficult to contact customer service, they make it hard to cancel your account with them, and much more. Needless to say, the negative customer reviews found many places around the internet negate the A+ rating they have somehow held onto from the Better Business Bureau.
Good, But Not Good Enough
The idea behind everything Angie's List strives for and has set up on their site is great. It seems like it would prove successful in connecting customers to contractors with few issues based on their presentation. We are disappointed by how many people have had bad experiences when trying to connect with a professional through Angie's List. Most people who have posted reviews around the internet discourage others from using Angie's List for contractor services. Because of this, they've earned an average rating from us and we recommend using a higher-rated contractor matching site.
ServiceLive's motto is, "The official provider of done." We like that. They aim to be people's go-to source for getting home projects done right the first time around. By connecting homeowners with local, pre-screened, and pre-qualified pros, they help them accomplish whatever project they need assistance with while staying on budget.
Like many other contracting services, there are only a few simple steps to understand how the process works when using ServiceLive. First, you'll search for a service among these categories:
From there you're shown nearby pros with exact pricing. Interestingly, you don't receive quotes from ServiceLive. The third step is to book the pro you want and even be able to track them when they're on their way. Lastly, you don't pay until the job is done.
Faulty Search Results
Although the process for booking a pro is easy, that doesn't mean that it's reliable. For example, we tried to book a cleaning crew for one room in our home and put in the necessary information for the request. In the end, there was only one service pro available in our area and they were a garage door company. The recommendation we were given had nothing to do with the project we needed a contractor for, which is disappointing.
Big Talkers, Poor Delivery
According to ServiceLive, they have over 35,000 approved pros who are readily available to help customers. They also say they average a 4.6 out of 5-star rating, which is impressive. Unfortunately, there aren't any reviews posted on their website for us to verify this. The few reviews available online are mostly 1 out of 5 stars, which is disappointing. People complain about having to reschedule repairs multiple times, getting stuck on call lists, and paying for services they don't end up receiving. This doesn't reflect the way ServiceLive talks about themselves.
If you aren't 100% happy with the results from the contractor you hire, ServiceLive (supposedly) has your back. They cover all jobs up to $1,000 in case any damage occurs or something needs to be touched up or fixed again. As long as you submit a request within 30 days from having a project worked on by a ServiceLive pro, you'll be on your way to qualifying for the guarantee if needed.
If we had to use one word to describe ServiceLive, it would be "average". Their website is professional, their services initially seemed promising, but we aren't blown away or impressed with ratings from customers or results when we are requesting services. The list of service pros doesn't seem to be as extensive as they claim, which seemed obvious once we realized that they couldn't match us with contractors to complete the job we requested. Overall, we recommend using a contracting site that has a longer list of professionals available for hire.
QualitySmith was established in 2001 by a man named Rob Schmidt. After his sister lost thousands of dollars to a roofer who took off without finishing the job, Schmidt decided to create a platform that would help people make informed decisions about contractors they hire. The company operates out of Portland, Oregon and Walla Walla, Washington.
There are ten home improvement project categories that the contractors found through QualitySmith can help with. They include heating, cooling, HVAC, roofing, windows, siding, kitchens, bathrooms, painting, and flooring. They also say they help with auto glass replacement, but if you click on the link for an estimate, it redirects you to another company called Glass. This is also the case with many of the projects we put our zip code in for. We were often taken to other sites like Home Advisor or Networx, meaning we aren't actually getting contractors through QualitySmith.
Small Number (if Any) Of Contractors
To get in touch with a contractor, customers fill out a form detailing their needs and the location of the project. Once it's submitted, QualitySmith will get up to four contractors in touch with you within 24 hours. Again, most contractors who reach you will have come from external sites instead of QualitySmith. At one point they list that they have "hundreds" of contractors throughout the US, but if we were to guess, the company isn't growing much and they now outsource to companies that are.
Little Customer Engagement
QualitySmith is unrated by the Better Business Bureau. They also have no customer reviews (or complaints) listed there either. They advertise their social media pages where they do have a decent amount of followers. However, most of their platforms haven't had posts or engagement for 1-2 years. This tells us that QualitySmith has recently started turning their leads over to other companies and aren't active in the industry.
Skip This Service
There doesn't seem to be any point in spending time on QualitySmith's page when you could skip them and go straight to a higher-rated site like Home Advisor. Surely QualitySmith has proved useful to customers in the past and was once a flourishing business, but it doesn't seem like they have been able to keep up. It will save you time to use a higher-rated contracting service to begin with.
iHome Experts is an ambiguous company with an odd, but professional-looking website that gives little insight into the reputation, reliability, or purpose of the company. The homepage mentions that they've been building for over 12 years. Their list of services includes building construction (cottages, homes, estates), foundation work, tear-downs and haul-offs, and site management.
Bored? Watch A Home-building Video
A video of a sped up home-building project is highlighted on the home page, but we aren't sure what the point of it is since there is no noise to make the video enjoyable, let alone informative. We aren't even sure that the video is actual footage of iHome Experts building the home. However, it gives us insight to the idea that iHome Experts is trying to say that they build homes. It says they have completed 213 projects. Again, not sure what exactly those projects are, but if it says it on the internet, it must be true! (end sarcasm)
Contact Them - If You Can
Three suggestions are given to anyone browsing the site who's interested in building a home. The first is to plan the space, the second is to have it framed, and the third is to fill it in. Helpful, right? Supposedly iHome Experts are able to help with this if you contact them. The issue though, is that it is nearly impossible to contact them. Their phone number rings a few times and then hangs up. There is no ability to leave a message or get some sort of confirmation as to who you're even calling. The last resort is to fill out their contact form for an estimate and hope you hear back.
Mysterious, Seemingly Non-legitimate Company
As if what we've mentioned isn't enough reason to move on to a new site, there is no Better Business Bureau profile or rating for iHome Experts. In fact, with some digging and searching online, there was nothing we were able to find regarding customer reviews or further information on the company. It seems as if someone created this vague website and abandoned it shortly thereafter. Needless to say, pursuing services from iHome Experts is a waste of time.
When you encounter a hiccup with something in your home like a broken shower, a problem with the water heater, or an issue with your refrigerator, you will need urgent help getting it fixed. Finding contractors online lets you know who is available close by to come out right away, compare pricing, verify business licenses, and decide for yourself who you trust to come into your home.
Before choosing a site to find a contractor, we recommend you keep the following criteria in mind:
To help you identify the best sites to find contractors for hire, TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked a variety of options. We hope this information helps you find the right person to perform whatever job is needed for your home project.
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