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Every homeowner knows that as the years go by, house repairs and projects never end. Not everyone knows how to fix or build everything required to keep a home beautiful and fully functioning. And even if they do, does anyone really have time for all that? Whether it's patching a roof, pouring cement, fixing the plumbing, or bringing a remodel to life, you'll probably "need a guy" to help you out.
Contractors are a great option for home repair and upkeep solutions because you can find one who's an expert in their field and work with them directly to get the job done. You can sidestep big companies that often take longer and charge higher fees. Contractors make their own schedules, have their own equipment, and can work with you on pricing rather than having to charge what a big company might.
Sunday, March 3rd
Networx helps motivated contractors find more jobs. They're newer than some of their competitors, since they started out in 2004, but that hasn't stopped them from becoming one of the best.
Thousands of satisfied customers
Networx has been seen on Yahoo, The Huffington Post, Fox News, Care2, MNN, and others. Networx has thousands of customers who have nothing but great things to say about their experience, so you can't go wrong finding a pro through their platform.
Networx takes a unique approach to their business, which is why we think it is so successful. Rather than mostly focusing on the customer side of things, Networx puts more focus on helping contractors build their brands. Home projects will always exist and people will always be seeking out help with them. So finding quality contractors who are motivated to find new customers ensures that Networx has reliable pros on their site who communicate quickly and will do a good job. Contractors create custom profiles that highlight photos, reviews, videos, and special promotions to help them stand out. They pay for leads from Networx, so this makes it free for customers to find them.
Comprehensive cost guide
If you're apprehensive about hiring help for a project because you're afraid it will cost an arm and a leg, check out Networx' cost guide. They have a long list of services like electrical, plumbing, flooring, pest control, garage doors, and more. You can find a specific service and click on it to see an estimate of how much it may cost you. Even more, you can read about the labor that goes into your project, and what factors might cause fluctuation in the cost. This will give you an idea of what price to wrap your head around before getting a full estimate from a local contractor.
From the home page of Networx' site, you can select a project you're interested in or search it out directly. By providing your zip code, details about the requested service needs, name, phone number, address, and email, you can see a list of available contractors to you. We recommend perusing their profiles before giving them a call. This way you can read reviews from previous clients, check out projects they've completed in the past, and choose the one you feel best about.
Shining customer reviews = #1 choice
Networx is the shining star of contractor-finding platforms. Their customer reviews blew us away. Being in the business of recommending pros to help people with any and all projects in their home is hard because you don't have control over the quality of work performed by the individuals. So when we discovered that Networx has nearly perfect reviews from over 7,000 customers we were thrilled. On top of this, they have an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. It was easy to give them our highest rating.
Taskrabbit aims to revolutionize everyday work by helping people get more done in less time. Their same-day service platform connects people with skilled pros to help with odd jobs and errands.
Extensive services and fun attitude
They humorously boast that they've saved over 16,000 walls from DIY mounting gone awry, spent over 350,000 hours running errands, cleaned over 2 million dust bunnies from under beds, and more. Needless to say, this company has been around the block and has an extensive list of services available to clients.
The real deal
Fun fact: Taskrabbit provides the assembly service for IKEA. If that doesn't tell you that these people can figure any project out, we don't know what will. From spring cleaning to Christmas light hanging, Taskrabbit has a list of professionals in their arsenal that can help you out. It's free to request a service and you can see a list of contractors and prices faster than any other site we've seen.
Instantly connect with contractors
Normally we have to spend a few minutes filling out a long list of information about our project and ourselves before getting matched with pros in our area. This often results in scam calls and unwanted communications that drag on for days. We are thrilled that Taskrabbit lets us see a list of contractors after just submitting the general project we need help with and the area we live in. You can see photos of the pros, their hourly rate, read reviews, see stats about their previous projects, read about them, and chat right away. How easy is that?
Create a free account
It's free to use Taskrabbit's website as a customer looking for a pro. To be listed, pros pay a fee and this helps them promote their business. Once you're ready to book a service, you will need to create a free account through the website and eventually provide credit card information. You're only charged after a task is complete, and your payment information isn't used for anything else.
Extensive screening for taskers
Taskrabbit refers to their contractors as "taskers" . All taskers undergo extensive screening before they can join the community of pros that are searchable on the site. This includes passing an identity check and a criminal background check. As an added layer of protection, Taskrabbit has a happiness pledge that acts as a secondary insurance policy to cover claims made within 30 days of an incident, should one occur. Their customer service team is available via live chat, phone, or email if you need to reach out with a concern.
Taskrabbit has a "B" rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They are not accredited by the BBB and don't have a lot of individual customer reviews there. Luckily we found tens of thousands of reports from customers elsewhere who actually love Taskrabbit and feel that their services are phenomenal. There are so many reports of skilled workers who are both professional and efficient at their jobs who were found through Taskrabbit.
Great option for finding contractors
That's exactly what we were hoping to hear, so if you're looking for a contractor, make Taskrabbit one of your top choices for finding someone. From small projects to large remodels, this platform is a fantastic place to start.
HomeAdvisor has been around since 1999. Interestingly, they are powered by Angi, another company in our list of contractor finding options. Angi wasn't one of our favorites, but HomeAdvisor performs much better. Whether that's due to their management, some differences in their operations, or just differences in how the companies began, it's hard to say. But HomeAdvisor has higher ratings from customers, so we'd choose them over Angi.
The process you'll go through with HomeAdvisor is similar to that of their competitors. The first step in getting matched with a pro is to select from one of their project categories or search your own. You'll answer relevant questions about the project to make sure they can meet all the specifications. This includes what you need done, when, and where. Next, you'll be matched with up to 4 pros in your area who are available right away. This is the part we really like about HomeAdvisor: you don't have to sort through too many contractors, but you have a few solid options. Lastly, your service request will go out to the pros you choose and you can communicate with them to get the job done.
The most important thing about choosing a contractor is making sure you get quality work completed. The next most important is feeling comfortable with the cost. That's why the True Cost Guide from HomeAdvisor will be your best friend. People report the price they paid for their home projects so you can compare rates and get an idea of what you might be spending. You'll see an average national cost and a typical range. Using carpet cleaning as an example, we were able to get more accurate estimates based on square footage, read about how different carpet types might come with different cleaning prices, see the different ways they might clean, and more. The tool is quite comprehensive and will at least give you a basic idea of what to expect going into your project. Then to get an actual bid, you'll have to go through the process to get matched with a pro.
Free, free, free
To use HomeAdvisor is free to customers. You can browse services, use the True Cost Guide, and get estimates at no cost. They make their money from pros who pay to promote their services on the network. This also helps ensure that the people you find through HomeAdvisor are actively licensed and ready to work since they have some skin in the game.
As far as reviews and the legitimacy of HomeAdvisor, it's a little tricky. They get an ugly "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau, which is never good. This is mostly due to the number of customer complaints they've had to work through over the years. However, there are far more individual customer reviews, and those are actually quite positive. We found over 22,000 comments from different customers who mostly have great things to say. Some people have been using HomeAdvisor for years without any hiccups, so this is reassuring.
Still ranks high despite the BBB's opinion
Usually we'd give a lower ranking to a company with an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. But in this case, the customer reviews speak louder, so we've still given HomeAdvisor a high score. Chances are good that you'll be able to find several qualified contractors for your next project when you use this platform.
Thumbtack helps people effortlessly care for their properties through their modern home management platform. They host over 300,000 contractors on their site and have every service category you can think of. They were founded in 2009 and went through multiple rounds of funding over the years as they continued to grow. In 2021, the company was valued at over $3.2 billion and remains a top competitor in the contractor referral industry.
Easily compare pros
It's unusual for a company to let you browse through their professionals without anything in return. Most of the time we have to spend a lot of time dishing out details about the service we need and then providing our full name, address, phone number, and email. Thumbtack doesn't require this upfront and it's one reason we really like them. By providing just your zip code and the desired service, you can scroll a list of professionals available for hire. You can quickly review their customer ratings, view their starting price, see how many hires they've received through Thumbtack, if they are currently online, and how soon they have availability. This makes it easy to quickly compare your options and narrow it down to a few you might want to contact.
If you click on a pro, you can view even more details about them like their introduction, social media profiles, how many employees they have, how long they've worked in the industry, their business hours, scheduling policy, ways they accept payment, and view photos of their featured projects. The information you receive is incredibly comprehensive and will leave you feeling confident about the contractor you choose for the job.
Look for the License Badge
It's easy to view information about contractors, but you'll still need to have your detective hat on before signing up with anyone. Thumbtack encourages users to pay attention to the "license badge" on a contractor's page, which ensures their license has been verified. You should also make sure they have a "background check badge" showing that they submitted a background check.
Thumbtack does not guarantee that everyone referred from their site is top-notch or even meets basic standards that you should require in order to bring someone to work at your home. You'll need to research as much as possible about the candidate before hiring them. Some other useful tips would be to put your expectations for the job in writing with the contractor and the agreed upon payment terms.
Estimate project costs
Based on tens of thousands of projects happening each day through Thumbtack's platform, millions of quotes sent in every year, and over 300,000 pros around the US, the company has compiled a list of cost estimates for your potential projects. This is a great resource we've seen from a few different companies that lets you know what to expect cost-wise before diving into a project. There is a helpful FAQ about different projects as well. This gives you an idea of why costs are what they are and how to possibly save a bit of money.
Thumbtack has an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau. They have mostly good customer reviews, but every once in a while we run into a red flag about unnecessary charges or shoddy work from a contractor. Overall, people really do like working through Thumbtack and have gotten a lot of help by using their services. We can attest to the legitimacy of contractors referred through this site, so they've earned a good rating from us.
Handy connects individuals directly to pre-screened, quality service professionals. Not only do they have contractors you can hire in all major US cities, but also in the UK and Canada.
Wide variety of contractor services
The company, originally called Handybook, was founded in 2012 by university students who found a void in the market for quality handymen who could be trusted. Handy has since flourished into a leading contractor company. They now provide a wide variety of services that include move out cleaning, tree trimming and removal, flooring, plumbing, painting, and more.
Match within 60 seconds
A drop-down menu on Handy's website lists a variety of service options. Once you find what you need, you can be matched within 60 seconds to a pro by providing your zip code, a description of the job you need done, the amount of hours it will take, when you'd like a contractor to come, and your email address. Right away you'll see whether or not someone is available at the time you need, a base price, and a nominal "trust and support fee" that goes toward Handy's operating costs. By providing your birth month and email address, you can unlock 10% off your next service. If you don't mind dishing out this bit of info, the discount could be worth it. Lastly, you'll select the frequency of service, your address, provide payment, and - voila! - you're set.
It's fantastic that the process of booking a pro through Handy is so fast, but sometimes that makes us worry that it's not legit. After all, we weren't shown who our contractor would be in order to vet their credentials for ourselves. This is the biggest thing we wish we could change about this company. However, we are slightly reassured by Handy's Happiness Guarantee. This states that their 24/7 customer service agents will work with you to ensure that you're happy with your experience. Whether that's sending out a different contractor, giving a refund, or just discounting the service, it probably depends on the situation.
Multi-level screening process
For professionals to promote their services through Handy, they have to pass pre-screening by providing detailed personal information and outlining their background in home services. Next, their credentials are verified and they must pass a background check. This is pretty typical as far as the standards of contractor verification goes from one site to another.
Solid, reliable option
Handy has an "A+" rating by the Better Business Bureau. This is a good sign that there aren't a series of concerning complaints coming in regularly. This isn't to say that their customer feedback is perfect, but their customers do seem to mostly have good things to say. Common remarks include praising the efficiency of the contractors, the easy communication the platform allowed, kind and courteous interactions, professional work, and more.
A few limitations but solid overall
More often than not, people are satisfied with the results from Handy, so this is a solid, reliable option for searching out contractors for your home or business projects.
Houzz is an all-inclusive company with services to help people come up with ideas to build and maintain the home of their dreams and furnish it. They have grown into a community of millions of homeowners who shop their website and find contractors through them too.
Contracting is not their focus
Although contractor-finding is an option through Houzz, it's not their main product. Almost anyone familiar with this company likely bought a new rug or dining set through them, not hired someone to fix their roof.
Home remodeling only
Houzz' contractor-finding tool is typical of what you'll find anywhere else: enter your project location, answer questions about it, and get connected with pros for free. They say there are over 2.7 million professionals available through their site and over 100,000 people are connected with a contractor each month. However, we noticed that the options for services all revolve around home remodeling and design. If you just need some trees removed, a water heater installed, or your driveway leveled, Houzz isn't going to cater to that.
Bring your ideas to life
If you're in the market for a remodel, Houzz might be a good option if you need design work. As part of your contractor search, you can find someone to help your ideas come to life if you're starting over with part of your home or business. This is the bread and butter of Houzz.
Keep your communications organized
Once you choose what type of project you're going for, you let Houzz know the square footage, price range, and timeline. You'll be shown a series of pictures you can select that highlight the style you're going for. These match you to designers who created and completed the projects you see. From there you can browse your options by reading reviews from other customers, seeing photos from their projects, viewing awards they've received and more. You can message them directly and make notes about your conversation. In addition, the site allows you to track the status of your conversation in case you're working with multiple designers and need to keep things straight.
See active licenses
Houzz doesn't outline the credentials required for professionals to be listed on their site, but you can see that the contractors have an active license, how long it typically takes for them to respond, and what unique tools they provide to help with your process (like 3D visualization).
Reviews primarily for furnishings
Houzz has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau and overall good reviews from customers. The tricky thing about this is that almost all of it is in regards to the home furnishing side of their business, not their contractors. You can see customer reviews on the individual contractor profiles (if they have any), but outside of that, it's hard to say how useful their matching tools are.
Just average for most contractor-type projects
What Houzz focuses on, it does very well. But, since Houzz mostly caters to remodels and not day-to-day maintenance issues, they've earned an average rating from us. They're just not well-rounded enough to really rank with the higher-ranked services on our list.
In an effort to tackle the age-old problem of connecting homeowners to home improvement specialists, Porch was born. They began in 2013 and evolved into a software company that pairs homeowners with the help they need for moving or improving, and everything in between. Porch's reputation is bolstered by its affiliation with companies like Walmart, Williams Sonoma, Budget, West Elm, Progressive, AARP, Bing, and PODS.
Multiple company contact options
For quick assistance, use Porch's chat box directly on their homepage. You can get information in real time about what you're looking for help with. They also list their email and phone number you can reach them at if you aren't able to accomplish what you need to directly from their site.
Takes a while to match
Getting help with a home project is as easy as finding the needed service, filling out the details needed to find an available contractor, and giving over your contact information. It's free for users and only takes a few minutes to get matched with available pros in your area (supposedly). In our case, we waited quite a while before giving up after we were never matched at all. If you're lucky and find a contractor for your job, before connecting with them you should browse the cost guide provided by Porch to make sure that you know what to expect for the cost of your project. This keeps pricing competitive and fair for you.
Checklists for moving
In addition to finding pros to help with homeowner maintenance or upgrade solutions, Porch lets you make checklists if you're moving. You can compare and set up movers, take care of your TV and internet provider, and get home insurance.
There's a guarantee that comes with all bookings made through Porch. They will provide up to $1,000 against losses from deposits paid to the pro or for property damages. However, we will warn that many customers try to cash in on this after experiencing issues only to be told that there is a "no refund policy." It's nice that Porch offers a guarantee, but we'd like to see it put into action.
Concerns from customers and contractors
Although Porch has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, their customer reviews are less glowing. People complain of poor quality leads that don't result in someone being able to come out to their property. Another big frustration is Porch selling people's information to other third party companies, resulting in a lot of scam calls, texts, and unwanted emails. Complaints can be found from both customers and contractors wanting to promote their service through Porch's site, which is discouraging.
Lots of room for improvement
Porch seems to start out well, especially with its relationships with well-known brands. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to translate into a good service for getting the help you need. There are far more reliable contractor referrals sites out there, so stick with a higher rated one over Porch.
Angi (formerly known as Angie's List), touts that their mission is to help people love their homes by connecting them with pros who love helping out with the work. They've been around since 1995, so they're not new to the business of contractors.
Well known in the industry
Thanks to all the TV ads they used to run, Angi might be one of the main contractor referral sites you've actually heard of. They provide over 500 different home services and say they have over 250k pros in their network.
Right off the bat, we know we like the functionality of this website. You can search the type of pro you are looking for, browse by category (handyperson, landscaping, plumbing, electrical), or just browse popular home projects. To get started, you'll need to provide your zip code, type of location, the specific type of project you need accomplished, how often you will need it, and a few other relevant details to narrow down the contractors available for the job. Upfront you'll also have to give your address, name, phone number, and email address, which we don't love. Without this, you can't browse available contractors.
Free for browsing
At no cost to you, Angi allows you to use their site to book home services, request quotes, and research their pros. Service professionals pay to advertise their services, which is the primary way Angi makes money. However, if you want access to discounted home services, you can pay for a silver membership ($24.99 annually) or gold membership ($99 annually), but it's not necessary.
Pros must meet Angi standards
For pros to become "Angi Certified" , they must earn an average of 3 stars or higher from customers. They have to hold a current state and local license and pass a background check every 2 years. It is possible for an individual to have a listing without having passed a background check, so be sure to check the special designation next to their name that says "Angi Certified" or "Approved Business." The company recommends that you still do your own research to make sure you trust the person you are hiring.
Lots of help articles
If you're wanting to try some home DIY projects or just get information on a related topic, Angi does have an extensive collection of articles on any given topic. Want to know the pros and cons of different types of doorknobs? Need step-by-step guidance on laying sod? How about information on painting your garage door? Whatever the topic, Angi likely has some free informational resources to get you started.
Not your best bet
We were surprised to see that not only is Angi not rated by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but there is a current alert for the business regarding a pattern of complaints against them. Some of the main issues are outdated or false leads that leave customers at a dead end with trying to contact a contractor, unclear contractual terms and details of service, hard-to-reach customer service representatives, and poor quality from contractors that are hired through Angi. Need we mention that they also have 1.99/5 stars from over 2,700 reviewers on the BBB?
A service to avoid
This is not the type of company we recommend taking a gamble on when you're needing an important project done. There are things we like about Angi, but customer feedback speaks for itself, so we have not given this company a high rating. Fortunately, you've got several other reliable ways to connect with contractors: just look at the higher-rated services on our list.
Looking online to find a contractor has become very popular in recent years. Scouring the newspapers or looking for yard signs is long a thing of the past. Today there are companies whose sole purpose is to connect homeowners with handymen skilled at all types of crafts. But among these companies there is still a wide variety of features, checks, and services that you should be aware of.
It's important that you're able to build a relationship with your contractor enough that you feel comfortable having them in and around your home. Finding a contractor online allows you to vet your prospective handyman (or woman) by checking their business license, reviews, pricing, previous projects, and more. Using the right platform to find a contractor will give you peace of mind that you're in good hands and will get your job done professionally and efficiently.
There are quite a few companies to help connect you with contractors, so we have provided important information for you to consider when deciding who to go through:
Top Consumer Reviews has reviewed and ranked the best sites to find contractors for hire. We hope this information helps you find the right person to take care of your home projects!
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Thu, 29 Feb 2024