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Across the country, people are looking for contractors every day. When the shower quits working, it's time to replace a window, or you'd like to repaint your house, you need a contractor.
Where do you turn to find a good, qualified contractor? Finding the right contractor to repair or improve your home can be a stressful event. We've all heard of contractors that perform badly on the job and leave homeowners in the lurch.
Saturday, January 23rd
Home Advisor is the best contractor referral service we found. They started in 1998 and since that time have helped over 25 million people find a quality service contractor to meet their repair and home improvement needs.
Home Advisor provides you with access to over 85,000 professional contractors across the nation. To find a quality contractor with Home Advisor, you simply choose the type of repair you need, enter your zip code, answer a few questions about your specific job, and your urgency. Home Advisor will search their database and tell you how many prescreened professional contractors they can match to your job. All you have to do next is enter your contact information for the contractors to establish an appointment.
Contractors referred through Home Advisors offer free quotes. Also, the database of tradesmen is the most diverse of any other company we reviewed. You'll find several contractors qualified for plumbing, drywall, fencing, yard work and much more. Referral charges are passed on to the contractors, so you're charged no fees associated with using the Home Advisor website.
Home Advisor's Better Business Bureau rating of A+ is reassuring. The website also offers excellent resources, such as over 800,000 reviews of contractors, a guide to estimate contractor costs, how to work with a contractor, and more.
If you're in need of a home improvement or repair, Home Advisor should be your first stop. They earn our highest rating.
Angie's List is no doubt a popular option to find the right contractor or doctor in your area. Many of us are familiar with Angie's List based on the ever abundant commercials and marketing ads this company puts forth. An Indiana based company, Angie's List started in 1995 by Angie Hicks and a venture capitalist to provide access to real reviews of local service professionals. This is a fee based company with the option to pay monthly, annually or longer for access to customer reviews.
The membership base of Angie's List is significant. Currently, over 2 million customers are paid members and submit over 60 thousand new reviews each month. Alike some of the other contractors in our analysis, people gain access to real customer reviews to help determine who to hire. Angie's List does take some measures to look for potential "red flag" reviews that may not be legitimate before posting.
A downside to using this referral service is that the number of names and reviews are determined by only the depth of members in that same area. There are no background checks completed on any individuals. Also, Angie's List doesn't allow any free trial or the option to gain access for any period of time to see how in-depth the list of contractors are in any particular area. However, the associated fees for becoming a member are very inexpensive. For only $3.75 per month or $9.99 per year, members are provided unlimited access to reviews of doctors, contractors and access to special deals from various venders. Additional savings are available for 2 and 3 year annual plans. Angie's List also provides a 110% money back guarantee for anyone that is not satisfied and wants to cancel within their first year.
Angie's List is an A+ Better Business Bureau rated company with millions of happy customers. They don't publicize the number of contractors that are reviewed across the nation but do offer a money back guarantee that allows members to try without risk. If you need help choosing a reliable contractor that you can count on, Angie's List is definitely worth a try.
Service Live, a subsidiary of Sears, has been in business since 2007 and currently holds a Better Business Bureau rating of A. This Illinois based company has over 2,000,000 completed service requests under their belt, and houses a database of nearly 30,000 service professionals.
To connect with a contractor, Service Live asks that you either call them or complete a service request online. You'll add contact information, a description of the job and how soon you need it completed. Service Live can help with a wide range of jobs including floor installation, handyman services, computer issues, to treadmill repair and more.
Any quote you receive from Service Live is free unless otherwise specified. Service Live also performs periodic background checks on the tradesmen they refer.
The strong BBB rating, the connection to Sears and the database of over 30,000 independent contractors makes Service Live a good choice for your next repair or home improvement project.
Networx, a Georgia based company, is a subsidiary of Shaw Industries which you may have heard of for their popular carpet and flooring products. Shaw currently holds an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. Networx started in 2004 and provides an easy to navigate website that is designed to match contractors with homeowners, as well as, provide resources and tools for home improvement projects.
To find a contractor via Networx visitors simply click on the "Find a Contractor" tab, choose from a long list of service types, enter a zip code and go. The website then requires a more specific description of the service required, your name, phone and email contact information. Immediately, customers can expect the names of up to 4 local service providers along with their contact details and any prior customer reviews. We noticed that among our results only 2 of the 4 contractors had reviews and that there were only a couple to read.
Networx does prescreen any contractors listed on their website. The screening process entails verifying the validity of their license and also checking references from prior customers. The actual size of Networx contractor base is not publicized despite calling themselves one of the nation's largest network. Networx also doesn't confirm the number of cities there database covers.
We believe that Networx attempts to stand out from the crowd with their articles and blogs on home improvement projects. This is a nice feature and different than most contractor referral companies but we were mildly put off that we had to weed through the paid search results first before actually getting to the information. The articles in general are not step by step DIY instructions but general details on important home improvement project considerations.
We liked that Networx is part of a highly regarded parent company but wanted more transparency on their actual database. However, there's no risk of using this service as it's free. If you're not finding what you're looking for with one of the higher rated companies, Networx is worth a look.
Quality Smith is in the business of connecting homeowners with professional contractors for home repair and improvement projects. Established in 2001, Quality Smith is a Washington based company and currently holds a Better Business Bureau rating of A.
Quality Smith doesn't state the number of contractors they have working for them but say they are continually expanded their network of hundreds of reliable service professionals across the U.S.. Quality Smith requires that all contractors are licensed and insured before adding them to their database.
To find a contractor through Quality Smith you choose from a list of ten areas including HVAC, roofing, windows, siding, painting, kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, flooring, gutters and auto glass replacement. Next you input your zip code. Quality Smith asks that you answer additional repair related questions. We noticed with a few of the zip codes we input we were directed to a new website. We assume where Quality Smith doesn't currently have any contractor relationships.
Quality Smith contractors do not charge for an estimate or quote. However, if Quality Smith directs you to another referral website be aware that the policies may vary.
Quality Smith has a less diverse nationwide database of contractors as well as, it appears, a more limited scope of the repairs and improvements they can provide professionals for.
We liked the clean and easy to use website Quality Smith provides but were less enthusiastic about the database of contractors and the referral to different companies where quality and policies may differ from those at Quality Smith.
Handy provides access to light duty contractors such as furniture assembly, picture hanging, assistance moving, drain cleaning, and painting but, their emphasis appears to be with cleaning services. This company is newer to the market as they only opened doors in 2012 and have not yet expanded to many areas across the U.S. Handy is a free service for those searching for help and they do offer a 100% money back guarantee. In our research we found some happy customers but many unhappy customers as well. Handy currently holds an F rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Handy markets "trusted" individuals for light duty and home cleaning services. Each contractor must go through an extensive screening process that includes a background check, reference check and an in-person interview.
As mentioned previously, Handy has had some success with customer satisfaction but also a concerning number of unhappy customers. That is represented in their BBB rating as well as customer reviews complaining of very long wait times via phone and email assistance, contractors not showing up or not doing a thorough job, and more. However, we did notice that cleaning service were as low as $25 per hour and that seemed very affordable.
To book a cleaning or handyman service at Handy you simply type in your zip code, details of the job and when you'd like the service completed. The website then brings up the price for the service and asks for your specific contact details and credit card information. Payment must be made via a credit card and Handy will automatically charge you for the cost on the date of appointment.
Handy offers only a small selection of contractors to assist with light duty household chores and cleaning. The website also doesn't allow the customer to choose the contractor or view prior customer reviews. Due to the poor customer service ratings and lack of expansive services across the U.S., Handy didn't fare well in our analysis.
iHome Experts is a Texas based company in business since 2011. iHome Experts currently has no available Better Business Bureau rating.
We found the iHome Experts website to be confusing and as we looked closer we found several issues. iHome Experts states they only offer siding, flooring, countertops, kitchen remodeling, cabinets, window, heating and air conditioning. The process of requesting a contractor for a home repair or improvement request involves a phone call to iHome Experts' toll free number.
This company also states they offer free in-home design consultations, but we're not sure what they would be designing outside of a remodel effort. Another confusing aspect of iHome Experts is that when you call their number the recorded message is for home foreclosures. We were never able to get a hold of an actual customer service representative so we're not confident why an in-home design consultant would want to talk to us about foreclosures - it was a little fishy.
The lack of BBB rating, the short business tenure, and the bad phone number were red flags in our book. If you need a contractor for a home repair or improvement, we recommend you choose a higher ranked company to effectively meet your needs.
Today, many people use home repair and improvement referral companies to minimize the stress of finding a reliable contractor. These referral services can be a great way for you to feel confident in your search for a professional contractor.
However, not all contractor referral companies are the same. Before you jump online to find your next contractor, consider the following:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best contractor services available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right contractor for your home project!
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