When it comes to contractor referral services, Angie’s List is the most well-known due to their huge advertising budget. Home Adviser, formally Service Magic also has a large network of contractors and focuses most of their advertising online. The newest one on the scene is Redbeacon, owned by Home Depot.
One way or another, 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 are paying for it. Before you consider using a referral service, here is why it could be a bad choice:
Angie’s List is unique in that consumers pay to be members in order to have access to their network of contractors. For small home improvement projects that require only one trade Angie’s List may be o.k. When it comes to a major remodeling project where design and permitting is involved, Angie’s List is generally not a good solution because their reviews and grading system is unreliable.
Home Advisor provides leads to contractors who pass their screening process and pay to be a member of their network. The Home Adviser screening process ensures only licensed and insured contractors who pass a third party criminal check will be accepted as pros in their network, but it does not always mean you will find a reliable and competent full service contractor. Do not rely on only Home Adviser reviews when choosing a company to remodel your home. I recommend getting current and past referrals that you can contact directly.
Redbeacon by Home Depot. Home Depot has been referring installers for their products ever since they opened their doors. Home Depot installers are known for completing work without plans, permits or adequate supervision. This can be unsafe for you and your family, as well as bad for resale. Frequently consumers have told me that they had to babysit projects handled by Home Depot installers to ensure they received what they paid for and often installers had to redo work sometimes twice before it was completed properly.
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. Before you consider using a referral service, do a Google search on “Angie’s List Reviews”, “Home Advisor Reviews” and “Redbeacon Reviews”. and you will see the many consumer complaints.
When you are looking to remodel your home, I recommend using unbiased resources to check out contractors. These included www.bbb.org, your local contractor’s license board, local building officials, friends, neighbors and family.
Keep in mind, good contractors regardless of size thrive on satisfied clients. That in itself should make you understand why Contractors referral services for home remodeling are a bad choice.