Looking for HOME-REPAIR/REBUILDING SITES for rating contractors LOCALLY


I'm looking for websites and/or forums where I can research licensed and/or independent HANDYMEN and CONTRACTORS (eg. plumber, roofer, electrician etc.) -->>LOCALLY.
I have visited the site CONTRACTORS.COM but I'm a bit put off by what appears to be a highly-commercial website. I guess I inherently distrust a site that claims to "screen" all of its contractors. This service cannot possibly be performed free of charge -- the contractor obviously must pay money to the site to be "screened" and therein lies the conflict of interest. I don't blame this site for their model (indeed I don't see how they could do it any other way) but I would so much prefer a Public, Open, Free, consumer-interactive FORUM that allows individuals to rate ANYONE -- and post to a searchable database BY LOCALITY on such factors as the type of job done, quality of work, estimate vs. final cost, licensed vs. unlicensed, and credit cards welcomed, to name a few.
There is a model in place for just this -- the Forums on CRAIGS LIST -- but to my surprise CL has not one forum dedicated to this urgently-needed resource. Even LOCAL.COM doesn't have Forums. :(
The best resource for hiring (almost anyone for almost anything) is a personal referral. But I don't have that luxury, and need a more publicly-accessible resource. Thanks in advance for pointing out any sites you may know of.
50-sumpin'
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50 SOMETHING GAL wrote:

Why would a personal referral be impossible?. Can't you ask a neighbor or friend?
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Hmm. Just found this: http://www.angieslist.com
Anyone used this site?
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Yes, angieslist has been around for almost 10 years and is quite famous for being useful, accurate and untainted by money.

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I've been having great luck using Angie's List. You can join by the month or by the year. See reviews of service providers in your area, written by other consumers. After you've used someone, you can add your own review.
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50 SOMETHING GAL wrote:

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gamer wrote:

thanks, I was thinking the same thing myself.
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Naw--it's constantly spammed to the usenet.
Nobody uses sites that are "recommended" by spammers.
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John~ wrote:

I considered checking Angieslist after I saw the "ad" in our local newspaper. But that consideration changed to "nevermind" when I saw you had to pay to see the comments and recommendations. And of course they don't mention that on the ad.
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wrote:

They use the same model that Consumer Reports does which is that they don't accept advertising to remain neutral and unbiased. As a result, you have to pay to read the recommendations. Sounds reasonable to me, but it does present a barrier to entry for most casual browsers.
-al sung Rapid Realm Technology, Inc. Hopkinton, MA
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Check out: www.MySturdyBuiltGarage.com Read the tips section, good info!
Alan Sung wrote:

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Alan Sung wrote:

Alan, I COMPLETELY agree with you -- indeed, I don't frankly see how anyone could trust a site that did __not__ charge the consumer. Why on earth would I want a site that relied on the fees necessary to its continued existence . . . being collected from the very community that is the object of being independently reviewed? You could drive a truck through the conflict of interest this business model presents imho, which is why your comment about Consumer Reports is so pointedly accurate.
As to the cost of Angieslist, if I'm not mistaken you do not need to subscribe by the year. For about five bucks you can get in; do your research and make your report(s) for a month; and get out. In other words, for about the cost of an issue of Consumer Reports, you can not only get considerably finer detail (by ZIP CODE no less), you can populate the site with your own first-hand experience.
I am enrolled with Angieslist on their free one-year trial and I'll tell you what my first impressions are. Oh, by the way, this was to find a local plumber.
In my immediate zip code I had access to reports made on about 15 local plumbers, 5 or so of which were within about 10 miles of my house. I contacted one of the highest-rated plumbers for an estimate . . . and was __profoundly__ unimpressed (!!). The prices this plumber charges are beyond belief, which leads me to believe that all the reports made on this plumber were from relatives and employees.
In short, the reports were of dubious authenticity; BUT WAIT!! I lined up a plumber on my own, simply by calling the yellow pages and doing the hard work of comparing prices myself, and I LUCKED OUT. I got a guy who charges $75/hour (as opposed to the $200!!!!!!/hr. charged by the outfit highly-rated on Angieslist); he's a 3rd generation plumber; he is so modest that he wouldn't even let me pay for the job he did until he gave it a week to see if there were any leaks (in other words, he made another trip out to inspect the quality of his own work) -- and then, when I tried to write out a check to him, he said "Oh don't worry, we'll just bill you. It won't be more than a couple of hours', don't worry." He had never even heard of Angieslist, and his only comment was "Oh. Okay."
But here's the best part: This was a broken water main folks, meaning, the job was an emergency. It was a Friday, and he interrupted another job he was on to come out and fix the pipe at >>no additional charge.
So why is this relevant to Angieslist? Because I'll go right over there and not ONLY make a detailed report on how pleased I am with his work . . . I'll also expose (what I think must be fraudulent reports) on the other plumber I called, and encourage people to -->>independently put my observations to the test. If my judgment isflawed, the consensus of others will allow its veracity to be SELF-HEALING. Hey, maybe I caught the guy on a bad day? Fair enough; I'm happy for others to, er, 'flush out' his credentials. ;)
Yes, a site such as this is wide-open for contractor abuse -- no doubt about it -- but the more individual and honest homeowners such as myself __participate__ in the content on the site, the more readily apparent these fake reports are going to be. The report I write will help someone else, and that shared intelligence is worth the equivalent of a Grand Latt at Starbucks any day of the week. I personally doubt I would subscribe for the year; but the site owners don't require that of me to access the intelligence my neighbors have contributed to. The ability to join for just one month is what WILL save this business model from rapid extinction, as I would imagine others would use it the way I do. Put another way, we can all pray we don't need a contractor every month of the year heh heh. ;)
Now lastly, I visited some of the other sites some of you recommended, but their model is flawed. A site like this must be unconflicted as to who its patrons are: It is we, each individual consumer-by-consumer, who need to support the site financially . . . or all you have is a SPONSORED ADVERTISING model that isn't worth the graphics you see.
As for those contractors who whine and cry "We were 'victims' of Angies list <snip>" I say this to you:
-->>I'LL be the judge of which information I consider specious, thankyou. You obviously pissed someone off somehow. I can make my own judgment as to whether they are really angry about the cost of the job or the quality of the work. I want to hear ANYone's impression of a contractor, however unfair and inaccurate it might be. If even one portion of the complaint rings true, the report will have fulfilled its role.
Power to CONSUMERS LOCALLY! (for once)
50-Sumpin'
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It would have been nice if you would have mentioned your city.
Anyways, this site specializes in actually screening such local merchants that provide home care services to consumers. They do make sure they have proper licenses, insurance, and referrals before they hit our website/directory. Please go to:
www.doneright.com
Hope this helps.
50 SOMETHING GAL wrote:

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There is a site called RATE YOUR BUILDER http://www.rateyourbuilder.info and it has been good, but was recently sold to someone who is hiding his or her real identity behind "Domains by Proxy." It bears watching because of its past track record for being unbiased and uncensored, but I have a feeling the new owner isn't going to keep it as nice. For now though, there are a lot of good ratings there and you can ADD a builder and see if anyone rates it too.
Otherwise, a true rating is lacking in pretty much every locale. If there is regulation the regulatory agencies may not publish complaints. I have found out as have many people now that Better Business Bureaus can be very lame. Don't count on them. Look at some consumer sites, too. Not sure if http://www.complaints.com is still around but it used to have info on local contractors I think. Also http://www.ripoffreport.com Though they deal mainly with home builders, not repair contractors, the sites http://www.hadd.com and http://www.hobb.org may also be of help.
50 SOMETHING GAL wrote:

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50 SOMETHING GAL schrieb:

Just a simple question: What are you really looking for? When I went local in my area it became a horror trip and quite expensive, with no corrective afterwork ...! By the way: If you go local only you might miss the new things around and probably will stick to the most old fashione way. For me this is as I would have to work with an at least 30 year old PC. Would you or anybody with common sense do that?
I supply internationally and people like it as far as they tell me ...!
Chris @ www.drytronic.com
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Chris wrote:

Nothing you're selling. Advertise somewhere else.
50-Sumpin'
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