How Does Service Magic Compare With Angie's List?

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Which is the best site for finding qualified local contractors? Review of Service Magic's local contractor locator and comparison with rated contractors on Angie's List

As an avid home improvement enthusiast, I do lots of renovation projects around the house (often to the chagrin of my wife!). From kitchen remodeling to bathroom projects to building new decks, I love all sorts of DIY home repair and renovation projects. For some projects I use contractors, and have used Angies List for some time now. Overall I've been happy with them. I ran across another company called Service Magic recently, which seemed similar but offers its service for free (you have to pay for Angie's List on a monthly subscription). I decided to give it a try to see how it compared. Here's what I learned.

First, review of Service Magic

ServiceMagic is an Internet based database of service contractors, which is designed assist you in finding a high quality contractor. This list offers information, reviews, and details on 40,000+ professional contractors of all areas such as contractors, plumbers, re-modelers, architects and so on.

Pros of Service Magic

  • Huge database - It has a huge list where you get information about any type of professional service you would need anytime around your home. There are more than 40 thousand contractors from all over the USA indexed in the database.
  • Free to use – ServiceMagic does not charge anything from you – the customer. They charge a token fee from the contractors who pass the test and become eligible for inclusion in the list.
  • Efficiency Bar - To make it to the list each contractor is screened and graded; which means you would get an idea about which contractor could give you the best of service. There is a ten point qualification round that each contractor should pass in order to be included in the list. The contractors also receive rating from their customers, so a prospective customer could get a good idea about their ability to deliver.
  • Extremely user-friendly - You need to fill in a free request form where you fill in the details of your job. SeviceMagic then matches your needs to the information available in their database and voila – you would get the contact telephone number, profile and rating of the professionals who would be best suited to your job. It is as easy as that. The contractors listed know that they would receive reviews that would be posted on the Net – so they usually do their best.
  • Extra support - They also offer a number of tips and expert advice to ensure that you get the best of service and contractors at all times.

Click here to browse Service Magic contractors for free now.

Cons of Service Magic

  • Some contractors not interested in smaller home jobs - I found that some of the contractors listed are not interested in minor jobs. My overall experience is that the contractors listed are not actually looking for small “home” jobs – but large contracts. It is very often that the regular customer is turned away when the request is a small house-level (micro) problem. I tried contacting people to help with some smaller plumbing jobs (which I hate working on myself) but was unable to find anyone who would take the job.
  • Database of contractors sometimes did not provide what I needed – it is true that they have 40 thousand plus small and medium size service entities listed. However, there are still some gaps in the database. Searching for specific types of electricians, for example, yielded no results.
  • Reported poor treatment of contractors by the company – apparently there are some issues with the way the company has treated and compensated contractors. There are some reports that contractors were not compensated fairly. I can't verify how accurate these reports are, but just noted that there may be a few disgruntled members - I would guess that those contractors would no longer use the service, though.

Overall rating You'll see my comments comparing Service Magic to Angie's List below, but overall I feel that these are two different services targeted at two different types of customers. Service Magic is great because its free to use, has a really large database of contractors, and provides good customer support. However, you don't get the ratings and reviews and some of the details that Angie's List provides. That said, it's a free service, and it's definitely worth checking out before you pony up the money to sign up with a paid service like Angie's List.

Next up, Angie’s List

Angie’s List covers about 350 plus categories of services that include medical providers and professionals. As a member, you would have access to the reviews of a huge number of customers on each of the local owned home-related business. It costs around ten bucks a month or so to subscribe to the service. What I liked about Angie's List

  • Huge and highly coordinated list - Angie’s list had a huge database classified geographically for easy reference. You can find the service you needed in less than 10 minutes over Net. The reviews are based on the experience of people who have used the services listed in the Angie’s List. The company provides leads in more than 350 categories.
  • Endorsed by customer gradation – The reliability of the Company comes from its direct feedback from people who use the services of contractors. Angie’s List receives more than 40 thousand reviews every month, which are then coordinated to grade each of the contractor’s it lists.
  • Positive feedback – The overall feedback on the Net indicates positive feedback from those who use the list.
  • Free for customers – the list charges membership fee from its members and it is free for people who need to find reference for their work.

Issues with Angie's List

  • You have to pay for it - free vs. paid is always an issue to consider. I do believe you get much higher quality by paying, but still, it's something to consider.
  • Low coverage in some suburbs - The coverage is a little thin in the suburbs while in the cities it offers plenty of choices. The Angie’s List also allows advertisements from companies that rate B and above for earning revenue, which many see as a clash of interest.
  • Risk of lawsuits for bad review? Two reviewers of Angie’s list were recently sued for large sums of money for maligning the character of some companies. This slowed down the interest of people to offer clear and true feedback, lest they would be dragged to court at later stages.
  • Conflicts of interest – Angie’s List accepts advertisements from its members – though they claim that only those who are graded B and above are considered. I haven't personally experiences anything negative from this, but I would prefer a service like Angie's List be free of advertising relationships with its service providers.

Overall rating I found Angie’s List professional and able to deliver on its promises. The list is huge and is continuously growing. Their grading system is strict and accurate and you can safely choose according to the ratings listed. I've found many great contractors through this service and would recommend it. However, there is the BIG drawback that you have to pay for Angie's List, but if you really need to find a quality contractor, ten bucks a month seems like a small price to pay.

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