Renovation Experts: A Cheaper Alternative To Angie's List For Finding Local Contractors
As an avid DIY-er, I can handle small home improvement projects on my own, but for bigger projects I usually hire a contractor. In the past year I've redone our kitchen, done a roofing job, and completed a major landscaping project for our home. I've tried different ways of finding the best contractors, from local classifieds, Craigslist, premium services like Angie's List, and now a newer service called Renovation Experts. So far, I've Renovation Experts to be the most cost-effective way of finding a good contractor - although you need to do a little bit more research than you do using a premium tool like Angie's List.
Angies List gives you a complete package of search tools and very complete reviews on local contractors. The company is well-known and well-regarded - and in my experience I've been able to find top-notch contractors through the service. The main drawback with Angies List, however, is that its expensive. As a subscription-based model, you need to pay around $8 per month to join the site before being able to browse their reviews. If you frequently hire contractors (say more than 3-4 times per year) its well worth the investment, however, if you're like me and only do 1 or 2 projects per year, the $100+ investment per year to keep your account active is a bit pricey.
Enter Renovation Experts
I first came across Renovation Experts while using Bob Vila's home improvement website. I trust Bob Vila as a name and brand so I decided to give it a shot. The Renovation Experts model is interesting, rather than charging you as the consumer, they charge contractors to bid for your business. So, you enter a free request - providing your location, the type of work you need completed, your price point, and other important details about your project - and then Renovation Experts allows contractors in your area to send you a bid for the job. The contractors have to pay in order to bid for your business, so only those who seriously want your business apply. You can review their specific bid for your project, as well as look at past reviews for each contractor.
I then gave the top two or three contractors a call and setup an appointment to interview them in person before making a hiring decision. I was surprised at the level of professionalism and quality in the contractors I spoke with - compared to the hit-or-miss experience of Craigslist, this was a welcome change to meet only with highly qualified and serious contractors. Within two interviews, I had hired a contractor for my kitchen cabinetry project - and the project was completed in a timely manner (only one week off the estimate) and with great results. I would definitely use the same contractor again and recommend him to frends and family.
The best part is that this process was free to me. The main drawback of Renovation Experts compared to Angie's List is that I did have to spend more time interviewing candidates - but honestly I think it's always good to interview a few candidates live before making a hiring decision for a major project. The in-depth reviews of Angie's List are nice, but you can replace a good old-fashioned look in the eyes and a handshake when evaluating a potential hire.
Scam reports about Renovation Experts?
Oh - I also wanted to share my thoughts and findings about the scam reports I was seeing about Renovation Experts. While searching for background information on the company, I came across multiple rip-off reports saying that people had been scammed by the company. I thought this was odd since Bob Vila himself is backing the company, so I thought there must be some type of misunderstanding. Upon further digging, I found those these rip-off reports seemed to be coming from a single source posting to multiple websites, and I couldn't find a pattern of additional complaints about the company. Next I looked up the company's standing in the Better Business Bureau and found they had an A+ rating. I shrugged my shoulders and decided that it was safe to give it a shot.
My own personal experience can now back up the fact that the service is not a rip-off at all - the service does what it says, it provides you with bids for your renovation project for free. How well they treat their contractors on the other side I have no information on - but from the consumer standpoint the service is solid and hasn't caused me any headaches yet.
Hopefully this review was helpful - best of luck in your renovation project - if you give Renovation Experts a try I'd love to hear thoughts here in the comments or message me.