You may be asking yourself why both. Frankly, I wondered if these organizations competed with each other. So I set out to do some research and find out what the true value of each is to a contractor in today’s economy.
Angie’s List is an online resource for consumers to find reputable contractors. Members rate their experiences with contractors and any contractor who wants to advertise on Angie’s List must have a rating of B. Angie’s List was and is set up from the consumer’s point of view. As stated in a US News and World Report article, Angie’s List is “an invaluable repository of informed judgments on an increasingly deep inventory of service providers.”
The Better Business Bureau was started by the business community as a way to combat false advertising. The business community wanted to be able to protect those reputable contractors as well as the consumers. According to the BBB website, “It is a public service organization that advocates ethical, responsible conduct in the marketplace.”
There are some realities to the economic landscape of today.
- Money is tight. Discretionary spending is not as available as in the past.
- There are scammers out there; a tough economy increases the number of scams.
- People like to buy from people they know, like, and trust AND from people their friends and neighbors know, like, and trust.
Considering these issues, contractors are most likely wondering what they can do to secure the business that actually exists.
By registering with Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau a contractor is accomplishing a couple of things.
1. Telling the world that they are reputable and licensed
Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau provide consumers with critical information they need to make those buying decisions. Consumers know that with both organizations they can submit queries and complaints. It gives the consumer a partner in making sure they get their money’s worth.
Both of these organizations work to help not only the consumers but the reputable contractors. When you have these entities fighting for tougher regulations and resolutions for consumers it helps the decent contractors. These efforts help weed out the bad, disreputable contractors.
Everybody wins when a light is shone on those doing sub-par work or bilking consumers out of thousands of dollars. That is part of the benefit of these organizations.
2. Welcoming feedback and input regarding their services
By interacting with consumers, contractors are entering into relationships with future clients. Homeowners these days want to be able to investigate and then engage their vendors. When a contractor is registered with Angie’s List and the BBB they are basically saying that they are above board, qualified and quality companies.
Understanding that consumers are more discriminating contractors should want to know how they view a contractor’s work. When you think about it, the remarks made on Angie’s List are the equivalent of testimonials and referrals.
3. Utilizing effective marketing tools
When a homeowner contacts the BBB looking for information on contractors, the BBB provides them with a list of accredited contractors. This helps the homeowners and the contractors. The BBB is, in effect, referring the contractors to the consumers.
Angie’s List is a place more and more consumers turn to when looking for a contractor. Here they can find out from their friends and neighbors which contractors are worth their salt. Also, with Angie’s List, contractors with an overall rating of B or better have the opportunity to advertise. The information received by the consumer is the credibility of the contractor.
What better message can a contractor send than credibility? And the best part? This is where the consumers are going to gain information! So the contractors are fishing where the fish are biting – one of the best sales strategies around. This is the reason I believe contractors should join both organizations. It shows consumers they are reputable and serious about their business and the quality of their service. It provides the contractors with quality conduits to their prospect base. In a very competitive environment like the one we are in now, business owners need to use the best, most cost effective resources at their disposal. These associations are just that.
I agree that it’s important to be part of Angie’s List. However, as far as I can tell, a company can’t simply register themselves. A customer must first file a report; if your company isn’t already in the database, Angie’s List confirms that it’s a real company before approving it. At least, this was our experience.
We have gotten a lot of business from being listed; in fact, we were awarded a 2009 Super Service Award by Angie’s List.
Just because a company shows either the Angie’s List or BBB logo on their site doesn’t necessarily mean they actually are listed by either company; unscrupulous companies could just lift the logos without asking (hint: if the logo doesn’t link to anything, be suspicious).
Local Social Solutions
Good article Diane. Thanks for posting. In my opinion, Angie’s List is an under-appreciated small business social gem. It’s credible, has a deep inventory of businesses, packed with valuable info, and is simple to use. I would also note that Angie’s List is for more than Contractors, it also has doctors and other professional services.
Welmoed – thanks for your comments. It is true that a company can’t just register with Angie’s List. However, once a company has been reviewed by a consumer and has a rating of B or better, they can advertise on the list. I do mention this in the article because it is helpful for contractors to maintain a rating of b or better AND take advantage of the opportunity to advertise.
I think you raise a good point about anyone being able to snag the AL logo – which is another reason why advertising on AL is of value. That advertisement puts you right in front of consumers actively looking for what you sell.
Local Social Solutions – you are so right about the expansion of Angie’s List. It has become an even more valuable resourse and continues to add categories.
For me the good news is twofold –
1. consumers have resources for vetting vendors
2. vendors have opportunities to enjoy additional marketing opportunities as well as the credibility of BBB accreditation and listing on Angie’s List.
Getting on Angie’s List makes sense as more people go online to vet potential service providers. And not to be mean, but Angie’s List just provides a much better experience to online users.
Angie’s List is getting to pricey to advertise in
This is very true. Businesses should be open to customers giving them feedback because it only makes their business stronger. However, I have had cases where our business was put on the BBB and when I tried to contact them to file the rebuttal or give my side they would not let me. It was over a very simple amount and a very simple thing that probably should not have even been placed on there in the first place. I think it’s good customers have a place to use so they can refer businesses. I am a business owner and I refer friends to different businesses, that is how it works. But at the same time this is not always the best for the business because you don’t always get to tell your side of the story. Although there is a site that is for the business owners to give feedback about difficult customers, called businessbeware.biz I think it evens the scales and it’s a place the business owner can use to tell their side and warn about those customers you can’t please no matter how far you bend backwards for them. I think all three sites are great and should be used by all. Great article.
pretty frustrating – my business has two A comments from a long time ago. Several things are errors and in need of updating. AL has left themselves in a position of frustrating customers by not allowing the businesses the ability to contact and update and correct. It would help both the business and the customers of AL that accurate info be published.
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There are two reviews of my company on Angies List.
An “A” by someone who I worked for. And an “F” by someone who I never worked for, met or talked to.
Personally, I think the latter is a bit awkward that they include stuff like that.
Later, someone hired me, who read both those reviews. He said he had one more estimate from another company highly rated on Angie’s List. They told him during the estimate appointment, that it would take them 2 HOURS to do the pruning. When he asked me when I drove there and met him, I responded “Probably 2 DAYS”.
The man had done the trees himself for years and was good at it. Took him two days. So aside from my approach to doing estimates, he knew the other highly rated company didn’t have any idea what they were doing technically. So I got the work. And he was pleased with the results.
So there you go. That’s my experience with Angie’s List so far. Its loaded with good and bad. And user have to make their own decisions. As for me, I encourage folks to go to my testimonials page, where they find that the nature of references match up with what would be the “A” review on Angie’s List. In other words, folks who I have met or worked for in person.
M. D. Vaden of Oregon
We, (Handy pros. Home Remodeling) reciently recieved our BBB accredidation (Yeah!) And we reciently put up a 2 million dollar bond for the company. We are so proud to be serving the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area. We hope that Angie’s list can help us out now that we have gone the extra miles and let people know that we are a very real and respectable company wanting only one thing… to satisfy our clients.
I’d like to hear your thoughts about whether the BBB is really a “pay to play” accreditation organization. In order to get an A or A+ you must pay into it. A 1 person organization is charged $500-600 per year. Otherwise you get stuck with B or worse regardless of how good the feedback is. Isn’t this another company making money off of fear? I’ve even read of businesses getting F ratings for just refusing to pay for accreditation when the BBB sales person calls.
I originally thought that BBB was really a pay to play. That’s why I had leaned toward Angie’s List where companies can’t pay to play. After speaking with the people at BBB and checking out various listings I’ve come to realize that they seem to have moved more toward the Angie’s List model.
I’ve never heard of someone getting a bad BBB rating because they wouldn’t pay for accreditation. That may have happened in the past but I haven’t seen anything about that happening recently. Are you aware of an actual experience like that or is it like an urban legend?
I’d be interested in hearing more actual stories of contractors who have used Angie’s and/or BBB and what their experiences have been.
Just about all of the local contractors we work with are very concerned with their rep on Angie’s List. Most advertise their ratings on their websites and in their other advertisements.
Some are into the BBB, but Angie’s List seems to be more popular with the service providers we work with.
I am a Flooring Contractor whom is listed on Angies List and a Member of the BBB with an A+ record.
I have experiences with both Angies List and BBB!
Let me share with you what I have found to be the diffrences.
Let me first say that I think both are great ways to market TRUST. I have gotten a bunch more business from BBB just due to the fact that their website/list is open to the public where as Angies List charges customers a small fee for logging in.
But, I was alittle hessitant to pay Angies list for this reason-
I got a call from an Angies List sales rep telling me that I had a negative review that a customer and posted on me. I asked how I could go about responding and I was told that I could NOT unless I joined/paid Angies List money. This seems to me to be extortion!
The BBB takes complaints on Members and NON-members and still works to resolve the issue and does not charge a business to respond.
Most customers don’t care how many people I have made happy. They want to see how will I respond to an issue should one arise. This is why they go to the BBB.. They want to make sure I am going to answer the phone.
Angies List is a for profit company, the BBB is a non-for-profit company that works with the Gov. to prevent scams. They do press releases to news stations to warn the public, etc…
Both the BBB and Angies list provides great in bound links that can help with SEO/Internet Marketing. This helps keep the phone ringing..
I’m an A rated contractor with Angies List at NO COST to us. However, the BBB charges $350 in our market to sign up as a listed contractor…that’s CRAP! They are in BUSINESS and not truly interested in helping customers and contractors. I receive around 3-4 solicitations from them per year on my CELL PHONE. I’ve requested they remove us from our call lists to no avail. Lastly, our company prides itself on
being 100% referenceable…we don’t need to pay an organization $350 a year to prove to people that we are reputable! Also, just because they are a “non-profit” organization, doesn’t mean they aren’t making money. It just means that the organization has to either use the money that year or put it into a fund for future business use. There are plenty of “non-profit” organizations in our country that have millions of dollars at there disposal.
THese recent posts are really great in that they show the diversity of opinion when it comes to Angie’s List and BBB. Has anyone had any experience with ServiceMaster? They are a for-profit that is doing a lot of advertising in my area. THey seem to be similar to Angie’s so I’m curious about whether they really are the same or what the differences are.
JT, I understand what you are saying.. My BBB rep took the time to set me up on Google Places as they have a partnership with Google Places and I get a ton of phone calls as well as leads from them every week. So my $350 for the year is WELL worth it.
I give references as well.. But, most home owners don’t care how many people I have made happy, they want to see that I will answer the phone if something goes wrong. I think he helps them see that I meet a set of ethical standards. I have no problem with an organization making money. They need to pay their employees like everyone else. They provide a great service.
Service Magic is o.k. I don’t use them anymore. Don’t need to as I have enough work to keep me busy. They sell leads to contractors and base their price on the size of the job. You pay for the lead if the people were just looking or not. I think most consumers just stumble across their website and fill out their form with out realizing that their information is getting sold to another contractor. I had several consumers assume that I was employeed by Service Magic and did not realize that I was a diffrent company.
I get leads from the BBB at no extra charge..
I also don’t like how Angies List or Service Magic will allow a consumer to post a review on their website/Google Searchs that is word-for-word. This could do some major internet marketing/PR damage to any business. I am not sure Service Magic or Angies list checks to see if they are legit. How do they know that customer has a mentall illness, trying to extort money out of the business, etc..
Thats just my two cents..
I wish home owners woul talk to the contractor first if there is a problem. Not just go right to angies list first and hurt a company because then we dont get work and angie still wants her money.But some home owners don’t care what they do to a companty
COMPLETELY disagree that Angie
I have been a self employed roofing contractor for over 20 years w/ the same employees for over a decade & have always maintained an A plus rating w/ all the agency’s . I am tired of getting ripped off by company’s offering to advertise my co on line that just does nothing but cost me money. Please if you are honest, let me know what direction i should go. Thank you …..Tom Jannace
Make sure as an accredited member of the BBB you are listed in all the relevant categories they have. Under Roofing this can be as many as 7 different Roofing categories. The BBB has over 4000 differnet type of business categories and with a web site that gets more traffic than angieslist.com your business will not be found as often if not in all appropriate categories…in addition there is a way to show your business in a greater service area than the 25 miles around your office their database puts you in…today the BBB website is often found through Google searches which have a city in the search and if that city is outside 25 miles you don’t show up…also with their HUGE site traffic you may want to look into thier marketing services if offered at your local BBB.
Hi Tom. I’m not sure which companies you are talking about but there I’ve seen a lot crop up that claim to advertise businesses. I think the key is to find out how your clients found out about you. Where are your prospects seeking information on roofers? The key to effective marketing is to know where your prospects receive information and then create a message they will hear – and put it in that place. Companies will talk a good game about being a resource but if your prospects don’t know about it or aren’t ‘shopping’ there, it’s no use to you.
The internet has changed marketing and there are many low cost or free opportunities to market these days. Positioning yourself as an expert in your field is a great way to bring attention to your business. You can do this by article writing, blogging, responding to blog posts, conducting workshops or seminars. These are just a few ideas on marketing avenues. Hope this helps!
We are listed with Angies and BBB and it’s a great way to prove to customers that our company is legit, have a place in the community and is reputable.
There is a lot of heresy about Angie’s List. No one gives real numbers about her site.
Here are just a few:
– 5 business can advertise per category in a region. Just kidding – they just changed that to TWELVE.
– You can email your sales rep whenever you want to ask for profile stats – impressions in search and # of times your profile was viewed. but they only give you the last 30, 90 and 365 days. A little archaic.
– You can negotiate EVERYTHING with them. I talked with a former sales rep and he said they have the authority to lower the price of packages down UP TO 50% of their “list price”
I have a lot more about Angie’s List advertising that you can read in my 2 part blog post:
Part 1: ADVERTISING ON ANGIE’S LIST : 5 Things You Need to Know Before Signing the Dotted Line
Part 2: ANGIE’S LIST ADVERTISING : An Insider’s Perspective
As a A+ BBB member and super service Angie’s List member for 4 years, I must say recently Angie’s List has turned into an extortion racket! We are leaving them. They communication vehicles that are supposed to link consumers to businesses are faulty and then if you can’t contact the customer (because AL doesn’t give you a phone number), AL sends you a threatening email. AL also does nothing to get a businesses side of a story-they allow any consumer to post any negative rating without any verification-and they only allow a 1000 word rebuttal with no pictures-so business can’t really protect themselves. We have over 500 reviews, 99% A’s but our experience with the one F we received from a consumer who has an ongoing racket of not paying contractors was so bad with Angies list that we are dropping them and our 1000/month ad expenditure. Google Ad words works the best for us.
This is good to know. I wonder if AL is experiencing some challenges lately. They’ve changed their business model which could mean they were experiencing fall off in sales. You might want to check out http://www.knowyourcustomer.com. It’s a site where you can share information about difficult customers.