Angie’s List From a Contractor’s Perspective

How does a large window company feel about Angie’s List?  I know that we’re a better company because of the accountability that Angie’s List customers create.  We know full well that if something doesn’t go right we’re going to see it in a review that the whole world can read.  A decent portion of our business comes from Angie’s List members and we know that if we want to keep the phone ringing we need to keep our profiles filled up with great reviews.

When I’m talking about the business with folks who are interested in opening a franchise they sometimes think all we need to do in order to run a great business is to install windows well.  In fact that’s far from the truth.

Here’s a small list of the tasks we need to accomplish to get a great review:

  1. Create advertisements that catch attention of potential customers leading them to call
  2. Answer the customers initial inquiry professionally and schedule an appointment to look at the windows
  3. Show up on time
  4. Professionally explain all of the options involved in custom windows including the benefits and the cost of each
  5. Answer customer questions and fend off misinformation often provided by competitors
  6. Complete all paperwork and make sure the customer is 100% clear on what they are ordering when the terminology can be unfamiliar
  7. Set appropriate expectations for how long the project will take in work time and in total lead time
  8. Accurately measure the openings noting all relevant details
  9. Order the products
  10. Answer any questions for manufacturers on order details
  11. Confirm products received are correct
  12. Schedule installation with the customer again confirming expectations for what happens in the case of unexpected delays or bad weather
  13. Installation team picks up products from warehouse
  14. Installation team installs windows and doors
  15. Installation team cleans up and hauls away debris
  16. Installation team recycles as much of the debris as possible and dumps the rest
  17. Complete any outstanding service requests
  18. Make sure customer is happy
  19. Collect final payment
  20. Send out final invoice and warranty information

That’s the basic process broken down into 20 steps.  I could break it down into 50 steps too, but I suppose you probably get the idea.  Remember, if any one of these steps is not completed perfectly we hear about it in reviews from Angie’s List members.  Notice how “Install windows and doors” is step 14 and just one of the 20.

The processes we need to put in place to consistently accomplish these tasks without error day in and day out for hundreds of customers at a time make us a better business.  If we were operating 20 years ago before the popularity of online review sites we probably wouldn’t have the focus on service that we do.

Can contractors pay to get good reviews on Angie’s List?

Nope.  We do advertise on Angie’s List in many markets.  We sometimes put ads in their newsletter and we almost always advertise on their website.  We do this because we’re proud of the great reviews we have.  We’ve worked hard for that and we want as many folks as possible to see it.

Does paying for advertising get us any reviews?  Nope.  All it does is increase the number of Angie’s List members who see our profile and that’s our goal.

Can contractors have bad reviews removed?

Nope.  We’ve tried.  We’re a pretty big advertiser with Angie’s List, were one of their top 100 advertising accounts, and we have absolutely no pull.

I remember a few years back we had a customer in Baltimore who had a service call related to her project.  That kind of thing happens and we were happy to address it.  We tried to schedule the appointment, but we didn’t hear back from her.  We tried to reach her 10 times over the course of 2 or 3 weeks to no avail.  Keep in mind our office is open over 70 hours per week and we do plenty of email too so we’re pretty easy to reach.

After 3 weeks without being able to reach her we sent an email stating that since we haven’t been able to schedule the appointment we’ll need her to pay her balance and whenever she is ready for a service call we’ll be glad to accommodate.  This is our standard policy as we’re always glad to service our products (all of our customers have lifetime warranties), but we can’t wait months on end to receive payment if a customer won’t respond to us.  This seems fair to us, but this customer did not like it.

She still never responded to us, but she promptly went online to write a very bad review about our company saying that we never completed the service call.  I saw this review, investigated the situation and called Angie’s List to see if we could remove this review as we were actively trying to service the product.  She still wouldn’t let us complete the service call(presumably because she didn’t want to pay her balance).  Angie’s List even tried to call her and she would’t return their calls either.

I’m the one who writes the checks to Angie’s List for all of the advertising and when I asked to have this review removed due to the customers unresponsivness I was flatly told “no”.  All we could do was write a response.

So for all of you skeptics out there who think the reviews are rigged, I can very clearly tell you that they’re really written by real people and the companies involved can only respond.

I would caution you to take an outlying reviews with a grain of salt as sometimes any company can run into a customer who just can’t be satisfied.  Perhaps that’s a subject for another post.

So is Angie’s List worth the cost?

I’ll tell you there is no better way that I’m aware of to get a complete and unbiased look at how a company operates than Angie’s List.  You can see what other members have to say, you can see how the company responds to great reviews and to not so great reviews.  You can also get an idea of the company’s typical pricing as members report the price that they paid for their project.

Keep an eye out for future posts on how to evaluate companies based on their Angie’s List profiles and how to deal with a problem on a project with an Angie’s List contractor.

If you’re thinking abut joining you can find special promotional pricing here.  Note: that the best deal is either the 2 or the 3 year membership as they give you a discount when you sign up and they’ll refund you 110% if you’re not satisfied.  You can now use promo code WINDOWDOG30 for 30% off!

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Update: We now have more recommend LOCAL window companies than ever before.   Click here to see who we recommend in your town.  It's 100% free.  You'll thank me.  There is no better resource; you're going to love it.  See for yourself right here.  

22 thoughts on “Angie’s List From a Contractor’s Perspective”

  1. Is this an American site? Do you have one that applies to Canada and Ontario? I need windows to combat the cold? Also how long should windows last? The life of most items does not seem to be too long.

  2. I am a consumer, so knowing this about Angie’s list is very helpful. Can you tell me if yelp reviews are filtered or same as Angie’s list? Thanks.

    1. Yelp reviews can be filtered, but only to remove reviews they “think” aren’t real. For example, my company has over 20 reviews that are filtered. They are real reviews from real customers as far as we know and they’re mostly great. Unfortunately Yelp makes them very difficult to find.

      I’ve personally talked to a Yelp rep about this when he was trying to sell us advertising. I told him we would be more interested in talking about advertising if they would stop filtering our reviews and just let them show up as entered by users. He said it was out of his hands.

      They have a strange process. It feels like it’s geared more towards pizza delivery places than larger businesses.

  3. What you didn’t note on your attempt to take down the bad review on Angie’s list, is that Angie’s list has a policy to always respond to LEGAL threats by businesses, in favor of the business.

    I’ve seen it time and time again by friends who are Doctors and well-to-do contractors. If you pay your lawyer to threaten Angie’s List with defamation of character/etc they immediately take down specific negative reviews. It’s expensive, and only some people can afford it.
    So, those that can afford to have a lawyer write a nasty letter threatening Angie’s List are the ones that have the only positive reviews.

    1. Well that’s an interesting bit of info. We’ll keep it in mind if we ever have a big enough problem. Luckily even the less than stellar reviews we’ve received over the years have been easy enough to deal with.

  4. Replacing 30 windows, with quotes ranging from 12.5K to over 50k. I’ve spoken to Window Nation (Fortis – 19k & Grandview 17k), American Window and Siding of VA (Fortis – 15.8K & Sunrise – 16k), OneSource (MiWD – 12.5k) & Ameritech (Oxford over 50k) to name a few.

    Any suggestions on a reliable company in Northern VA/DC area and any information you can give on the windows mentioned above would prove beneficial.

    Thanks in advance

      1. While I’ve already sent them an inquiry, and I look forward to what they have to offer, can you speak to the quotes I’ve already received?

  5. Do you know of reputable window replacement companies in the Virginia Beach (Hampton Roads Region, Southeastern VA) area? We have been approached by LEI Home Enhancements who are new to the area as a promotional home with the offer of installation of Revelation Fusion-Welded Vinyl Windows manufactured by Alside. You have done reviews on many Alside windows but not this particular brand. Are you able to tell us anything about them and/or the company?

    1. I don’t know anyone to recommend just yet, but we’re going to be adding service there soon. If you can hold out a little while I’ll be happy to help. Don’t have an exact date yet, but probably at least 30 to 60 days.

  6. I am trying to get replacement windows and this site Angies list and a site called thumbtack has been helpful in making decision. No decision yet; but getting closer as I learn from the quotes and discussions. Do your homework people; the salesmen tell you alot and you learn what to look for.

    1. No, that’s just what the fiberglass window salesperson may tell you, or the Fibrex salesperson for that matter.

  7. I have wood windows pretty good shape but all the weather stripping is falling out; should I just replace the weather stripping and forget the $2K cost for 5 windows?

    1. Depends what you want to end up with. Sounds like the options are repaired wood windows or new vinyl windows.

  8. Looking for best replacement windows in Lincoln NE. Currently looking at Bristol. How are they rated compared to other top replacement windows?

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