Looking for a professional to manage your lawn, build a deck, or remodel your bathroom? No matter your home project, you want it done well. You also don’t want to spend precious time or money shopping around for endless quotes or screening each company individually.
Two well-established digital home service marketplaces, HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List, provide homeowners an online network and tools for finding and hiring the best professional for their projects—vetted and reviewed experts tailored to their specific needs. These sites also give contractors a non-traditional marketing channel—a new, direct way to engage with potential clients and build their businesses.
Whether you’re a contractor looking to grow your brand or a homeowner looking for a highly-rated professional to complete a service, HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List are competitive tools for finding what you need. Even though they themselves aren’t competitors; in 2017, these two powerhouses merged under IAC (while still operating separately) to become the predominant industry player. But how do they differ? Which platform is best for your home needs? Let’s analyze the benefits—and costs—of each platform.
The Basics: HomeAdvisor
HomeAdvisor — previously known as ServiceMagic — began in 1999 as a way to easily connect consumers with pre-screened service professionals. Since then, it has facilitated more than 11 million matches and boasts four million unique website visitors every month. A vast community of professionals—a whopping 60,000—are members of HomeAdvisor, helping homeowners complete home improvement projects, maintenance, and repairs.
The Basics: Angie’s List
When it comes to the selling of any product or service, reviews are paramount. And on Angie’s List, members submit more than 60,000 reviews—every month—about the professionals and companies they hire in over 720 different services. More than 6 million homeowners are scouring these reviews, looking to find the perfect match for their home project or service need. Since its inception in 1995, when it was simply an online directory for crowdsourced reviews, it has grown to help millions of consumers make informed and confident decisions about which local service providers to hire.
Nuts and Bolts: HomeAdvisor
Let’s dig a little deeper into the ins-and-outs HomeAdvisor. How are contractors vetted? What resources are available for homeowners? How much does it cost? Here are the details:
Screening Process: On the internet, you never know exactly what you’ll get when making purchases. But when it comes to your home, you want only the most professional and trustworthy individuals tending to its needs. So how does HomeAdvisor screen its contractors?
As HomeAdvisor explains, there are a few layers of safety and verification to assure that homeowners connect with the best possible service providers. Professionals listed on HomeAdvisor must have the relevant trade licensing, pass criminal and searches, and have their identity verified by social security number. These standard requirements help protect consumers against dangerous or fraudulent businesses.
Review and Rating System: When you’re trying to find the best of the best for your home project, you’re likely to make your decision based on the experiences of previous customers. Simply put, reviews matter — for both contractors and homeowners. Consumers can narrow and browse reviews by category, city, or simply let HomeAdvisor match them to pros based on their specific needs. Customers who hire professionals for projects are asked to complete ratings and reviews about their experience, helping other users find the right pro for their job, and helping improve the quality of the platform.
Costs: Let’s talk dollars and cents. How much does HomeAdvisor cost? For homeowners, HomeAdvisor is free to use. Users can easily access reviews, information, and ratings for professionals and use HomeAdvisor services to get matched up based on their needs. Contractors, on the other hand, are charged fees (a variable cost per lead) to participate in HomeAdvisor’s network and get access to client leads.
How to Use:
For homeowners, HomeAdvisor is easy to use. Start with a simple search or click, based on the service you’re looking for, or location you’re located in.
Let’s say you’re looking for home cleaning services. You’ll answer specificity questions to narrow down your needs. These questions help HomeAdvisor specify your location, needed frequency, and additional details.
From there, HomeAdvisor provides you with a match, a professional included in their network of contractors. On this page, you can browse reviews and ratings, explore lists of services, and make detailed bookings directly from the site. You can also request estimates, contact contractors, view average project costs, and access additional tools (like HomeAdvisors True Cost Guide, which helps protect homeowners from overpaying for services).
For contractors looking to expand their list of clients, HomeAdvisor can be a great channel for identifying potential customers.
Their platform allows businesses to gauge demand based on their zip code and service category; they can then enter business details, set up an account, and pick service types and preferences.
With that info, HomeAdvisor provides leads that match those specific preferences. Contractors are charged per lead based on current price and area, but professionals can manage a budget by adjusting spending targets and account settings through HomeAdvisor’s tools. HomeAdvisor also has a Pro Resource Center that offers professionals tips, testimonials, and tutorials. HomeAdvisor’s tools help companies build their businesses by offering their own version of match-making services and relevant resources. More details can be found here.
Got more questions about HomeAdvisor? Read their list of frequently asked questions.
Nuts and Bolts: Angie’s List
What about Angie’s List? How does it match up? How does it work? Well, it’s important to note that HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List merged under IAC in 2017, joining to form ANGI Homeservices. These leaders control much in the home improvement field. Angie’s List, a true industry pioneer, was founded in 1995 and is a leading business directory and online ratings and review platform. In more than 720 categories (not just limited to home improvement — their directory includes auto service, healthcare, and more), members can find, research, hire, rate, and review local service providers.
Screening Process: Less extensive than HomeAdvisor’s vetting process, Angie’s List only conducts background checks on businesses who are certified Angie’s List providers and have an “A” or “B” rating. Homeowners can easily identify background-checked professionals by their
Angie’s List Certified Service Provider ribbon or green Super Service Award badge on their profile.
Review and Rating System: Angie’s List’s review and rating system is the hallmark of their service, allowing users to read and publish crowd-sourced reviews of local professionals and businesses. Businesses with a profile can receive detailed reviews, including info from homeowners about the quality of the service, cost, response time, price, professionalism; from this feedback, Angie’s List assigns businesses a grade.
Costs: Angie’s List is free for consumers to use on a basic Green level membership plan, but users can upgrade to Silver or Gold plans and receive access to additional tools and resources, like dedicated customer support. Members first create a free account, then can choose to view pricing plans and upgrade their membership plan for exclusive features.
Businesses and professionals can create free profiles, update their pages with contact info and business details, and start soliciting reviews and ratings. Companies that earn an A or B rating receive additional benefits, like certification and the ability to advertise on Angie’s List website and in its publications to boost leads. Plus, Certified Service Providers have the added benefit of extra display info, like the number of reviews, coupons, and a “Buy It Now” button. To appear as one of the top search results on Angie’s List, companies need to be Angie’s List Certified Service Providers, then pay advertising fees. To be a Certified Service Provider, contractors must meet minimum eligibility criteria, which includes: passing an annual criminal background check, maintaining an “A” or “B” member rating, have proper licensing, and maintain a company-verified profile page.
How to Use: Homeowners can begin by searching for their desired project type, then answering additional questions to narrow down their match.
For businesses, creating an Angie’s List profile is as easy as clicking the “Get Started” button, creating a free account, and inserting business details. Then, “Add Business,” and voila! Even if you’re not paying for additional marketing boosts, an Angie’s List profile is a good tool for businesses to improve SEO and increase brand visibility.
HomeAdvisor vs. Angie’s List: How Do They Compare?
How do HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List match up? Take a look:
|Price for Homeowners||Expense for Contractors||Users||Professionals||Background Checks|
|HomeAdvisor||Free||Cost Per Lead||+3M||+5M||Yes|
|Angie’s List||Freemium||Price Varies||+5M||+10M||Yes|
And the winner is…
Let’s face it: when planning a home improvement project, no homeowner has the time, energy, or motivation to do endless amounts of research, solicit quotes, and read reviews for the number of professionals required to find a great match for their project.
HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List are well-established platforms that can help streamline home projects for consumers by consolidating the steps into simple, prompted decisions aided by helpful matchmaking services. And everyone likes easy, right?
Consumers should remember, however, that many professionals are paying top dollar for prime real estate on these platforms, so matches are influenced by money. Plus, when matched, professionals get access to client info, and consumers will likely receive frequent contact from contractors. Consumers should still do their own level of research to verify contractors and assure that they are conducting safe hiring practices and receiving fair prices.
HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List are also developed to aid help professionals in boosting their businesses and creating marketing traction as they receive high-quality leads and opportunities to engage with potential clients. Contractors should keep in mind: even when paying for boosted benefits, leads and an increased customer list aren’t guaranteed. ROI is based on a number of factors and still requires work. Companies must continue to do their own marketing legwork to find high-quality leads and solicit genuine feedback.
Simply put, these online platforms aren’t the end-all, be-all tools for businesses or contractors, but they are great starting points. They offer rich info for service-seeking homeowners and lead-generating businesses, plus great resources and abundant opportunities for growth and engagement. To cover their bases, contractors should utilize both platforms—and the features of each—in order to effectively grow their business.