By Joseph F. Schuler Jr. Bill Wilder of the Case Handyman Services franchise in Minneapolis has found that a relatively new online consumer rating and referral service is a source of good leads and repeat calls. Of 98 leads he has gotten from Angie's List, he has closed 70 jobs. Although jobs average $3,500, he has landed several $10,000-plus projects.
According to Angie Hicks of Angie's List ( www.angieslist.com), the six-year-old online word-of-mouth network has rated about 20,000 remodeling, improvement, or repair companies in its 13 markets. Members rate companies in 250 service categories, including contractors, roofers, and architects. Ratings of A through F are based on overall service, experience, price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality, and professionalism. Consumers pay about $40 per year for membership.
"The beauty of this is once you're on Angie's List and referred and do a good job, they'll call you back," says Wilder. "The repeat customer is there."
The only way to get listed -- for better or worse -- is to be rated by a member. Wilder is among the positively rated companies that advertise coupon discounts in Angie's publication and Web site. Companies that fall below a B average have their coupons pulled and their money refunded. The network's goal is to expand into several new markets each year.