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rhiannonfl1 09-03-2012 11:48 AM

Contractor referral services question
Can anyone share their experience with contractor referral services? I'm talking about ones such as this: free to the customer -the service matches them with pre screened contractors. Apparently the contractors only pay a fee when the win the job and the customer has paid. I like the idea of them being pre-screened for insurance,licensing and reputation and that the contractor's don't pay up front. Am I likely to pay more for the job because the contractor pays a commission to the service?
I've tried going with referrals from friends and family and that has been hit or miss - tile guy was great, painter was not...

Service Magic just seems like one big online yellowpages to me -overwhelming and I really don't have time to do all of the research.

md2lgyk 09-03-2012 12:53 PM

I tried this once, when I was looking for someone to upgrade the electrical service in my house to 200 amp. I used a link on another DIY site that shall remain nameless. I was referred to a local electrician, called him for an estimate, and never heard from him again. Total waste of my time. At least I was able to post a quite negative review of this "professional" on the site.

user1007 09-04-2012 05:36 AM

Word of mouth referrals and reference checks are going to be your best bet. Contractors have to pay to be in those services as a member and then, as you say, fork over a commission too. Nothing wrong with this I guess but I usually stayed busy and the subs that worked for me too. Not bragging and admittedly I did specialize in antique homes that many do not like working on but I never advertised (other than a sign on the truck, business cards, lawn signs at the very first, and tee or polo shirts), or used such services. In fairness I didn't have a large crew with families I felt I had to support either and some contractors do. Their definition of staying busy was therefore different than mine.

JasperST 09-07-2012 06:18 AM

I agree with sdsester, word of mouth is best. If you don't know anyone that had any service done that makes it tougher, of course, but you can check with their referrals. If they don't want to provide any that might be a clue. I thought about Angie's list to advertise services but it looks like anyone can pay to be on the list. You have to take online comments with a grain of salt, who knows if it isn't a competitor ragging on their competition. Plus, anyone in business for any length of time can tell you that their are problematic customers that are unreasonable and unrealistic. And they love to complain. Yellow page ads (do they still have those?) only indicated how much money someone pays for advertisement, not necessarily quality of work or success.

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