Searching for a Contractor in All the Wrong Places

Searching for a Contractor in All the Wrong Places

Plenty of experts predict the Angie’s List business model — relying on consumers to pay for information they could get for free — is not sustainable. But Angie’s probably has a way to go before it runs out of steam. Yet even free review sites may face difficulties.

Why? As many as one-third of all online reviews are fake. At some point, consumers may decide they just don’t believe or trust what’s written. A new type of review site may change that.

The overwhelming majority of people believe word-of-mouth reviews, so why bother with online reviews which could be phony or come from a stranger when you can get a review on a contractor from a friend?

Linking through your social media spaces, review site newbies Porch and YouNeedMyGuy help consumers find building contractors their personal contacts have used.

Porch is currently now only in Seattle, with a national rollout scheduled for midsummer — focuses on home services professionals, like pole building erectors. The service is free for consumers, who can browse project images, search for pros, and also make use of an educational component to help them make informed decisions.

Professionals can create a “Free” profile or opt for a “Partner” profile, which typically receives four times as many leads. They then pay a finder’s fee when they get new business from Porch (the fee is about 5% but depends on profession and project size). Porch has no contracts or annual or monthly fees.

microphoneOn YouNeedMyGuy, a consumer creates a profile which links to a social media platform of his choosing. Looking for a pole builder? Several names appear along with details about who reviewed the company. The more people the consumer knows who reviewed the business, the higher ranked the business will be. Since the system is based on personal connections, even small companies have the chance to rank first. A business cannot buy a top spot.

For pole building contractors, these kinds of sites help enhance, not control, the online review process — and their use may be news worth spreading from friend to friend.

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