Launched in 1995 as a site aggregating verified online reviews, Angie’s List reached mainstream popularity in the last few years, and boasts about 1.5 million subscribers.
After constantly hearing about Angie’s List, I decided to finally give it a try. What pushed me over the edge was a recent decision to get the windows tinted on our family van.
After signing up with Angie’s List, I was able to go immediately to an entire category that ranked window tinting companies in my area, where I could sort and review the companies using a number of metrics. The List uses what is essentially a report card-style grading system–everything from A to F, depending on the aggregate of the grades in a few sub-categories.
Those sub-categories range from things like price, quality, and responsiveness to metrics for punctuality and professionalism. It’s easy to see both the number of reviews a company received as well as the overall and break-down grades in each category.
Special offers and “coupons” can also be entered by companies directly in the system, often allowing Angie’s List members access to exclusive savings. I received 10% off my tinting services just for being a member.
Once on a company’s page within the List, you get a great overview of the company’s information like location, hours, years in business, and insurance coverage, and you can also email the company directly from this page and receive a guaranteed response within 4 hours (I’m not sure how Angie’s List enforces these standards, other than by reviewing any complaints that come in for non-compliance).
My experience in looking for a tinting company was fairly easy–it was obvious that one company stood out above the rest, with far more reviews and better grades than its competitors. There were also some unexpected benefits of being a List member–while I originally had some trouble getting a weekend appointment, I’m pretty sure that once the owner realized I was a List member, they called me back within minutes and had no problems getting me scheduled in.
It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy: business owners know that by pleasing Angie’s List members, they can get good reviews and therefore more future business, so they are especially mindful of customers they know are likely to rate them in the List.
Speaking of the review process (after the experience), it’s as easy as selecting the provider, providing your ratings, and writing some short verbiage about the experience. For some types of vendors, there are also options for completing a longer, optional survey with additional detailed information. For example, I did this kind of survey when putting in a rating about my doctor’s office recently.
In summary, Angie’s List gives you accurate reviews of local businesses, gives you access to exclusive coupons, and gets you five-star treatment at many places.
Cost of Membership
Angie’s List offers two basic memberships: the original List, and a Health & Wellness module. You can get a discount for subscribing to both, as well as increasing discounts for longer memberships (they range from monthly to 4 years).
A one-year bundle membership to both lists costs $40, which is reasonable. If you use Paypal to pay for your membership, you can save more–as of this writing, that discount is 20%.
Angie’s List Coupon Code: Two simultaneous discounts worked for me, so it’s likely that you can save an additional 20% off the membership cost by using this link. For a one-year list & health bundle, that’s in the $25-range, which is a great price.
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