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Many times we need to hire a contractor and try to extensively google for reviews on that contractor. Sometimes to no avail :(

Just curious what web resources you use when trying to find a contractor? Be it a review site or some other method, what have you used in the past to identify the best person for the job?

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I have used ServiceMagic (http://www.servicemagic.com/) in the past and been pretty happy with the results (I was able to find a good electrician through it), but that was along with checking up on the contractor through a Google search. I wouldn't just trust a ServiceMagic reference without being able to find some other proof of the quality of the contractor. I do not have a specific list but usually if the contractor has a quality website, business license, 800 phone number, etc. then they get some points toward being awarded my business.

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I had good luck with ServiceMagic for a tree removal guy. However, for other projects (landscaping, deck work) it couldn't find anyone. I guess it just isn't used that much in this area (central PA). Most people around here never heard of it. –  msemack Aug 3 '10 at 12:54
    
I think contractors have to pay to be listed. That reduces the pool quite a bit. –  DA01 Oct 17 '11 at 4:20
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Angie's List is a subscription-based review service for contractors and service providers.

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I've thought many times about signing up for this, but I am nervous about finding many reviews for contractors in my small rural area. I wish they would let you at least search and show what kind of hits to expect before you sign up. –  JohnFx Aug 3 '10 at 22:03
    
Maybe you should suggest that feature to their site! –  Wayne Werner Aug 4 '10 at 20:10
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Not a website, but the best way I've found to find contractors is to talk to them at other job sites. If you know where any new houses are being built near-by, run over and talk to the contractors on site. They can show you their work and recommend others that they work with too.

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I found that none of the services like Service Magic or Angielist allows for a bad feedback from the client. If you are not a happy customer, there is no way to post your review about your bad experience with your contractor.

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I agree from an angies list POV. I signed up many years ago and found it to be not at all transparent and the ability to report issues nonexistent. –  DA01 Oct 17 '11 at 4:23
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This is incorrect. Angie's List allows you to post bad (or good) feedback in the form of vetted reviews. Most contractors take this feedback very seriously as reviews determine what other users see. –  Alex Feinman Oct 2 '12 at 16:51
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I've had a different experience than @Bea with angieslist.com. I don't have any insider connection to angieslist (other than being a customer). Perhaps the experience is different in other markets, since angieslist splits their subscriptions up regionally (I'm in north Alabama, USA). Or perhaps angieslist has changed over the past year since @Bea posted.

I strongly recommend that you read the full text of all angieslist reviews before hiring a contractor. It has been an invaluable resource for me personally over the last year. After floundering for years with bad plumbers & electricians, I've now found great ones almost exclusively via angieslist. For big jobs, I still meet with the contractor before hiring him (common sense still applies when using angieslist). I read bad reviews all the time on angieslist, so that criticism also doesn't apply in my experience.

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I've used the Craig's List services section, but without much luck. I don't know if it my breath or something, but even people posting ads that seem desperate for work never return my messages.

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I've had much success with contractors from http://homestars.com/cities

Check to see if they have listings for your area.

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