So far as one plumber. Well, he is the plumber/ceramic tile/ handyman --he is commented on under them all, and none too favorable. Would like to make my comment that this is the plumber from hell, but, I will be nice. I will also, be honest.
Now, why do you call him a "plumber"? He is a handyman, clear and simple, regardless of any licenses he has.
I have had all kinds of "referral" companies call me, and they all promise to increase my revenue from their customers. I have yet to find any that do so, and since they want a fee, either you raise your price to those customers or accept a smaller profit margin. In addition, a lot of customers think that a service, like AL, is a discount site and you should be lowering your price or giving a "rebate".
HJ My comment is this:
Plumbers to me are licensed contractors. But the word plumber seems to get thrown around a lot and the licensed guys suffer.
If I start advertising myself as a plumber on AL and I'm installing toilets for say 50 bucks...and I have 100 great ratings-I would be screwing a lot of career plumbers.
All you have to do is show up with big smile-charge 50 bucks and you will get great plumber ratings.
10 years ago Plumbers didnt have all this complication to deal with. It was yellow pages and word of mouth for the most part.
The mass influx of web data is challenging.
In some cases the new kid on the block can squash his competetion in months
even if his product or service is mediocre simply because he's very tech savvy.
The man who spent 30 years slowly developing his clientele can suffer unfairly.
Catch Angie this weekend on CNN's Open House with Gerri Willis:
Nov. 18 9:30 AM EST CNN
Nov. 18 5:30 PM EST CNN Headline News
Nov. 19 5:30 PM EST CNN Headline News
This list sounds about like the "Better Business Bureau" in Alabama. Reminds me much of a Mafia routine... "pay me and I'll let you do business and say nice things about you"... don't pay me and I won't protect you...
I'm somewhat a flegling business and still do all kinds of handyman work to make ends meet. I definitely prefer just doing plumbing but take on kitchen and bath remodeling as well. I WOULD NOT invest in a yellow pages ad for a business of my size (one person!). I have LOTS of days off, extremely low overhead/operating expenses, streamlined bookeeping, and when I do work I make more in a day or two than I would make working for a company in a whole week.... and my prices are fair and reasonable and the quality is as good as any other. I did the yellow page ads in a previous business. The first year or two it helped but not enough to cover the expense. My best advertising has been fliers, busines cards, and inexpensive local sales papers.
I simply do not trust the feedback from these kinds of lists. Word of mouth and seeing their work is the only real way to evaluate an unknown contractor/skilled laborer. Too, just because one person is unhappy with a contractor does not mean that conractor is not the one for you. Contractors get bit by customers who expect more than agreed upon. Contractors are people too and have personal and family problems as well as jobs that just have kinks and get tough which throws their timing off. Some take jobs too cheap just to have an income or to keep their employees busy during slow times...and this is going to end in someone not being happy...they sometimes leave the job for more lucrative work only to come back later to finish the "cheap" job when they get around to it. For this reason I highly recommend that you don't haggle over prices... take it or leave it. Don't expect a good job or good relationship if you get the work done for less than the original price quoted. If it's someone who is new in the area or new in business (but has the skills) he/she may not be familiar with pricing and wants the job for the experience and exposure. These guys can give you a really good deal and very good work! You can pretty well tell that if a person is well tooled and equipment is obviously used but in good condition that the person has experience. They won't have much experience if they are not good and will not have a decent set up... I'd also watch out for those who are "TOO" organized... a sure sign of a flim flam.
Nope... seldom go to Tuscaloosa. Once upon a time (1998) I did a short stint as a truck driver and had a couple of jobs with Rite Aid and with Flower's bakery. I barely learned my way around Tuscaloosa then... The company put me up at the Jovonn Inn and I had to eat out all the time. I found an old restaurant where they served meat and vegetables ... I'm not much for the burgers and fries.. prefer just good down home cooking... peas and taters, greens & beans. I eat GOOD low classed food! I travel to Marion and Livingston from time to time on jobs... so maybe I'll stop in on McFarland and check out Archibalds... thanks..RJ
My Two Cents
Angie's List or BBB, they both have extreme limitations on what they can tell a consumer.
Case in point:
I had my roof completely redone; eaves and all, by an, according to bothe these companies, a very reputable roofer. One of the largest roofers in Columbus. Not only could they not properly put tongue and groove boards fit tightly together; it is crooked, split from overnailing, sections upside-down, rotten decking, warped felt paper, improperly nailed shingles...there was not one area of the entire process from contract bid to arbitration that they did not mess up. They lost, I received back nearly all my money.
Moral: Do your research yourself. Ask for references and visit them if you can. Document, document, document.
Oh well, I gave up the real world and moved to my vacation home (an old old mobile home) on the banks of one of the most beautiful lakes in the USA... I'm still new here and building local business is slow. Hopefully I'll be on the good side of Angie's list. Funny you mention roofers... one of my side gigs is occassionally repairing roofs on apartments for one of the largest construction companies/property management agencies in Alabama. I'm not saying they don't do good roofing... I just get alot of business repairing the one's they built. (2) Years ago my mom hired the largest roofing company (and the highest bidder!) to do a roof on a rental house. I spent the next 10 years replacing sheetrock in the ceiling and patching the same are of the roof. Finally I totally ripped the roof apart and rebuilt it to eliminate a turn in the valley.... problem solved. A big part of the problem is that the old wood was held down by old rusty nails and would pull up in high winds. The wood went back down but the nails stayed up causing lots of leaks over the years.
Funny this thread is still running. I just got spammed by Angies list today from the Tampabay affiliate. They are on my S*** list now.
Speed... I think we all have at least one of them lists...
It was a typical HTML email with all the bells and whistles. Telling you how much you need them etc. I don't think there was any corilation between this thread and the Spam. I just thought it was odd that this thread was ongoing and I get the Spam during it.
I am not a member and won't be. I know a bazillion contractors in my area. I know the good and the bad, so I don't need a "for profit" entity to help me find the guy who is heavily sponsored by them to do my work. Even though you can get a good contractor from their recommendations, you must realize the "for profit" thing is what concerns me the most.
I'm sure some of the guys out there have worked for American Home Shield. The company that insures homes for a year after the sale or longer if you care to keep the contract going. It didn't take me long to find out how many things weren't covered after a few service calls. They make you think your are covered against practically everything. Better read the fine print. And if you stick up for the customer, your not going to get any more of their work.
Inverness.. ugh... too much big money, too many snobs, too many apartment dwellers... give me the air and the smell of pine trees!!!! (Have you ever seen what happens to an overcrowded box of rats? That's close to what happens in a big crowded city... it's nasty!) NO WAY to sell out of this place and get crammed in a city ever again... We must be in the same age group... My joints are too rusty to do just any kind of work anymore. I frequently turn down jobs where I have to look up alot. My sister lives out past Inverness down in the narrows off of 280...garden homes... for what they paid for that cracker box of a house where they can spit on both neighbors without moving out of one spot I can get a double wide and 40 acres in Cullman and be lots happier and safer.
I've never been much of a traveler and some of the hard knocks in life definitely kept me close to home. I went to Denver with my family in 1957 and a few years ago I went back there to deliver some restaurant equipment that I sold over the internet... it was a good father/son trip and mainly just to get away from a dying business. I was definitely needing a change in my life at the time. Other than that, except for basic training at Lackland AFB, I've never been north of the Mason Dixon and only a couple of times west of the Mississippi (as far as Killeen,TX) while working as a "rent-a-driver" for a truck driver employment agency.
Not knowing much about other parts of the world, I've never been anywhere that the people are any better or nicer. My neighbor lives in California. He told me that he is seriously consdering moving back here full time and that his wife can come if she wants to or just stay there. His whole reasoning is simply that there is just such a big difference in the people and the lifestyle. If you've not been around since the 80's I can tell you that the traffic on 280 has only gotten worse. I-459 is open 1/2 way around Birmingham (on the south side of I-59)... and Birmingham is #4 in the nation in it's rate of murders... highly concentrated in inner city black areas...lots of drugs and drive by shootings. Downtown is highly minority oriented and most contracts are going to minority owned companies. Alot of the old department stores and other buildings are being converted into loft apartments. I worked with a contractor last spring plumbing one of these... the old Blach's department store. These seem like alot of kickback, high dollar, schemes to me..and very politically backed...but that's politics everywhere. Alabama & Auburn are still the big colleges to watch and football is all anyone wants to talk about except for lots of folks into NASCAR racing. The growth around Birmingham has been nothing short of phenomenal. Hiway 280 has developed tremendously all the way out past Chelsea with high dollar everything. Trussville area has gone up the same way. All of the places that were classy and nice in the 70's are falling to the wayside, getting run down and becoming crime ridden....and people who can are moving out. Even the area around Jefferson State Jr. College which used to be heavily wooded is now heavily populated with lots of housing developments, apartments and businesses. Walmart has killed all the businesses in small towns and Target is aiming at them. Hmmm... I could probably write a book on the changes I've seen without even touching on politics and the huge growth of prisons and what an industry that has become.
Should I ever make it back to T'town I'll seriously consider having them make package I can send you and hubby. We do have a couple of good BBQ places. Near Hanceville there's a place almost out in the road "Top Hat". And, near the walker county line there's Green Top. Both are super good and hard to truly enjoy without a good cold beer.
Don't know what to say to that... I've got 3 ex-wives but none resulted from that fate. Fortunately...maybe this time.. I'm really mad at this woman that lives with me because she didn't come into my life 30 or so years ago. It sure could have saved me lots of grief had she been around rather than having to do so much sampling to find someone that could get along with me.