KBB Staff; Kitchen and Bath Business Magazine
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Q&A with Angie Hicks of Angie's List
September 05, 2007 - Angie Hicks knows a thing or two about what it takes to build a solid reputation with homeowners. Her company, Angie's list, which includes a subscription-based website and a monthly magazine, has 500,000 members in 124 cities that regularly rate and review everyone from contractors to plumbers to appliance sellers. We caught up with the very busy entrepreneur for an email Q&A.
Why did you start Angie’s List?
My co-founder and I started Angie’s List after he ran into difficulty finding quality help when rehabbing a 1920s house in the Columbus, OH, area. We thought there should be a better way for homeowners to find reliable and quality help around the house.
How many of your users come to your site for kitchen and bath information?
Kitchen and bath projects are consistently among the top requests we get. In a recent poll, we found that Angie’s List members planned to spend $5,570 on home improvement in 2007, which equates to 1.6 percent of their home’s value, a 12 percent jump from last year. Remodeling projects top the list for 29 percent of respondents, with 76 percent of those members saying they plan to remodel their kitchen or bathroom.
Angie’s List has ratings on 7,804 kitchen and bathroom remodelers nationwide. For the most part, our members are happy with the service they provide.
How can kitchen and bath designers build word of mouth, especially online?
The best way, of course, is to do good work for an Angie’s List member and have that member extol your virtues in a report posted on Angie’s List. I hear all the time from service providers who say they’ve built their businesses on Angie’s List reports. One service provider called in recently to complain that he was getting too much business from a good report on the List and he couldn’t keep up!
What are the top complaints you hear from your users about professionals in the kitchen and bath industry?
The work is too expensive.
Not returning calls.
Not showing up for scheduled appointments.
What are the top compliments for the k&b industry?
The project was done on time and/or on budget.
[The remodel] really updated the home and increased property value.
How can kitchen and bath designers avoid negative reviews on your site?
Our members are looking for the same things every consumer looks for: quality work at a reasonable price delivered in a professional manner. Lots of things can go wrong on a project, and professionalism and good communication can go a long way to mitigate any negative feelings. It all comes down to just doing a good job.
How can our readers encourage their clients to write positive reviews?
Many companies remind their customers to report back to Angie’s List.
What should a contractor or designer do if they get a negative review?
We attempt to be very fair and, therefore, companies can respond to any report. The response doesn’t change the report but is placed beside it so consumers can see both sides of the story.
Do you have any interesting facts or figures you can share?
A recent poll found that kitchen and bathroom remodeling is the most requested remodeling category on Angie’s List. Bathrooms are so important, in fact, that we devote an entire issue of our monthly magazine to discussing them. We call it the Toilet Issue, and it’s one of our most popular editions.
What trends are you seeing?
We’re seeing the green movement entering the bathroom industry with composting toilets and materials that are renewable resources, such as bamboo, wood flooring and other environmentally friendly products.
What are the strangest things your members have found in drains or pipes?
A live Civil War cannon shell in a residential sewer main, a live cat in a storm sewer, 15 pieces of a GI Joe collection and matchbox cars flushed down a toilet and empty airplane-size liquor bottles.