How do you find the right contractor to handle home improvements, an honest mechanic to perform car repairs, or the best entertainer to perform at a kid’s birthday party? Angie’s List provides the answers, in the form of thousands of reports and reviews of service companies in more than 400 categories, from contractors to health care. Anchored in Indianapolis, Angie’s List is a membership-based service with over 750,000 subscribers nationwide.
How Successful is Angie’s List?
The company placed on Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in the nation three years in a row – 2002, 2003 and 2004. Three companies have made major investments in Angie’s List in 2008:
Angie’s List had previously received some $13 million in funding, primarily from Aquent and BV Capital. The company expanded its service ratings to include the health care industry in March, and plans to continue aggressive growth, eventually on an international basis.
Who Determines the Ratings
Members submit 40,000 reports every month, whereby they rate their personal experience in working with a specific service provider. They assign the provider an overall grade from A to F, just like a school report card, and then assign grades in each of five specific areas:
Because the ratings are provided by homeowners – actual users of the services – rather than the businesses themselves, impartiality and integrity are maintained. Companies with an overall grade of A or B may advertise in the monthly magazine or on the Web site, but these ads are displayed in the form of coupons and discounts exclusively for members.
What Membership Entails
The benefits of being a member of Angie’s List include the following:
There is a one-time signup fee of $10, after which dues may be paid monthly or yearly. Monthly dues are $5.95, while annual dues are $47.00 for one year, and progressively less for multiple-year memberships.
Who is Angie?
Angie Hicks is the founder and chief marketing officer of Angie’s List. She began the company in Columbus, Ohio, by literally going door-to-door and asking neighbors for their opinions of service providers. After the first year, the company had grown to a membership of 1,000, and the rest is history.
Angie holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in economics from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., which named her a 2007 Distinguished Alumni for Management and Entrepreneurship.