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Angie's List

Angie’s List

Don’t know who’s the real deal? Consumer-rated site Angie’s List aims to help

So it’s still hard to find a handyman to come out to your house? One new website is hoping to help.

Billed as a type of craigslist for home repair, Angie’s List ( is a consumer website dedicated to finding home repair professionals. It launched a few months ago in South Florida.

Founder Angie Hicks calls the website a ”glorified word of mouth network.” The concept is simple: Consumers sign up for the paid service, which is usually about $6 a month or $51 a year, plus a $10, one-time service fee. Right now, because the site is new to South Florida, it’s free.

Companies can’t put themselves on the list, although they are allowed a chance to respond to the reviews.

Once registered, users can search for anyone from a handyman to a mechanic, who are recommended and then graded in a simple A to F report card format by people who have hired the workers. They also can enter and rate contractors they have hired.

Once the site has been up for two years, each company’s listing will display an average of the reports it received. Companies are graded on punctuality, price, quality, and responsiveness, among other categories.

The site has really taken off in Miami — adding about 6,000 users in the four months it has been up.

”Miami has been a really good market for us,” said Hicks, who said the Miami Angie’s List has grown just as fast as other large cities it has recently entered. “People have taken to the service to us really quickly, which really reflects the need.”

The concept started in Columbus, Ohio, in 1995, and has since spread to 36 other cities with more than 300,000 registered users. The South Florida website, which launched in late March, lists more than 4,600 local contractors or other companies.

”Our goal is to get as much information out to consumers as possible,” said Hicks.

Hicks originally went door-to-door in Ohio to collect the consumer reports from friends and neighbors. A year later, she bought Unified Neighbors, an Indianapolis-based company, and modeled the current site after that business.

El Portal homeowner Barry Satz has already used the service to get air conditioning, plumbing and electrical work done at his home and office.

”It’s always hard to find reliable people,” said Satz, who has even found a tailor on the list. “Their method of having other people who have used the tradesmen you are thinking of using is very, very helpful.”

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