Category Archives: Peer Reviews

Vermonters listen to neighbors’ business recommendations

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 7.18.49 AM“I visited Deepa’s Beauty Salon after reading a recommendation on Front Porch Forum. Thanks for the review. I also found it to be very clean, have professional staff, good prices, and great services. Thanks.”
• Luba, Winooski FPF

Here’s the original post recommending this local business…

“Today my out of town friend took our daughters to Deepa’s Beauty Salon for manicures. They had an excellent experience–great customer service and quality of work. The atmosphere was clean, professional, yet also homey and inviting. My friend took off her very valuable (both financially and emotionally) wedding rings for the manicure and then left them there. Several hours later, she realized her mistake.  The salon owners met us after hours on a Saturday night and very cheerfully opened up the salon and returned the rings. We are so grateful for their integrity, honesty, and friendliness. It’s businesses like these that bring pride to Winooski. I encourage you to support this wonderful locally owned business!”
• Arica, Winooski FPF

How to find a contractor in Montpelier…

“Hi Neighbors and FPF. You suggested we use Adam Jackson of Artistone of Vermont to sweep our chimney. He came today and did an excellent job, taking care to double check his work. Adam is also a mason with lots of experience and based on what we saw today, we are hiring him for a small job we need done.”
• Martha, Montpelier Front Porch Forum

Like Angie’s List, only better… in Morrisville

“I’ve donated to FPF as I’ve found my ‘lawn guy,’ and someone to clean my chimney and repair my washing machine! I also gave away stuff that I no longer needed. It’s like Angie’s List, only better… and LOCAL! So I encourage everyone who uses FPF to donate if you are able – it is a great resource.”
• Debbie, Morrisville Front Porch Forum

“Charlotte neighbors and FPF – thank you!”

Jill in Charlotte posted this yesterday on her FPF…

Recently, I posted on Front Porch Forum about accommodation for my sister and her family over the holidays. I received such wonderful responses, a range of great possibilities! She did end up going with one of them.

And, just today, I picked up my car from Chris at Charlotte Collision. I called him because I remembered at least one FPF post singing his praises. I’d like to add my voice:  Chris looked at the damage to my car, gave me an estimate and an appt, and today it was ready for pick up. It looks great and Chris was very reasonable, commonsensical, easy, and lots of fun to do business with.

Charlotte neighbors and FPF — thank you!

Angie’s List a pyramid scheme?

Interesting critique of Angie’s List on Screenwerk today from a plumber in Seattle.  Angie’s List recently pushed into Vermont where tens of thousands of households use Front Porch Forum for a variety of purposes, including plumber recommendations.

I have years of experience with Angie’s List as a local plumber in Seattle. They have gotten money out of me and gave nothing in return except much trouble from customers that tend to be pretty passive aggressive. Angie’s List get paid on both ends – Any contractor listing you see is only visible to you if the contractor is paying Angie’s List through the nose. My cost for Angie’s List “hot leads” was $300 each. Testing Angie’s List cost me $7000 over two years. While paying such high costs for leads may work for a major construction project , it won’t work for a service call where we charge by the 1/4 hour.

Google clicks have gotten as high as $38 per click here in Seattle when the search term used is “plumber” or “plumbing”. On the average it takes 15 clicks to get a call. Do the math on the cost to the guy ringing your doorbell.

Angie’s List cost per job performed was 75% of my company’s average invoice total (about $400). My company does over a thousand jobs a year.

Any homeowner service using this advertising method is paying way too much to maintain any integrity in the service. This type of advertising creating an incredible amount of pressure to convert to a commission-based high profit business model for basic traditional services. If I pay Angies List hundreds of dollars just to ring your doorbell how can I treat you fairly when your plumbing problem requires an hours work? I can’t so I cancelled my advertising contract with Angies List.

Angie’s List uses a unique money making model that actually is a kind of pyramid scheme. They put all the local harvested contractors into their listings but you only will call highly rated ones. In order to be highly rated you must pay Angie Thousands of dollars a year for position in order to be seen AND time in grade is required to accumulate favorable reviews. Only a dozen or so can be in that position. The homeowner only calls the ones at the top so all new advertisers must invest thousands on continuing annual contracts to play the game on Angie’s List…

In my opinion, it is time for both local business and consumers to get control over how we find our services and customers as the marketers are hijacking the business to consumer relationship and forcing costs so high that nobody can bear the costs.

Question: Why should we need out-of-state corporations to connect homeowners to services down the street? Surely there is a simple, inexpensive way for us to know our neighbors and small businesses. We all need to put a little thought and effort in that direction.

Search your FPF archive for past recommendations…

#VT – Hinesburg resident John Eastman just completed an electrical project for us and did an excellent job!  I found his name in the archives of our Front Porch Forum.

He was affordable, always showed up on time, handled my many questions with patience and the end result is exactly what we had in mind.

If you are looking for an electrician, I highly recommend him.

Posted by Brigitte today on the Hinesburg FPF.

How do you find a contractor?

Indeed, how does a person find a home improvement contractor?  From Greg Sterling today, a recent survey found that asking a friend is the top approach.   This jibes with our experience.

“Seeking plumber/mechanic/roofer/electrician/etc./contractor recommendations” is one of the most common postings on Front Porch Forum.