Questions for a former Angie's List Employee turned Window Cleaner

I formerly worked at Angie’s List on the advertising side of the business. I know the in’s and out’s of how to become successful, assuming that you make customers happy.

I’m not going to divulge anything that might get me in trouble through something I probably signed when I started working there but I would be more than happy to offer unbiased explanations of things if anybody is interested.

When used properly and with the right mind-set I’ve seen companies grow tremendously through Angie’s List and as a new member thought this would be a good way to contribute as I’ve taken a lot of information and insight away from this site.

awesome, thanks for your willingness to share.

i have a question. what’s the best way to go from basically being invisible on angie’s list to being among the top few in your service category. you can PM me if you perfer :smiley:

I can’t PM yet, not enough posts, but I think this would be good for everybody.

Your success on AL is based solely on your ability to get reviews from members. The more reviews you have the better you look, assuming that you’re getting A reviews or at least B’s. They are constantly tweaking things but the basic set up is similar to google with a simpler system to figure out. At the top of page 1 on any category search is a section reserved for advertisers (only A and B rated companies with 2 or more reviews can advertise). Under that belongs to non-advertisers. How you get assigned a spot within those sections is as follows. A rated with 5+ reviews, then A rated with 3-5, then A rated with 1-2. Then “B” rated follows in the same format, etc.

So the best way to not be invisible, regardless of advertising is to get the most “A” reviews as possible. There are also other E-Commerce programs that are great to get started. The “Storefront” or “Big Deal” are ways to get jobs quickly and help get reviews. You will probably only break even or might lose some money using these programs but the idea is that there is no up front cost to them and they get you into customers homes quickly.

Let me know if you have any other specific questions.

that’s the problem i’ve run into. you can’t get reviews unless you can get hired>you can’t get hired unless you have lots of good reviews>you can’t get reviews unless you can get hired…

see the cycle there? so it seems like you either need to convince your current clients to join angie’s list and leave you a review (sounds like a bad idea) or you need to run a big deal or storefront campaign, prepare to take a beating and just consider it an investment in reviews.

does that sound right?

Yes and No.

For some reason, and I could never figure out why but only about half of AL members reveal to contractors that they are members. So if your customers are home and you talk to them, ask every customer to leave you a review on Angie’s List (if they are happy). I think you might be surprised. The key is to have at least 5 reviews with an “A” grade.

That said, I believe only about 1 in 5 members will actually leave a review so it can be difficult at first. Once you get the ball rolling the cycle will work for you instead of against you.

In your quest to get reviews, make sure you do NOT do the following, self-report or pay for reviews.

You can set limits on the E-Commerce programs. For example is you don’t want to get bombarded with jobs that only break even, you can tell them that you can only handle 20 of these jobs and that you would space them out over the next month or so. Additionally, most of the time, these offers are set up so that there is upsell opportunity for the contractor. The deal might be for 20 windows. So on average, if you’re cleaning 35 windows, you would charge the homeowner for those extra 15 windows at your normal rates and AL has nothing to do with any upsell.

I give every residential customer a Angies list survey for after service.

I also encouraged people to do that but another good thing to do if you get a verbal commitment that somebody will leave a review and you notice they haven’t yet, follow up on the job to make sure their happy and then throw in a, “oh and btw, have you had a chance to leave a review yet?” even though you already know the answer. It’s good to follow up anyway but you can use it as a way to gently remind them.

AL also has or had those printable score sheets that could be mailed by a non AL member customer. Completely worthless concept due to AL being unable to confirm that each of those score sheets could not be verified (possible self-reports or paid reviews).:confused:

Thanks for offering and taking the time to answer questions.

How long ago did you work there? Is it true that Angie’s list is bleeding money?

Sent from my iPhone using Window Cleaning Resource mobile app

I will address a few things above.

The best purpose for those report cards is to actually leave behind with members as a reminder to leave a review online. They can also be handed out to non-members but that is very hit or miss. For a non-member review to count, they want to make sure that it isn’t a “self report” or a competitor leaving a negative review on another competitor, I think we can all agree the logic behind it is well intended. The issue lies in that if a non-member doesn’t leave an email address they won’t post it because they can’t prove it isn’t a self report or competitor. However, if that non-member leaves an email they will count it as a non-member report. If that person ever joins AL and uses that email on their account that non-member review will turn into a member review permanently.

I worked there for 3 years, before and after they went public. Their numbers look bad because instead of showing profit, they invest all profits back into advertising, which I’m sure you’ve all seen, there is no escaping it. However, all that advertising is growing the membership which increases exposure for contractors. All of this is public knowledge and reported but I don’t think a lot of people look into it. It is the same business model as Amazon which didn’t turn a profit for years, now they dominate the world.

From what I understand, Angie’s is a big deal in certain areas when you are trying to promote your business. There are only two reviews on WC’ers in my entire state and they are over a year old on tickets of less than $150. Obviously in my community there is not a lot of purpose to push for a review from my customers because they aren’t using the service.

I have an issue with the big deal promotions, its seems to be a conflict of interest to solicit business from one contractor to pay to be on the top of AL and then they promote another competitor directly to their members offering their services that undercuts the other businesses prices at 50-75% cheaper then other company that pays AL to promote them?

It was so frustrating to develop organic reviews and then a cheapo competitor has now 400 reviews because he is will to make his guys work for less then minimum wage…

I understand the frustration but that is just part of the beast. They are in it to make money and e-commerce is the future with more and more people buying products and services online. There isn’t really a conflict in interest because all advertisers can run as many Big Deal/Storefronts as they want while in the mid to larger cities non-advertiser can only run one per year but again I hear your point.

On the flip side though, you just made my point earlier that the Big Deal is a great way to generate reviews quickly, whether you agree with it or not, it is a great tool for building your online reputation on AL. Also, the one thing it absolutely do is get contractors into homes, especially in this industry. The only downside is that you might not get repeat business if they just wait until the next window cleaning deal comes out. However, on average the demo of AL members is the demo we all want.

Im kind of surprised that no one has asked.
Are you sure you dont still work for Angies List? I appreciate the insight in to the inner workings but it seem a little funny.
If you do still work for Angies List I think the insights are still appreciated.

Yes I’m sure I don’t work there anymore. I have gained a lot of information from this site as I just recently got started and thought I would offer my expertise as a way to give back to the community to those that had questions.

CBS News , and heres another [URL=“”]Angies List, So YES [MENTION=3135]diamondridge[/MENTION] they are losing money

Man I have several questions but doubt you can answer any of them. Let’s try one I guess. I’ve learned thru experience, you can negotiate the yearly membership fee down. But I’m wondering how far down. I think our offer was like $2200 a year and we got it for $1600. I’m wondering if $1000 was possible? Another question - is there a certain time of the year that’s priced better? Or closer to your membership expiring?

If you can’t answer publicly please give me a call (509) 954-9152 - I have a couple other’s I don’t want to share on an open board with the chance my competition could see.

Thanks for taking the time to answer all questions, very kind of you.

For a company losing money, do you think they’d rather have $1,000 or $0?

Sent from my iPhone using Window Cleaning Resource mobile app

Without getting into too much, your renewal month is actually the best time to renew. Pricing is based upon exposure so if they were coming at your with a 100% increase in price that is because you’re reaching twice as many members, if your price went up 30% its because you’re reaching 30% more members. Also, things to consider are inventory. For the web ad there are only so many spots. So that plays into how much they can move. The important thing to consider is the return you’re looking to get out of the advertising. If you want that to be 10:1, then look at the business the advertising generated and compare that with the growth and project how much that growth should net with your current ROI. It’s a guessing game but if it wasn’t it wouldn’t be called advertising and we’d all be rich.