This was mentioned in the thread on hiring help. I joined the List just today and have a little info handy. This is an organization designed to help people connect with good service providers and avoid the bad ones. In the event of unhappy results, there is also a complaint resolution service.
Currently the List is active in 45 U.S. cities, with more coming online soon. The service has just been introduced here in San Antonio. I joined today and received a free membership until 12/9/07. Since I need help with several upcoming projects, reviewing the reports of others' experiences will be helpful, and will let me find contractors nearby - information lacking in the Yellow Page ads. Anyone planning remodeling could benefit from a short term membership - $5.95 per month or $51 per year.
Angies List has been a godsend for us. I've found plumbers, dry wallers, roofing contractors, chimney repair and cleaning, carpenters, painters, - you just about name it, I've found them on AL. And the workers know if you've found them on the AL they will have a report filed. It makes a real difference.
I subscribed to Angie's List in the Boston area several years ago after it was touted in an interview on a local television show. I cancelled subscription as soon as I looked over the materials which came in the mail because the service was clearly useless. Coverage in the various trades was very spotty, for example, in terms of numbers and geographical distribution within the region. Look up, say "electrician," and find only a few electricians listed and those ones many miles on the other side of the city--that is, tradesmen too far away to even consider.
The guide put out for the same region by an offshoot of Consumer Reports is very useful--a lot of people take the time to fill out forms for the producer of the booklet. If one has been done for your area, it is certainly worth looking at.
Angie's List in any given metropolis can only develop fully if the subscribers submit their reports. Just over six months in operation here, it has grown tremendously. My first two reports were about services I had found through the Yellow Pages or in the local newspaper of the adjoining small town. I may not always be able to find the service I need in every category in a nearby location, but it is the place I will start. uska