Saturday, May 5, 2012

Interview - Angie Hicks, Founder of Angie's List

Since I have been blogging about renovations and how to choose a contractor, I thought it would make sense to interview Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, a service that provides recommendations for quality service providers, as well as doctors.

Angie’s List is now a publically traded company closing at $14.07 a share on Friday, 4 May.

I was able to get Angie to answer a few questions for me and here is what she had to say to the questions she allowed:

Q: Angie’s list was established in 1995. What made you decide to start this business?
A: I was asked to start the business by Bill Oesterle, my co-founder. He’d recently moved to the Columbus, Ohio area and was having trouble finding reliable contractors to help with his home renovation. He had used a similar service in Indianapolis and thought they could help fill the need for other homeowners in the same situation.

Q:There are other service providers such as Service Magic in this space. What differentiates you?
A: Angie’s List approaches the idea of connecting homeowners and contractors/service professionals from the mindset of the consumer. We collect information about actual experiences to give consumers an idea of how each company performs. Our business model begins with a subscription fee from the consumer. We do not allow anonymous reports and we encourage companies to monitor and respond (free of charge) to the reports.  Once a company is reviewed by a consumer and starts to accumulate reports, other opportunities arise. If the company can first earn and then retain high grades, it is eligible to advertise its services. We also offer group coupons from those who are eligible to advertise with us. The consumer grades are key to eligibility, and if the grades fall, the advertising is pulled.  We also offer complaint resolution and a monthly magazine.

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect, for you, in providing this service to the public?  
A: Helping consumers find reliable information BEFORE they hire is the best reward.

Q: When did Angie’s list go public?
A: November 16, 2011.

Q: How many and employees do you currently have?
A: About 900

Q: What are your current revenue’s?
A: Please refer to our S1 statement filed with the SEC

Q: What plans are there for expansion?
A: We are now offering referrals for Doctors and planning to go into other areas of referral, but I can not disclose that at this time. 

It was very generous of Angie to take her time and respond to my questions. She has an impressive website and if you are considering a renovation I would highly recommend that you look into the service provided by Angie's List. All the best in your endeavors.

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