Home Advisor is bad for the plumbing Industry
Home Advisor is possibly the worst thing to ever happen to the plumbing industry. Most of the companies that use Home Advisor are the bottom of the barrel contractors scavenging for work while tuning a blind eye to the fact that they are being pimped out and babysat by the sleaziest company on the internet.
The biggest problem that I have with Home Advisor is that they do not require trade licensing for specializing services such as plumbing, electrical, and HVAC work. They are incredibly deceptive in their marketing, reassuring clients of the background checks and license requirements they investigate. However there is a big difference between a trade license and a business license. If you look at the attached image you can see their disclaimer in fine print.
One of the other things that is really screwed up with Home Advisor is their process of releasing the homeowners info to the “contractor”. Most service request are responded to within a few minutes of the applicant submitting their information. Projects such as water heaters are bid out without even seeing the project. A great deal of water heaters are not up to code and will require additional work for them to operate safely. Most of the contractors installing water heaters do not include an expansion tank in their price or a new shut off valve. I’m sure they also charge extra for ice maker stops, flue adjustments, and gas line modifications. Either that or they just do a hack install, I’m guessing in most cases it’s the latter.
Home Advisor has also released an average job cost of what you can expect to pay with prices with a minimum cost of $380 and a maximum of $928. It displays the average job cost as $697. This just blows me away, as I have never spent under $400 on materials to install a water heater. In fact most jobs I spend about $525-$550 just on materials. Granite, I’m a true professional and hard pipe the water and gas lines and usually spend about 3 hours to install a water heater. My price to install a 50 gallon Bradford White with an expansion tank is $997, which is several hundred dollars less than most of the legitimate competition.