Home & Garden

5 Best Local Home Services Online: Thumbtack vs Taskrabbit vs Handy vs Angi vs Houzz

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Finding someone to do random things around the house is easy thanks to these tools.
Image credit: Carolina Jaramillo, Shutterstock

If you own your home like me, you know there’s a mix between major benefits and those nagging occasional headaches. When unavoidable problems arise, finding a reliable handyman, repairman, renovation contractor, or other home service professional can often be an overwhelming challenge. While word of mouth with your neighbors is usually the best way to find the best home services, we all have needs that our neighbors haven’t yet faced.

Fortunately, you have some online resources to get your search started for the help you need. I’ll give you a guide on how to find the best contractors and home service workers in your area. I also review several of the top home services online that promise to help connect you with local contractors and independent workers to provide such services as home repair, cleaning, yard work, and much more. Are these online sites worth it? They can be… but I recommend you do your homework before booking.

Best OverallBest For Handyman Jobs
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How To Find A Contractor Or Home Services Provider Who’s Reliable & Affordable

I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to find a skilled, reliable, and affordable contractor in your city or small town. Whether you need house repairs, home improvement, yard work, or cleaning, where do you turn to find the best fit for your needs?

My article focuses on national websites that can connect you with local contractors for a variety of needs. However, most of these sites get extremely mixed reviews from customers. Many previous users have found trustworthy contractors, while others call these sites a “scam.” So, I thoroughly researched each online company to give you my unbiased reviews.

What’s my overall advice from my research? These sites can connect you with some reliable contractors in your area. However, I recommend that you do your own homework on each contractor before hiring.

It’s important to keep in mind that every contractor or handyman you hire has a different track record. Many of the negative customer reviews I found revolved around individual service professionals, making it difficult to gauge each online service. Remember, these websites don’t employ the contractors.

Research Local Services Before Making A Commitment

If you’re not satisfied with the word-of-mouth recommendations you’ve gotten from your immediate neighbors, you have many other options. In addition to checking out the websites and apps I review below, I urge you to do a Google search for contractors that these sites recommend.

Another way to find a trustworthy home services professional is to join an online neighborhood group. I’ve had a ton of success finding local contractors through the Nextdoor app. Another great source is Facebook — most cities and towns have groups you can join to get local information, including contractor and handyman recommendations.

An added bonus with Nextdoor and Facebook groups is that customers often post comments about their experiences with specific contractors, so you can find unbiased reviews from your neighbors. I’ve not only found Nextdoor as the best resource, but when I started researching this topic, I also found that most Reddit commenters recommended Nextdoor to find the best local home service contractors.

Best Local Home Services Online: Thumbtack vs TaskRabbit

I signed up for all of the services I review here to test out what each one has to offer and how they help you through the process. All have free signups and searches, so you can easily take a look for yourself. In my reviews, I took into account my own experiences, customer feedback I found online and in apps, special features each service offers, and more.

For comparison’s sake, I searched for a professional to paint the exterior of my home with each website and app. I live in a town with roughly 8,800 residents, but I’m located about 20 minutes west of a city with a population of 45,000, so my results aren’t as extensive as you may find in a large city or major metropolitan area. Still, my searches rendered some good candidates.

Best Overall: Thumbtack Review

Thumbtack screenshot.
Profile of a “Top Pro” painter I found in my area through Thumbtack.

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The industry leader by far, Thumbtack offers widespread availability in all 50 states with hundreds of different service types — everything from home maintenance, repairs, and renovation to event planning and home health and pet services. All you have to do is enter the type of service you’re looking for and your zip code, and results will pop up from your search. Thumbtack matched me with four professional painters in my area.

Once you get your results, you can easily browse service professionals’ profiles and read verified reviews from previous customers in your area. I recommend those whose profiles have Top Pro status badges. These professionals have a long track record of excellent customer service. Also, according to Thumbtack’s website, “pros who are available through Local Services by Google have been screened for criminal background and sex offender status.”

Thumbtack also offers a guarantee that if you’re not satisfied with your project’s work, you can request your money back up to $1,000 of their fee. They also provide a property damage guarantee up to $100,000.

Widespread coverage across the U.S. and huge variety of services you can findMany complaints on the contractor side about poor customer support for pros
Extensive contractor profiles and customer reviewsA few customers reported having problems getting the money-back guarantee
No service fees
Conducts background checks
Money-back guarantee up to $1,000 if the job doesn’t get done right (or at all)
Property damage guarantee up to $100,000
Ability to message with professionals via app or website
Mobile apps get good customer reviews
Partner with Nextdoor
BBB rating: A

Best For Handyman Jobs: Taskrabbit Review

Taskrabbit screenshot.
After you enter the type of task and address, Taskrabbit’s site asks you to fill out this information.

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Taskrabbit can be a great place to find handymen, house cleaning, furniture assembly, moving help, and assistance with other tasks. In fact, it’s the official assembly service for IKEA. However, many of its Taskers (contractor or freelance worker) aren’t licensed or the best fit for more complex needs like plumbing, electrical work, home renovation, etc.

If you live in a smaller town or city, you’ll likely be out of luck finding a Tasker. I did a search for a relative’s location in Richmond, Va., and was matched with six painters. Once I did my search for exterior painting, I liked that you see and compare hourly rates upfront. I found that the Tasker profiles aren’t nearly as extensive as those you’ll find on Thumbtack, but they do include customer reviews.

However, what’s not clearly shared upfront is that Taskrabbit also charges a service fee and an additional “Trust & Support” fee. The company doesn’t disclose how much these fees are on its website. However, I did some digging and found that you can expect to pay about 35% of your total job cost toward these fees. You’ll need to factor this into your decision to go with a Tasker or not.

Our Personal Experience With Taskrabbit

I have used Taskrabbit on multiple occasions. One instance was when I recently moved to a new city. I did not know anyone and was by myself with three small children in a new house. Putting furniture together was becoming a huge burden, and the house needed a few other repairs, but I could not afford to hire a professional crew. I discovered Taskrabbit and hired a couple of very nice people to come and help. They were very polite and worked quickly. I was able to hire people with the exact skills I was looking for, and I was delighted with the results. I also appreciated that everyone I was able to hire was background-checked through the company.

When I was looking for a new job in my new city, I turned to Taskrabbit and worked as a Tasker myself for a few months. It was a very convenient gig; I could work when I wanted to and not have to worry about missing shifts or being late. It was a very worthwhile way to earn some money and meet different people in a new place. I would recommend Taskrabbit as both a consumer and a Tasker.

Danielle DeGroot, Homeowner, Taskrabbit Customer, Safe Smart Living Research & Writing
Ideal for “handyman” jobs that don’t require licensed professionalsCharges hefty service fee and “Trust & Support Fee” on top of worker costs
Can handle all communication, quotes, booking, and payment via websiteSeveral complaints that customer service is difficult to reach
Same-day bookings may be availableBBB rating: F
Runs background checks on all workers
Happiness Pledge covers up to $10,000 for property damage, injury, or theft (but there are many exclusions)
Provides grants to community nonprofits

What About Angi, Handy, HomeAdvisor & Houzz?

I also reviewed some other top service professional websites you may be considering. Although HomeAdvisor is another big name, I didn’t include an individual review for this service because it’s extremely similar to Angi (and owned by the same company).

Angi Review

Angi screenshot.
I was unable to view each professional’s profile unless I requested quotes. I’m not a fan of this approach.

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Probably the best-known site for finding home service workers, Angi (formerly called Angie’s List) has been a major online resource for years. Like Thumbtack, you can find household help in almost any area of the U.S. It’s free to create an account, but Angi also has an optional membership ($29.99 per year) that gives you 20% discounts on select services.

Angi offers a huge variety of services, including home improvement, home health and pet care, yard work, auto repair, event planning, and more. On the homepage, you can type in the service you’re looking for or choose from tons of options. Then, you enter your zip code, address, email, and phone number. I wasn’t keen on giving them my phone number, but it’s not optional to leave it out.

Then, Angi matched me with four professionals in my area. However, Angi then required me to request quotes before I could view the contractors’ profiles. All you see is the contractor/company name and the overall rating (1-5) based on customer reviews. You also see if each professional is “Angi Certified,” which means they must hold a current license, pass a background check every two years, and earn an average of at least three stars from customers.

Better Business Bureau Issues

The major issue that gives me pause with Angi comes from this company’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile. This company settled a lawsuit in California in 2021 over allegations that they made “false and misleading representations that were likely to deceive consumers into believing Angi had performed background checks on individuals entering consumer homes.”

However, the BBB still has an alert for consumers concerning a pattern of complaints about outdated or false leads, complaints about unclear contractual terms and details of service, difficult-to-reach customer service, and poor quality work provided. Despite these red flags, I found hundreds of positive online reviews from satisfied customers.

Vast network and variety of services across the U.S. Expect an overload of spam emails and upselling
No service feesNearly 3,000 customer complaints to the BBB in the last 3 years (unrated by BBB)
User-friendly website and appsRequires your phone number
Runs background and sex offender checksCan’t view profiles unless you first request quotes
Happiness guarantee
Damage protection up to $50,000 (limitations apply)
Website has great pricing guides and free advice

Handy Review

Handy screenshot.
Handy has a handy drop-down menu of services to choose from.

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Angi Inc., which also owns HomeAdvisor, purchased Handy in 2018. Before the acquisition, Handy had a fantastic reputation for being a reliable way to book household service providers. Unfortunately, based on more recent customer reviews, it seems to have gone downhill. Still, you may end up finding the right for your needs. Services offered are vast, from home improvement and handyman jobs to house cleaning and yard work.

To begin, choose the job you need completed from the drop-down menu and enter your zip code. Then, you answer a few questions about the scope of your project and your timeline. Finally, before you can view your matches’ profiles, you have to provide your email and phone number and request quotes. Handy’s process is quite similar to Angi and HomeAdvisor, except Handy only matched me with one professional in my area.

Vast network of professionals and locations in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.Many complaints about poor customer service
No service feesHas gone downhill since being purchased by Angi, Inc., in 2018
Verifies credentials and performs background checksRequires your phone number
Happiness guarantee (will have work reperformed or get compensated if you’re dissatisfied)Can’t view profiles unless you first request quotes
Damage and theft protection up to $2,500
BBB rating: A+
Partners with Wayfair, Walmart, Google Home, and more

Houzz Review

Houzz screenshot.
Houzz lets you message general contractors and make project notes in its system.

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Houzz is primarly an online store that sells higher-end furniture and interior decor, but it also has a feature that helps you find contractors in your area. You enter the type of project you need and your zip code. Then you’ll provide a description of the work you’re looking for answer a few questions about your budget range, timeline, and other details. Finally, you’ll enter your address, email, and phone number.

I first searched for exterior painting in my area and was matched with a couple of painters (only one had one customer review on his profile). However, Houzz’s “Find Professionals” feature is better known for connecting you with home remodeling contractors and designers. I had much better success getting matched with professionals in my area for a bathroom remodel project.

Better For Home Remodeling

When looking for a remodeling professional, Houzz shows you a series of photos of previous jobs from your local options. You select the ones you like, and the contractors will show up in your matches. Then, you can view each professional’s (most are companies) profile, customer reviews, and other photos of their completed jobs. You can message them directly and make notes about your conversation. 

Houzz differs from the other sites I review here in that it doesn’t include anything on its website about guarantees, professional screening, or similar information. This leads me to believe it’s only a site to search for general contractors and little else. Still, I found it more helpful than Thumbtack and other services to find professionals in my area for a home remodeling project.

Excellent online source to find local contractors for home remodeling projectsNot a good source to find handymen and workers for general home repairs
No service feesRequires your phone number to view search results
Your search for remodeling gives you many photos of completed projects No information on website about guarantees or resolution if things go wrong
Profiles include customer reviews and the ability to message with contractors
BBB rating: A+

6 Tips Before Hiring A Contractor

If you’re new to hiring home services professionals and contractors, here are some tips to help you do your homework.

  1. Get Multiple Quotes: I recommend getting quotes from at least 3 contractors and be sure to give them details about your budget and expectations.
  2. Ask Questions: I encourage you to speak directly with independent contractors and ask them about their experience.
  3. Request Portfolios: Looking at photos of a contractor’s previous work gives you a better idea of the quality of work. This is important for home remodeling, landscaping, and similar jobs.
  4. Check for Licensing and Insurance: For more complex jobs, like home remodeling, plumbing, and electrical work (as well as home health and pet care), make sure that the contractors you’re considering are licensed and insured.
  5. Check References: Don’t solely rely on customer reviews on these websites. Ask contractors for references and contact them directly about their experiences.
  6. Thoroughly Read the Contract: Ensure that everything is documented in the contract, including project details, timeline, payment, etc. Also, make sure that you understand all of the contract terms.

Need Better Security For Your Home?

Does the thought of having contractors in your home make you nervous? What if they learn how to gain access to your home and then return when you’re away or asleep? Although an unlikely scenario, you should still be concerned about safeguarding your home against any intruder. Learn more about the best alarm systems in our home security provider reviews.

How do you find the best contractors or handymen in your area? Let us know in our comments.

Why Trust Safe Smart Living?

Sally spent over 15 hours researching all of the companies she includes in this article (and many that didn’t make the cut) to give our readers the most comprehensive and honest reviews. She’s been researching and writing for Safe Smart Living for over 10 years about a wide variety of services and products to make our lives easier, safer, and more affordable.

Sally Jones

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations, Sally began a long career researching and writing about hard-to-understand topics, such as insurance and finance. Her additional experience in marketing, fundraising, public relations and financial planning at various foundations and nonprofit organizations over the years has given her the practical tools to inform consumers about making the smartest business and personal financial decisions. Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more. Speaking of smart living — growing up in the (at-the-time) per-capita murder capital of the U.S. (Richmond, VA) taught her a thing or two about the need for personal and home safety. Sally stays on top of all the latest gadgets and services to protect her and her teenage daughters from potential predators and thieves. And she brings this knowledge to every article she writes.

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