Follow-up on Home Advisor

I was trying out Home Advisor on a staircase with a single step that needed the stringer repaired.
I got four names containing references and phone numbers to call plus estimates. The estimates ran from $225 – $650. I didn’t care for the references for one of the names and one said that the company no longer took on small jobs. I sent an email photo to the remaining two. One called back an gave me a price of $175. I did not hear from the other. When we finally connected and he saw that the repair would require replacing boards he upped the priced to $200 – fair. Work was done in about 3 hours, and was good. Would consider having him do the whole staircase.
The problem I see is that it is impossible to be given an estimate simply on the client’s verbal description, even photos are not enough. A real estimate requires a site visit and that is time consuming for the service person – less so if they are local. I don’t know how to get around that. Email addresses should be included with the phone numbers and perhaps a suggestion that the client send in a photo. Home Advisor, however,  is a good starting point
The follow-up by Home Advisor was intense, I got emails every other day. It took me about two weeks before I had made contact and had any idea how things were going. Everything went along well and so I didn’t need assistance. Will try them again. Getting a lead on a good and trustworthy service person is  great beginning.