Ken Lyons had a sneaking suspicion he was paying an excessive amount of for his weekly garden service.
At first, Lyons, who’s The Penny Hoarder’s visuals director, was greater than happy with the garden work. The particular person he employed was simply beginning his garden enterprise and had just a few good opinions on Nextdoor, the hyperlocal social networking website that connects customers with items and companies. So Lyons thought the $200 a month value was greater than truthful for higher service.
For the primary couple of weeks, the service was higher. However after that, the standard fell off and wasn’t any higher than what he had earlier than. It was simpler to simply accept a decrease degree of service when he had solely been paying $125 a month.
As an alternative of chatting with a neighbor on the finish of the driveway, the best way one would possibly in a extra analog period, Lyons determined to show to Nextdoor for recommendation. He wished to ballot his neighbors and be taught what they paid. Certain, garden sizes differed, however most tons are equally sized.
“What do you pay for garden service every month? This would come with shrub trimming and a few weed management in beds,” he wrote on Nextdoor. The ballot supplied 4 ranges: between $100 and $125, $125 and $150, $150 and $175 and greater than $175.
Lyons thought he had paid more than most, but the results surprised him. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they paid the lowest tier, 23 percent paid between $125 and $150 and 8 percent paid between $150 and $175. But no one paid as much as Lyons — 0 percent paid over $175.
Armed with those results, Lyons texted his lawn person.
“My budget just can’t keep paying $200 a month, and it really is higher than my neighbors are paying,” he wrote in a text. “Can we come down on that?”
The lawn service owner agreed to lower his price to $140. The Nextdoor poll saved Lyons $60 a month.
He’s continued to use the site for advice on other home repairs. He recently learned through Nextdoor that a number of his neighbors were able to get insurance coverage to replace their roofs after a windstorm in his neighborhood that was strong enough to pull up shingles.
He decided to go through the process himself and see if his insurance would cover his roof. At the same time, he found a roofing contractor that had good reviews online sprinkled in with some bad reviews. He chalked up the bad ones to being in construction — there will always be someone unhappy with the work. But in the two to three months it took for the insurance claim to get approved, Lyons learned that the business had garnered about 50 complaints on the Better Business Bureau.
It turns out that the company had recently expanded into his neighborhood and were searching for work door-to-door. They hired subcontractors to do the roofing work, and more than one of his neighbors had a new roof that was already leaking. Worse yet, the company wouldn’t come to fix it.
Lyons learned all of this online. It meant that he was able to get his roof covered in the first place and then find a better company to do the replacement.
He advises people to use Nextdoor for other services, not just those around the house. He sees posts recommending doctors and car repair shops. He even sees advice for fixing things yourself and saving the consumer a couple hundred dollars.
And now Lyons is a true believer in the power of Nextdoor because of his personal experiences.
“It told me, ‘Hey this is effective. I can actually do this,’ ” Lyons said. “It’s giving me some power as a consumer to do my own research and not even rely on something like Angie’s List. I can actually just go and get data from my neighbors on what they’re paying.”
Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor at The Penny Hoarder.