7 Ways To Find Services After Relocating

About six years ago our family relocated away from the town in which I was born and raised. My mom had already relocated to this new city just a couple years before us and we followed her to get the kids closer to Grandma, which helped a bit since we were not completely unfamiliar with the area. However, we struggled with finding reputable services and were not sure who to ask for recommendations.

If you ever find yourself considering how to find services in a new town, here are a few ideas:

1. Angie’s List I resisted this one for a long time, but now wish I had signed up sooner. We are currently looking through reviews of general contractors in town to have a small project completed on our house. The new Angie’s List Health section is great for reading up on reviews of doctors in the area, too.

2. Coworkers One of the obvious resources to use after relocating for a job is coworkers. Not long after moving, we had some significant car troubles (beyond anything I could fix) and I dreaded finding a reputable auto shop. I asked a team member if he could recommend a decent auto shop and he was happy to recommend one – even offering to give me a lift back to work after I dropped off the car.

3. Church members Outside of work, fellow church-goers are often the people you will interact with most often. Ask around after Sunday school, or on your way to the parking lot after the service.

4. Hairdressers I keep my hair short, and in the height of my frugal days used to cut it myself with clippers. Because I could never get my neckline even in the mirror, and because my wife was scared to cut it, I had to find a cheap barber after relocating. After getting to know them, I’ve discovered a great resource for finding recommendations on other services.

5. Realtor Most real estate agents are well-connected with other businesses. Our Realtor was a great help in providing recommendations on school zones, neighborhoods, etc, and with getting setup with utilities, city services, etc. after moving.

6. Bank relocation team I used to work for a large bank in my hometown. They offered the services of a “Relocation Team” free to new customers who recently relocated to the area and decided to bank with them. The team distributed a welcome packet complete with information about the area, coupons and fliers from local businesses, and basically served as a help line for those new to the area.

7. Local magazine publications If you are new to an area, or are just stopping through and would like to find out more about the town, I highly recommend finding a bookstore and asking about any local newspapers, magazines, or trade publications. After moving, I picked up a copy of a magazine in our largest bookstore that featured news and events in the surrounding area. We learned about family-friendly things to do on the weekends, and even found the ads useful in hunting various service-providers.

You will find that people are generally happy to recommend someone if they received good service, and equally likely to tell you about places to avoid. If you haven’t made friends yet, or want to get a second opinion, consider hitting the Internet and doing your own research.

Any other resources we could add to this list?


  1. I was just reading about Angie’s list the other day and was wondering if people found it helpful and worth the money. It is good to know you endorse it in case I ever need a service they provide.

    Where my kids go to school, it is a very close-knit community. I get a lot of suggestions from other parents/teachers/etc. Other than that, I think you got all my other sources covered! I wonder if a bartender would be a good resource?

    • I do like Angie’s List, but I’m guessing the numer of reviews available depends somewhat on where you live. Smaller towns may not have as many members submitting reviews, while larger cities often have a number of reports to draw from.

      Good call on the bartender. When it’s slow, it’s easy to strike up a conversation over a beer and ask for things like a good mechanic, etc.

  2. Most cities of any size have a Newcomers Club. They are a huge source of information of all kinds – doctors, repairs, schools, networking.

  3. If you move into a neighborhood with a homeowners association, you should try to get in touch with one of the association board members. They might know or could put you in touch with people who have had similar work done. Our association actually has a submission process where you can recommend people who have done good work. The even better part of that is that if a service gets a lot of work in one neighborhood, they might be agreeable to providing a discount. Think about it, if a tree trimmer can spend his day hopscotching around five places in a twenty mile radius or spending his day doing six or seven jobs in one sub, which do you think is going to be more favorable for him and allow for some potential price breaks?

    • Excellent suggestion! And tagging on with neighbors interested in a similar service is a great idea. Could definitely yield a group discount.

    • We had this same thing in our association maintained neighborhood. The association will negotiate price breaks for things like pest removal, window washing/etc because then the contractors can just come to one neighborhood and do work for 5-10 houses instead of one. works well.

  4. My wife has joined a local mother’s group online and I can’t tell you how many times she has posted a question about finding a local tradesman, product reviews or anything we wanted an honest opinion on from a group of educated mothers. An incredible source of knowledge.

  5. I like to ask for recommendations from people who are putting their reputations at stake by forwarding me to someone. If a roofer recommends a window installer, and the window installer ends up being incompetent, the roofer knows he’s not going to be installing any other roofs on the street. Then again, one of my friends got a terrible oral surgeon rec from her dentist. So what do I know.

  6. I am a member of a number of charities and societies that have “local groups” based all around the country. I move quite regularly for my job and find that I can quickly walk into a room of likeminded individuals very quickly and, because we have a shared passion, start very easily to chat to people and get to know the local area. Because you have this automatic “bond” in situations like this people seem far more likely to help you out and offer advice if requested.

  7. Hi, I just read your article which has great recommendations thanks. I went to Angie’s List website but found that you have to pay to sign up. I found a free alternative website called Bragadoo which seemed to be a similar concept including recommendations from people.