What’s in a Yelp Rating?

What is a Yelp rating?  It’s the average of all reviews posted by customers.  Customers who regularly write reviews on Yelp are referred to as “yelpers”.  I regularly check our Yelp rating.  At the same time I also check others.

Indeed, the Yelp page for plumbers is crowded.  On my most recent visit to the local Yelp page for plumbers I clicked on one establishment with a 5 star rating. Good reviews, mostly about good pricing.  After that I checked the status of their contractor’s license on the California State Contractor’s License Board web-site.  It stated the requirement for worker’s compensation was waived due to no employees, meaning all work was performed by the owner.  Odd, but sadly, not rare.  This establishment is often seen with help at various sites.  

Translation.  The help is working for cash.  The establishment is not reporting those wages for workers compensation insurance, state and federal payroll taxes and Obamacare mandated health insurance.  Result.  This plumbing service can drastically under report income and taxability.  Even more, the service company’s costs are significantly less than those companies that transact legally.

Additionally, those establishments who operate “under the table”, are unable to pull the appropriate permits, due to the requirement by municipalities of proper worker’s compensation insurance.  So, they perform the work without proper permitting.  Another reduction in cost.

So, back to the Yelp reviews.  Our, “under the table” contractor receives a 5-star rating for reasonalble pricing.  It’s no wonder.  No 1-star reviews for operating completely illegally.  

Currently we have only 2 reviews. One is 4 and the other 5.  The 5 is written as a result of some great advice from one of our plumbers, stating that the senior adult’s issue was simple and no charge was issued.  That’s good relations for sure, but unsustainable in the long run.

Here’s the bottom line.  Under the table contractors receive 5 stars that are only possible to achieve while transacting illegally.  Legal contractors receive 5 stars as a result of working for free.  


Submitted By Dale Maples, owner