Lately, I've been getting bids on typical farmed out homeimprovements and services by creating an email that specifies the details of the job I want done and send it to the top 5 on Angie's List requesting an estimate. It's much faster than calling and going through their cryptic mazes of finding the right person to talk to. Usually 2 out of 5 respond nearly immediately and the other 3 get back whenever they feel like it. Best price for easy jobs wins; after one volley of email to clarify the details of the job, it's scheduled at my convenience. It works well for the easy jobs so far.
The part I don't understand with any business who places an email contact on their site. Email inquiries to business are often not acknowledged. Tough to understand in a tough economy.