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Purchasing online leads

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Easy Outs, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. Easy Outs

    Easy Outs Member
    Messages: 36

    I'm not sure if this is the correct section so I apologize in advance.

    Have any of you had success with bids from online resources like Thumbtack or Home Advisor (most interested)? Throughout the year I've had good success with some similar companies. However, the price for Home Advisor is considerably higher. In reality if the leads are good it would be worth it for my business model. Honestly, I'm cheap at heart and hate the idea of spending a $350 membership fee to then pay for leads. However, I hate thinking about how much money I waste "cold calling" or canvassing businesses.
  2. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Depending on your area and how you feel it could be worth it. I have not used the service, but if you figure you pay $350 for membership + the fee for a lead, that could be paid off by the addition of one client for the winter (depending on snowfall and other factors), but after that the cost you need to make back per client lowers since you split the 350 between them.

    How much are they charging per lead?
  3. Easy Outs

    Easy Outs Member
    Messages: 36

    $15-36 per lead I believe. I had the salesman email me information regarding our conversation. On the phone he said it would only be me or maybe 1 more person competing. In the emails (corporate produced) it says up to 3 others plus myself competing. I watched a bunch of videos and it seems they oversell the leads often and claim the customer must be confused and contacted other contractors on their own too. I think I'm going to pass unless I hear otherwise from someone potentially credible.
  4. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I would stay away too, they are in it to make as much as they can and their fine print is probably 100 pages long.

    Spend $1000 on some flyers and stick them on mailboxes (thats legal right? ON not IN)
  5. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    When home adviser was whatever it was before they changed names, I had a 30 day free trial. I used it for my deck business, not snow. I never landed one job. That was 3 or more years ago and they still call and bug me! They kept sending leads, and I'd say 80% didn't even return a phone call. It wouldn't surprise me if they were fake. I think I payed $20 a lead, but no membership fee for 30 days. I canceled after about 25 days. Supposedly I was one of 2 other companies, but I did one bid and he was raving about how they got over 10 companies competing for their business. I don't know if with the new name anything else has changed, but it didn't work for me.

    Fliers are great, if they're legal in your area. So many companies were doing them most cities around me banned them. I put up yard signs while I'm at a job, and give my card to everyone I talk to. Most of my business is word of mouth now, but with fliers you could chose exactly what houses you wanted to put them on.
  6. immortal.ben

    immortal.ben Member
    Messages: 65

    I get 99% of my business off of Thumbtack. Can't afford Home Advisor yet. I just signed up with Porch (affiliated with Home Depot or Lowes, I forget which), so I can't tell you how it does yet.

    Thumbtack, however, has been awesome for my business. I was awarded "Best of 2015" contractor status based on customer reviews.

    I have also been looking at the similar service Amazon offers, but have not decided yes or no. I have also done the "postcard stuck in the front door", and am planning an EDDM within the week.
  7. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I have my full time job as well as trying to help my father grow his general contracting company (its just him full time and I help when I can, he's stuck in his old ways and won't hire anyone, doesn't have the full time work for me) and we are on Thumbtack, issue is that my father has lost all of his reviews and stuff he had from past clients, as well as photos of the jobs :angry::angry::angry:
  8. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    Where have I been that I haven't heard of thumbtack? I may have to check em out.
  9. immortal.ben

    immortal.ben Member
    Messages: 65

    Wow! That has got to be frustrating. Has he tried calling them? They have always been extremely helpful over the phone to me.

    I have read on a couple forums that people insist Thumbtack is a scam, but I am here to say that it is most definitely not. They even asked me to become a "Pro Mentor" to help other contractors (not in my state) have more success with the service.
  10. Ne1

    Ne1 Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    Home Advisor was a complete waste of time and almost impossible to get my membership canceled. The only leads I got were people waiting till the night before a big storm and wanting you to show up instantly and of course do it for the cheapest price. You get charged for every idiot sitting at home that fills out a request for a bid for snow removal.
  11. Meezer

    Meezer Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 300

    It was called ServiceMagic. They ran out of "magic" ......:nod:
  12. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    No no haha, i meant my father had them written down from previous jobs (he int very good at the whole internet smartphone thing so i handle it) I was setting up the profile and he was saying how many old photos and comments from clients he had, and BOOM they are missing.

    I think thumbtack has its place, we don't pay for it though, if thats an option?
  13. advancedprop

    advancedprop Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    just scored a big trailer place for snow i get a lot of my snow leads on thumbtack
  14. immortal.ben

    immortal.ben Member
    Messages: 65

    You buy credits, and use the credits to place bids.
  15. coke813

    coke813 Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    I got a call from Home Advisor a couple weeks ago and I immediately got the feeling that it was some kind of scam. I have caller ID on my cell phone and I said why are you calling me from Kansas? I told the guy I was not interested. I googled them and quickly found tons of complaints. It appears that they charge high fees for questionable leads. And most of the time the leads aren't serious, or they already have hired someone else. Then a week later, the same guy called me again! I asked him why he called me when I already told him I didn't want to pay them for any leads. I got in an argument with him about what I read online. He got all defensive, it was actually kind of entertaining.
    Maybe if you live in an area with a lot of people using this service and you are desperate for customers, then it might be worth a try, but I felt very uncomfortable with the call and I would tell you to stay away from them. You would be much better off spending your advertising dollars locally.
  16. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    That is correct, now I remember. Shows how long it had been since I was on the account. I believe I used some free credits they gave us or we bought a few, and every customer said we were too expensive, not sure how, as I know we are less expensive than 90% of contractors we talk too, its a 1-2 man show for us so we have less costs.

    Oh well!
  17. immortal.ben

    immortal.ben Member
    Messages: 65

    Yeah i hear that too sometimes. The way I see it, I have spent relatively little on Thumbtack when compared to the revenue it generates for me. I consider it advertising. Extremely affordable advertising.

    There are a few frustrating things about the service, but they are continually soliciting ideas for improvement. They have implemented a lot of new things in the last 6 months or so.

    I have really good luck saying things like "In order to give you the most accurate quote, I would need to stop by the property and take a look at what you have going on."

    That way I get to meet them, ask the questions I need to ask, take any measurements I need, and let them know when to expect my bid via email. Then I leave a business card, and a great first impression.
  18. jhall22guitar

    jhall22guitar PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I might have to look into using it more its always better when you can get out and actually meet them.
  19. royalrooter77

    royalrooter77 Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    I just read that Home Advisor is trying to buy Angies list for $512 million. If I figure out how to post a link to the Forbes article I'll add it for everyone's viewing pleasure.

    I don't use either of these companies. I did use Corkd for awhile, not the wine site but referral site. They offered a lot of dead leads so I discontinued the service
  20. PPP

    PPP Member
    Messages: 95

    I actually use Home Advisor (since from when it was Service Magic). I have found you need to be VERY specific in the service area and the services that you offer. It can add up pretty quickly. But you can set limits. You do really need to be able to return calls QUICKLY. I get at least half of the jobs from the leads that I get. They are not usually big money makers but they are profitable. It was tough in the beginning.I changed my phone number to a Google.number and the phone gets forwarded to me plus 3 of my employees. I have to admit if it wasn't for that feature it would have never worked. There is definitely a degree of aggregation that comes along with it. I only spend 50 to 60 a month on this service. The tried and true methods work best. Join the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Moose, Masons, Elks, get involved in your community and it'll all come together. But you need to work it and be an engaging personality.