Hello everyone! I’m looking for advice from people who have used Home Advisor from the contractor’s side of the business. I am a small contractor who is looking to solicit more business, and Home Advisor seems to be a good way for customers to find me. I’m not sure about the costs (I think it’s a couple hundred dollars a year, plus I’d pay for leads sent my way. It’s difficult to find reviews for HA because most of them seem to be customers looking for reviews of the contractors themselves. I’d love a contractor’s perspective here.
I read one review where the contractor said he was on a job and received several leads that he was unable to respond to immediately, he had to pay for them, and he would have been unable to take on those jobs anyway. He also said HA’s sales tactics make it difficult to cancel their service. Being a small contractor, I likely would not be able to take on every job that comes my way. Depending on the number of leads I'd receive, I might need to turn away most of them, or at book them out several months.
I have a couple large competitors in the area, and while those competitors have marketing budgets that reflect the size of their business, I am a lot smaller and more affordable. This wouldn’t be my only source of advertising, as I will be branching out with Facebook/Instagram advertising, targeted mailings, Craigslist, and other options.
Has anyone used Home Advisor to connect their business with customers? I’d love to hear your honest positive and negative experiences. Thanks very much!
I spent about a year and a half using Home advisor. Spent well north of $15k on it.
Now, I run a design build firm, so we look for a pretty rare customer. If you're, say, a roofer your results might be better.
We spent a lot of time tailoring our profile and on the phone with our rep zeroing in the zip codes we wanted. (Atlanta is heavily balkanized, so zeroing in zip codes was crucial)
Here's what we got -
* People calling from Homeadvisor are looking for bargain prices, period. They look at it almost like Craigslist.
* They always seem to come from the most marginal neighborhoods in the zip code
* They're usually ******* nuts
* We cycled through several hundred leads to get one or two that was worth talking to (Very bad static to signal ratio)
* Oftentimes leads would just be duds, disconnected numbers or people who were "just messing around on the internet and put their information into a form" - you will not get reimbursed by Homeadvisor for these leads.
* Once we started being very selective about what leads we accepted, Homeadvisor throttled back the number and quality of leads they sent us. Do not expect to be able to cherry pick what leads you take and get good leads.
* Do not use the instant connect feature (Where they call you with a 'live lead')... it's terrible and unpredictable, and you can't see how much the lead is going to cost before you pick up the phone.
Ultimately, I realized we were much better off paying for a good website and SEO/Google adwords than we were with Homeadvisor.
I run a full-service remodeling firm with 10 full-time crews working.
HomeAdvisor is profitable for us, but it's not a big part of our mix. We get over 50% of our business from Angie's List, 25-30% repeat customers and referrals, and the rest is a mix from various other sources.
We're 7 years old. Our business really changed about 3 years in when we started making a big push for clients to review us on Angie's List, and then bought AL's paid advertising so people can find us when they search. But for that to work, you have to make sure your reviews are going to be very good. We have 125 reviews, and most people stop reading after the first page or two, but every now and then, I'll go out and meet with someone who's literally read every one of them!
Thank you guys for the replies!
@Aaron McGinnis , I am not a roofer, but in terms of this discussion, I may as well be. I am a rain gutter contractor. I work alone so the number of jobs I would be able to take on is limited, but it would be relatively easy for me to collect a zip code list that I'd be willing to work in.
Good to know about the bargain hunters. I think in this space, I might be among the least expensive player, but I surely would not go cheaper just to get a job. My time and labor is worth something.
Also good to know about the ******* nuttery. I wouldn't want to spend my time verifying lead quality, so maybe this wouldn't work for me. I'm flying solo here, so any time spent qualifying leads is time that I could be working.
@Michael Hayworth , do you have anything to say about Angie's List? I expect my reviews to be very good, although I have no public presence to speak of yet. 90% of my work is currently for a couple different builders (one large new construction builder, and a couple other smaller remodelers), and I'd like to branch out a little and start doing some private jobs for homeowners, as it would be more money than I charge builders. My work is good enough to work for large builders consistently, but I know homeowners are a totally different animal in regards to reviews :)
Thanks again guys!
I would concur with the above comments on HA. We use it, but are very selective in what leads we let them charge us for. Angie's List is similar from our perspective. We are an Interior Finishes contractor that deals in cabinets, countertops, tile and floorcovering...we get about 50% leads that are no good for us - repairs we don't do, etc.
Bang for your buck, I would look into your local BNI. I love it. In addition to quality leads, you have the opportunity to learn a lot about being a business owner and sales.
@Laureen Youngblood , thank you for the information! It seems like Home Advisor might not be a great fit for me. Perhaps if I was a larger operation I could handle more leads that I'd have to decline, but since my time is limited, I think lead quality trumps all.
Good info about my local BNI! I looked mine up and it seems to be active, I shall check it out! Thanks again.
I joined only 2 weeks ago. They took my $348 for membership and after another week, they started sending me "leads". In 5 days time I received 6 leads at an average of $80 per lead. Only 1 of those leads was I actually able to contact and estimate a job. Of the remaining 5; 3 of them I could not make any contact at all (did not answer phones or emails and did not return calls). 1 of them was given to me completely outside the scope of work I do and 1 could not do the job at all due to an electrical junction box location. I used their request credit link and was given credit for 2 of them... Great! Right? I gave it a few days to see if any of the other 3 would call back, they never did. 1 of these "customers" had an address less than 2 miles from me so I drove over there to find it was a dilapidated trailer park and the lot # the "customer" listed was a vacant lot!
I called my rep at Homeadivsor to be told that the jist of it is if the phone number for the "customer" is real then they charge for the lead. That is NOT a lead! It is not a lead if you NEVER EVER get to communicate with the customer at all. Further, I looked at my directory listing (the only thing you get for your $348 per year and they had a phone number listed which isn't even my number! I called the number to see that the call goes to Home Advisor (in care of my company). THey do this so that when I am lucky enough to get someone to look me up and find me directly, they still get ran through the Home Advisor system so that I can be charged for a lead fee!!! You got that? You get to pay twice for those customers!!! Of course, as soon as I sent my Home Advisor "rep" an email about this they immediately put my real phone number there.
When you call them and complain they let you know that it clearly states in their umpteen pages of terms and conditions that I agreed to pay for any garbage they throw at me. Here's the real question though... How many other contractors received those same garbage leads that I did? Just exactly how much did Home Advisor make from these jobs that were never going to materialize for anyone? Their business model is awful and predatory and they don't care one bit. On to the next poor contractor to pilfer his advertising budget. Shame on these chiselers!!
@Pete Manville - That mirrors my own experience to a T. The ratio of good to bad steadily got worse for me... and the resistance to refunds increased and increased. After awhile I was absolutely convinced that they were bot-generating leads based on bogus addresses.
So I started to try and play smart and only accept leads that had good-looking information at the front end and not accept leads that had minimal or sketch information. This meant I was accepting fewer and fewer leads, and guess what... I started getting fewer and fewer leads and the ratio of bad to good just got insane.
We have since moved to SEO and PPC to generate leads, we get fewer overall leads but better quality. I'm trying to reduce our dependency on PPC. In order to do that, you basically have to have a lot of content. Either you write it yourself or hire someone to ghost write it for you...
Good insight. Has anyone used Thumbtack as an alternative? I started using them last week and I get a lot of "leads" sent to me. I have been reviewing them to see what area/project fits my needs and only send estimates based on those parameters. I have a couple of solid leads out of the 20 or so estimates I have sent. One did not work out, the other I am going to provide an estimate to today.
@Aaron McGinnis , I think you are correct as far as building your own brand through your own internet marketing, it seems like the smart way to go for long term growth and stability.
I have had those same bad experiences with HA. I am thousands of dollars into it and almost every "lead" is someone who wants a $30k+ master bathroom for "we'd like to stay under $10k". I have received one legit job from it so far. I now pause my leads every 13 days so I don't get charged for anything. Even now the "opportunities" they send me that I can choose to accept now do not have any info with them. It is just a zip code and "bathroom remodel". I thought the zip would help but I have only made contact with the only "poor" people in Hopkinton, Shrewsbury, etc. Who all have that $10k budget. I consider it to be a scam but I am sure it would work out great for people doing basic service calls that are low budget.
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