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LEAD-GEN SITES Vs. BRANDING? 

YOU DECIDE

HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and Other Lead-Generation Services vs Building Your Own Brand

We speak with Contractors and Service Pros on the daily. One common thread we hear is a general frustration with HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and other online paid lead-generation services. 

We generally advise to focus on building your own brand, because in the long run that is what will sustain your business and provide recurring customer inquiries without endless Ad spend. Let’s hear from a podcaster on this exact topic:

Can you Trust HomeAdvisor, or even The BBB?

You’ll see that HomeAdvisor has an A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. Digging a little deeper, you we find that rating is 100% misleading, and was most likely “paid for” because of the overwhelmingly negative reviews that should otherwise give them a D or F Rating there!

The simple fact is that most working professionals do not have the time or skills to develop their own website or in-house customer inquiry systems to keep the phone ringing consistently, so they turn to services that advertise widely like HomeAdvisor & Angie’s List. Watch this short video to learn get a feel for the general state of affairs amongst these various services:

Is HomeAdvisor a Massive Scam?

1) Let’s hear some former employees who had an inside view into the business and were willing to speak out on GlassDoor

2) HomeAdvisor keeps changing it’s name…they used to be “ServiceMagic” but that entity is under Many Lawsuits, so…voila they became HomeAdvisor! They also bought Angie’s List, so….we’re personally not big fans of either “company” at this point. And the HomeAdvisor Lawsuits keep coming: 

3) Companies have been closing their bank accounts & changing their phone number to escape HomeAdvisor. Really? Yes!

4) HomeAdvisor and  most other online Lead Service companies send you leads that are also sent to many other Pros, so you are literally competing with these other providers to turn that lead into an actual customer. First you PAY, then you COMPETE? Not cool.

5) HomeAdvisor sends you leads that never even signed up with HomeAdvisor! Crazy talk.

We found out why this is happening from a Senior Official at Angie’s List (remember, Angie’s is now owned by HomeAdvisor):

“Non-members (Homeowners) who visit the Angie’s List website and elect NOT to sign up for membership are sent through a service request funnel.  Their information, as non-members, is then sent to HomeAdvisor advertisers as a lead.  HomeAdvisor companies are calling these homeowners and paying to do so as they are considered leads.” – Jessica Blalack, Senior Solutions Consultant at Angie’s List.

HomeAdvisor OUTRANKS your site on Google, then sells you the leads you should have gotten if it weren’t for their Rankings.

This has become a favorite tactic of many larger online pay-to-play services like HomeAdvisor, Grub-Hub and others. They have teams of low-paid employees in places like China and the Philippines who spend endless hours ranking THEIR web pages (using Your brand name), so customers find those pages instead of yours! This pisses us off on so many levels.

Building your own Web Presence (the Alternative to using Lead-Generation sites. Although it may seem easier to use a lead generation site like HomeAdvisor to grow your business, we advise AGAINST it unless you literally have no website and need some phone calls right away.

Honestly, to create a sustainable business for the long haul you will need to invest in your own online presence through creating a website, getting your Google My Business Verified, establishing your Name/Address/Phone in the Citation Directories and then Ranking your site (via traditional SEO – or via our unique services that cost less but give faster results).

Beyond HomeAdvisor

If you are absolutely set on using a lead generation site, here are some other options to consider:

Nextdoor – Nextdoor offers you various ways to get new customers in your area. Simply Posting there once a week about current Jobs may be enough to grab the attention of homeowners who have been thinking about a project but have not yet chosen a contractor or provider. You can also Advertise on Nextdoor, and they won’t take your brand and try to outrank you, nor will they share your leads with your competition. Also, the reviews on Nextdoor are extremely targeted from actual neighbors in your hood – so do your bets to get some. We LIKE Nextdoor!

Houzz – Houzz may be one of the better large-scale lead-generation sites for contractors and service pros. However, there are also negatives – like  Houzz owning everything on a Your Profile and expensive cancellation fees. For these reasons, we only recommend Houzz for Professionals who offer more expensive services so they can afford to play in this space.

Thumbtack – Thumbtack has a lot going for it, but also shares some of the same pitfalls as HomeAdvisor. Their website is very intuitive and easy tio use. Homeowners like the setup, and use it a lot. The COST of leads is not clear when you sign up, and more expensive Job Inquiries may cost you upwards of $55 per. Additionally, they sell the same inquires to many many of your competitors, so you’re back to that unfair game again. Overall, a fancier website may not be worth the potential headaches here.

Yelp – Yelp sucks. NEVER Advertise with them (trust is on this one). They are also being sued by unhappy contractors and restaurants endlessly. However, their online presence has become ubiquitous, and receives a lot of traffic for people looking for services. Due to the High competition and advertisers who appear above you, Yelp should only be used to create your profile (so people SEE you there) and help your actual website presence. We offer a specialized Yelp SEO Service so you can use them to your best advantage WITHOUT paying them anything.

Here is a great breakdown of the popular Lead-Gen Sites:

 

We don’t want to just bash HomeAdvisor.

It can’t be ALL BAD Right? You can find some good success stories and ideas on their site here: Home Advisor Success Stories

Contacting HomeAdvisor directly:

You can call HomeAdvisor at 1-877-800-3177. They also offer a live chat on their website M-F 6 am-5 pm and Sat-Sun 7 am-4 pm Mountain Standard Time. Additionally, they offer a helpful FAQ section for popular Q & As.

Our team is here to help you get EXCLUSIVE, QUALIFIED homeowner leads & build your online brand presence so you can reduce or eliminate your Ad Spend over time. Give us a shout anytime!

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