Lead generation websites for contractors are a great place to find work when you’re just starting out.
They’re also great back-up lead generation sources for slow seasons, or other times when you find you need to cast your net wide.
But if you have aggressive growth goals for your home service business, using 3rd party websites as your main source of new leads likely isn’t the best solution.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the 5 main deal-breaking issues to watch out for when using these websites.
The purpose here is not to sway you away from using them, but to teach you how to use them cautiously should you decide to do so.
This way, you can decide for yourself whether or not they should be your main focus for generating home improvement leads, or if they should be a smaller part of your broader contractor marketing strategy.
What are lead generation websites for contractors?
You’ve heard of them: Houzz, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, BuildZoom.
Listing your business on these websites is supposed to help contractors find leads easily—and it can definitely help.
But we do know first hand that this isn’t always going to be your best bet for lead generation.
Everyone has their own unique marketing strategy, and if you want to test out these sites, it’s worth a shot.
But you want to be mindful of how big of an ROI you’re going to get in the short and long term.
Be careful not to waste your precious time, money or energy in exchange for leads that don’t bring you much of anything in the end.
Some better contractor lead generation strategies which we use with our clients include:
- Paid Ads
- Retargeting Ads
- Specialized Landing Pages
- A/B Testing
- Call Tracking
Deal Breaker #1: Lead Generation Websites Accept All Leads
The major deal-breaker with contractor lead generation websites is that they tend to accept any lead that comes their way.
Just like bidding sites, these sites have thousands of contractors lined up waiting for leads.
They don’t have the luxury of being selective.
Instead, they capture contact information from every homeowners in all phases of their purchasing journey.
In other words:
No matter how serious or close to making a purchase decision, these lead generation websites for contractors grab all leads because they need to feed their long list of hungry contractors.
This means they end up with a mix of low quality and high quality leads.
So as a contractor, you never know which one you’re going to get until you speak to them on the phone.
Sometimes you’ll get homeowners ready to pull the trigger, and other times you’ll get homeowners who are just at the investigating stage of the buyer’s journey, and not nearly ready to buy.
Bottom line: These 3rd-party websites pay their bills by selling leads, and it’s in their best interest to sell as many of them as possible—no matter the quality. If lead quality is important to you, then this might be a deal breaker.
Deal Breaker #2: These Leads Aren’t Exclusive
Lead quality issues aside, most of these contractor lead generation websites (not all, but most) sell leads that aren’t exclusive.
What does that mean?
It means that the same lead is sold to several contractors—up to 3 or more.
It’s literally a race against the clock to see which contractor reaches out to the lead first.
If you’re late, you can pretty much forget your chances of winning the deal.
A study by Hubspot found that businesses that reach out to new leads within the hour are seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation than businesses that wait 60 minutes or more.
Being the first to reach out is crucial, but there’s still no telling what other contractors will bid for the same job
This whole process of several contractors chasing the same lead creates what is called a race to the bottom:
“a situation characterized by a progressive lowering or deterioration of standards, especially (in business contexts) as a result of the pressure of competition.”
Unfortunately, with non-exclusive leads, the lowest bidder usually wins which makes finding profitable jobs a lot harder.
Bottom line: Exclusive leads (that are yours and yours only) are the best type of leads.
Leads from 3rd-party websites are non-exclusive and are sold to several contractors, which causes bidding wars and essentially creates a “race to the bottom.”
Deal Breaker #3: There’s No Rapport
If low-quality leads and non-exclusivity aren’t a deal breaker for you, then you have to consider the fact that you haven’t built any rapport with your leads.
Their relationship lies with the 3rd-party contractor lead generation website they signed up with.
In other words, homeowners don’t owe you anything. They submit their request to the website, and then sit back and wait for contractors to call so they can ask for quotes and estimates.
They have no idea who you are (they don’t even know the name of your business!), the quality of your workmanship, or what your company stands for.
All they care about is price and if you can deliver on the work earlier than the other guy.
And again, if you’re priced at the higher end of your market, it can be really hard to justify that price when there are other contractors underbidding you.
On the other hand, even with minimal rapport—such as when a homeowner lands on your own personal website and takes time to learn about your business—winning the job becomes a lot easier.
Bottom line: If you get your leads from contractor lead generation websites, they don’t know, like, or trust you.
It’s hard to get paid what you’re worth when the prospect bases themselves off the price and nothing else. What’s more, you’re never building your brand because you’re always being found through a 3rd-party website and not your own.
Deal Breaker #4: Your Phone Will Never Ring
On most contractor lead generation websites, you receive information about a new lead and have to call them, rather than them calling you.
From our experience working with contractors in many different industries, job booking rates are much higher when homeowners call you directly than when you’re the one that has to reach out.
With 3rd party websites, that’s exactly what’s at play—you pay the website, you receive the lead, and then you have to make contact.
In other words, your business phone will never ring, and you’ll be forced to interrupt people during their day.
Bottom line: Having to reach out and interrupt new leads is never as effective as receiving direct phone calls to your business line from people that need your services.
Using 3rd-party lead generation websites means that you’re relying on your ability to follow up with leads in a timely manner. If you’re slow, your closing rate will suck.
Deal Breaker #5: Low Consistency and Volume
Last but not least, there’s the issue of consistency and volume.
Signing up to these lead generation websites for contractors will definitely net you some new leads, but how many new leads and how often they come around is a mystery.
If you’re a small contractor, these websites may be all you need to stay busy.
But if you’re a larger contractor or home service business, then you’ll need something more reliable that can send you enough leads each month to not only keep your team busy but also grow your business.
Bottom line: If all you need is an extra few leads here and there, then contractor lead gen websites can do the trick.
If you need more leads more frequently, then you’ll need another solution
We strongly believe in pay per click for contractors.
Lead Generation Websites for Contractors: The Final Word
If you’re just starting out or have a small team and only need a few extra leads, then these websites are a great place to start.
In fact, even larger remodeling and replacement contractors use them because they do work…
But when you start to RELY on these 3rd party websites for new leads, instead of seeing the leads they send your way as a bonus, or icing on the cake.
If your objective is to grow your home service business, then you need a better way to generate contractor leads that’s reliable, consistent, and high volume.
Make this year your most profitable yet
Ready to kick your contractor marketing up a notch?
Book a demo to see the exact system we use to generate exclusive leads each and every month for contractors—from remodelling professionals and replacement contractors, to restoration, HVAC, landscaping professionals and more.
Regardless of which route you choose to take, we hope this is the year you take control of your contractor marketing once and for all!