Don’t get me wrong…
Lead generation websites for contractors are a great place to find work when starting out.
Maybe even as an additional lead source during your slow season.
But if you have aggressive growth goals for your home service business, then 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 you need to watch out for when using these websites so that 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 a larger contractor marketing strategy.
Deal Breaker #1: They accept any lead that comes their way
The major deal-breaker with contractor lead generation websites is that they accept any lead that comes their way.
Being that they have thousands of contractors lined up waiting for leads, these 3rd-party websites don’t have the luxury of being selective.
They capture contact information from every homeowner they can (in many different ways), no matter how serious or close to making a purchase decision these homeowners are because they need enough new leads to feed their hungry contractors.
This means they end up with a mix of low quality and high-quality leads, and 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 that are just curious.
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: The 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. In fact, 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 creates what is known as 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.
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. By using 3rd-party lead generation websites, you’re giving that up and 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: It’s not consistent, and lead volume is low
Last but not least, there’s the issue of consistency and volume.
Signing up to these contractor lead generation websites 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’re biased, but we strongly believe in pay per click for contractors.
The final word on lead generation websites for contractors
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 & replacement contractors use them because they do work…
But the issue arises 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 with PLACE IT™
Ready to kick your contractor marketing up a notch? Book your free demo of PLACE IT™.
You’ll see the exact system we use to generate exclusive leads each and every month for contractors—from remodelers and replacement contractors, to restoration, HVAC, landscaping professionals and more.
Ben is our Facebook Ads Specialist and is responsible for generating thousands of quality leads for our customers in the replacement & remodeling industries. When he’s not busy launching new campaigns, he squeezes in time to write helpful posts on the Webrunner blog.