Bringing in leads is one of the most important and challenging aspects of being a contractor. It’s one essential part of your online marketing strategy, and the foundation of your online reputation management trifecta: reputation management, getting online reviews, and generating leads online.
Thankfully, using lead generation websites can help make connections for you. From different pricing plans and areas of service to types of contractors and clients, there are several options for you to explore.
In this resource, we compare a variety of popular lead generation platforms to see how they stack up against each other and whether they’ll work for you.
How to Choose a Lead Gen Website
Which lead generation sites are the most popular?
Some of the most well-known lead generation services for contractors and small business owners include:
So, which one would work best for you and your business? The short answer is that it depends on your needs. Take a look at the chart below to see what each service offers.
How do the top lead generation sites compare to each other?
|Pricing||Free – $99/year||$15-$100 per lead or
$300/year for membership
|Pay per lead or set a budget.
Memberships are $360/year ($260 for the first year)
|$25 registration fee||Pay per lead, based on your area and the cost of the job||Charges on a per-click basis (anywhere from $0.30 to $30+ per click). The
Enhanced Profile costs $90/month
|Advertising||Offers advertising to those who have a Gold Membership||Some additional profile features with membership||Plans to offer some advertising opportunities to members in the future||Offers advertising to those who have TaskRabbit Elite status||Yes, for those who have Thumbtack Pro status||Yes, on a cost-per-click basis|
|Residential or Commercial Clients||Both, but mostly residential||Both, but mostly residential||Both, but mostly residential||Residential||Both, but mostly residential||Both, but mostly residential|
|Displays Client Reviews Upfront||No||Only for members||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Top Industries||One-off service industries such as plumbing, HVAC, roofing, electrical, painting, cleaning, pool services etc.||Larger home improvement and home services like remodels, general contracting, flooring, windows, roofing, etc.||Home improvement, general contracting, and moving||Handyman||Smaller one off projects and regular services like cleaning, lawn care, painting, dog walking, plumbing, HVAC, etc.||Smaller one off projects and regular services like cleaning, lawn care, painting, dog walking, plumbing, HVAC, etc.|
|Consumers Who Use It||Homeowners, property managers||Homeowners||Homeowners, property managers, real estate agents||Clients who need quick tasks done like hanging a painting or assembling furniture||Anyone||Anyone|
|Referral or Searchable by Clients||Refers contractors to clients based on their job requirements||Clients can search through a list of contractors and choose one||Refers contractors to clients based on their job requirements||Clients can search through a list of contractors and choose one||Clients can search through a list of contractors and choose one||Clients can search through a list of contractors and choose one|
Which lead generation site is best for you?
Some lead generation sites are better certain types of contractors.
Porch focuses on home services like moving and real estate transactions, while Thumbtack supports all kinds of different contractors, from dog walkers to window washers.
HomeAdvisor is better for contractors who execute larger remodeling projects, while Angie’s List is the go-to for small one-off projects.
Pro tip: Curious to see Angie’s List vs. HomeAdvisor? Check out comprehensive breakdown here.
Choosing the platform based on the best match for your industry and your service offerings is a wise first step.
Start by taking a look at your service offerings and where they fit in with the lead generation website market.
Next, do your research. Check out the other successful contractors who are already using the websites you’re interested in. Do they look like direct competitors? Are they in the same industry as you? Or, will you be the odd one out in the search results?
Check out their profiles and ratings. Are they well maintained? Do they have good client review volume?
If it seems like similar businesses are getting leads and are keeping up their presence on the website, then it could mean that it’s a good fit for their business and their industry.
A good indicator to look out for is it they have high rating volume, because it shows you that people are looking for that specific service through the platform and are actually using it.
Pro tip: increase your visibility online and improve your lead gen efforts with a blended approach. Use Local Service Ads in tandem with your lead gen website profile.
In a nutshell:
TaskRabbit, Thumbtack, Porch, and Yelp are great opportunities if you offer non-technical, maintenance like lawn care, window and pressure washing, snow removal, and handyman services.
If you are in a technical trade that requires a license or complete larger projects, like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, or general contracting, you might find more success on Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor.
Pro Tip: What is Thumbtack, and is it right for you? All your questions answered here.
Your competitors are a great way for you to learn more about what’s working and what isn’t work for lead generation.
You will want to check and see where you competitors are, but also consider how dense each website is for your industry. Are there only a few claimed profiles? Are there a lot of search results overall, or does the search result volume look a bit thin? You want to pick a service that draws in a lot of consumers.
Consider doing a quick search on a few lead gen websites based on:
- Your industry
- Your city
- The next closest community or township you service
- Your top competitors
Check their websites and see which ones they link to on their homepage. Look for them on different lead generation platforms to see if they’re using them.
Note how long they’re been using the platform, how many jobs or client reviews they have, what their reviews are like, and how active they are.
Pro tip: stand out from your competitors online with before and after photos on your lead gen website profile. This can help your clients see how effective your services truly are.
In a nutshell:
Competition is great, but entering the ring too late might not work to your advantage. If it looks too challenging to catch up to them, then you might be better off investing in a different website.
Remember that you can invest more money in advertisements on some lead gen websites, like Angie’s List. You can also try contacting old customers and ask them to post about their experience working with you on your lead gen website of choice.
If you’re just starting out and want to try out an online lead generation platform, you need to consider what you want to spend. Using lead generation service can get expensive, so budget is important to consider. For example:
- Does it make sense for you to go all-in for a membership, or experiment with free or less expensive versions?
- How much profit do you make of a single lead?
- Does this profit make paying for leads is more worthwhile, or does paying a flat rate make more sense for your business?
- Is lead generation something you even need to invest money in?
Ask yourself these critical questions before handing over your credit card information.
Pro tip: lead gen websites also showcase reviews. Part of ensuring that you get the most bang for your buck includes managing (positive and negative) client reviews. Work on gathering more client reviews to boost your profile and instill trust in your prospects.
In a nutshell:
The best way to gauge affordability is to average out how much money you make per job in a year, and understand how many jobs you complete in a year.
Next, divide the cost of the leads or memberships by the number of jobs you get in a year. Compare this to the cost of the membership or cost per lead.
- The least expensive option on the market is TaskRabbit at $25 to register to use the service. You can probably quickly make all your money back after one or two jobs.
- Next up is Yelp. Your profile is free, and leads cost as low as $0.30 per click. However, that price can increase to $30 or more per click, which can become costly.
- Angie’s List offers both a free and paid version of their service, which makes them a very affordable option to go with. In annual terms, you might be able to pay off this service within five to ten jobs.
- Home Advisor, Proch, and TaskRabbit are in the highest price bracket to choose from. HomeAdvisor’s pricing is more transparent, it is significantly more expensive than the other options. It does offer up “bigger ticket” jobs, which might make it worthwhile. The same goes for Porch. TaskRabbit’s pricing is less transparent, so it’s difficult to tell if this option is affordable or not.
Putting in the Time
Just buying into the platform of your choice isn’t going to be enough.
Generally, lead generation platforms are only as good as the time you put into them. The more effort you put into making a good profile, engaging leads, getting reviews, and quoting jobs, the more likely you are to succeed.
None of the options we’ve laid out in this resource are meant to be completely passive.
If you are going to use an online lead generation platform in your business strategy, make sure you have the time to put into growing and nurturing your account, sharing the link on your Facebook Business Page, ask existing and former clients to contribute to your profile, and monitor your own success
If you do decide to move forward with a lead generation platform, it’s important to remember that it should only be a part of your marketing plan.
Don’t rely on a lead generation website to bring in all your clients, all the time, from the get-go. Start small, put in some effort, and measure your success carefully. This will help you to keep your bottom line in check and find the best source of lead generation for your business.
Why bother with client review websites?
This junk removal hacked the system with tech to get 500+ 5-star reviews. Learn how they did it, and how it works for their business.Learn more