Marketing and leads

Rdcowart

Member
Location
North Carolina
Occupation
Electrician
I just want to find out how everyone is getting their leads. I have not have any luck with any of lead services such as thumbtack, angies list, and home advisor. Every time I go to one of these lead calls they all want something for nothing. But all the leads I get from google and from word of mouth are the best. I know that my pricing is not cheap but it’s what I have set so I can earn a good living, while providing great quality work, and grow my business. I track all my leads so I know where they come from I’m still new to business and I try not to waste money on bad marketing. Any information or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
So I'm not the only one with that experience with angie's list and home advisor. 90% of the leads from them have been "How much to do this, just wondering?" Everyone of them costs me money. Even with 75% of costs Materials that I have no control of, response, "that much?". Leads from my website, google and customer referral almost always land job.
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
It takes time to grow a business.
Nobody jumps out and immediately earns a good living. It's called paying dues. You're gonna be buying your reputation one way or another.

Either you work cheaper until people know you and referrals build, or you pay a lead generator for a bunch of worthless leads and occasionally find a gem of a customer who refers people to you.

That's why many people build their name on evenings and weekends while they have a full-time job.

There simply aren't any shortcuts to it, unless you inherit a business from your dad.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
I just want to find out how everyone is getting their leads. I have not have any luck with any of lead services such as thumbtack, angies list, and home advisor. Every time I go to one of these lead calls they all want something for nothing. But all the leads I get from google and from word of mouth are the best. I know that my pricing is not cheap but it’s what I have set so I can earn a good living, while providing great quality work, and grow my business. I track all my leads so I know where they come from I’m still new to business and I try not to waste money on bad marketing. Any information or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Business cards.
Have some made up. Not cheesy ones but a simple card.
Give them to your happy customers and offer a small one time referral fee.
Word of mouth travels faster than the Angis list crap.
Home advisor used to call me all the time wanting me to sign up with them.
You get tied up with the right remodel contractor you may throw the cards away..

I got tied up with one and worked every weekend and most evenings for a long time.
I had a full time job and didn’t want to work that much..
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
Business cards.
Have some made up. Not cheesy ones but a simple card.
Give them to your happy customers and offer a small one time referral fee.
Word of mouth travels faster than the Angis list crap.
Home advisor used to call me all the time wanting me to sign up with them.
You get tied up with the right remodel contractor you may throw the cards away..

I got tied up with one and worked every weekend and most evenings for a long time.
I had a full time job and didn’t want to work that much..
Yup. I missed mentioning getting together with a good remodel contractor. I have one I've worked for since 2007, they've kept me busy anywhere from 40-80% of the time since then.

On top of that, as they've had superintendents shuffle in and out, there are now other contractors who've started their own and now call me because we built a rapport.

I had business cards once, but gave them up long ago 👍
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
I just want to find out how everyone is getting their leads. I have not have any luck with any of lead services such as thumbtack, angies list, and home advisor. Every time I go to one of these lead calls they all want something for nothing. But all the leads I get from google and from word of mouth are the best. I know that my pricing is not cheap but it’s what I have set so I can earn a good living, while providing great quality work, and grow my business. I track all my leads so I know where they come from I’m still new to business and I try not to waste money on bad marketing. Any information or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
I'm in a weird place right now because of the same problem... I had just under 10 years field experience after I graduated from my EC&M night classes w/ honors and passed a licensing exam... and I hit the ground running.

I stumbled on Thumbtack and at first it was great. I was brand spanking new with absolutely no way to get my name out it worked... at first. The leads were cheap, something like $2-$5 dollars depending on the size of the job... and you got refunded if the customer never responded. At $2-$5 I could afford to spend $100 month, bid a TON of jobs, and if only a few converted, my overhead for the service was paid for. It worked out great and I slowly built a nearly perfect 5-Star profile.

Then I started getting noticed... by other, more developed companies... and hired by some customers who seemed hell-bent on making my life a living hell and leaving horrible 1-Star reviews no matter how over the top I went for them. I left the service before they could completely tarnish my name. There's nothing about services like this that protect the contractor. It's all about protecting the customer. The customer, the customer, the customer. You're the bad guy by default as the contractor. And there's nothing to stop competitors from getting a buddy to hire you and leave a bad review. I'll say it again, it can be effin' FILTHY out there. Enough to make you hurl. It's a dirty game and some people DGAF how unethical they are, as long as they quote unquote win.

In addition to that, they've since more than tripled their cost to bid a job. What used to cost $2 to bid a ceiling fan install is now like $20 and no refund. It's a bait and switch. They start you out cheap and then hit you with higher costs once you become reliant.

The other problem is, like all online avenues, they own your a$$. Once I left the platform, I lost all 40+ 5-Star reviews that I worked hard at building for 3 years. They own anything related to your profile, from reviews to job pics, you name it. I started seeing my name popping up all over the web and uploaded job pics on all kinds of other websites, claiming I offered services that I never claimed to offer, such as solar panel installs. Popular topics that would draw traffic to their website.

If you read their terms of service, like actually read it, there's some really shady stuff in there.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
So yea. I'm kinda anti-lead service at the moment. The best thing to do is to OWN your own platform, IMO.
Build a website, copyright your job pictures (it's actually fairly cheap), make some flyers and hit the pavement the old fashioned way.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Everything about the modern market place is anti-small business, IMO. It's not 1950 anymore and the small humble business starting out of a garage is no longer admired. The wealthy have rigged the game... but I digress.

Build your own website and try to revive the now extinct method of the door knock and a handshake. That's the best advice I have to offer as someone whose been down a similar road.
 

mikeames

Senior Member
Location
Germantown MD
Occupation
Teacher - Master Electrician - 2017 NEC
Angies list and other sites like in IMHO are the political garbage of the internet. I have been told stories of contractors being held hostage over reviews. Pay or else.... I rarely go online to find services in other trades, but a few times I have had to. If if I see yelp, angies list or something like it I ignore it completely, never click. I do general searches for names, then I try to go to that contractors site. If that contractor does not have a site of their own then its a non-starter for me. Its 2020 all business should have their own site. I realize not all do, oh well.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Angies list and other sites like in IMHO are the political garbage of the internet. I have been told stories of contractors being held hostage over reviews. Pay or else.... I rarely go online to find services in other trades, but a few times I have had to. If if I see yelp, angies list or something like it I ignore it completely, never click. I do general searches for names, then I try to go to that contractors site. If that contractor does not have a site of their own then its a non-starter for me. Its 2020 all business should have their own site. I realize not all do, oh well.
Your own website and investing in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is definitely the better route.

The only problem w/ your own website, that I can see, is the criticism that you control the reviews and may have access to filtering out less than perfect ones. I believe there are third party review systems that you can integrate though.

That's the appeal of these lead services - the idea that a third party provides honest, unfiltered reviews. If you could somehow integrate that into your own website, I think you got a winning combination.

There still exists the problem of competitors leaving unsavory reviews on purpose. Not sure how to address that (yet).
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
@James L Don't be sad. Just some real talk about some of the less than "bright eyed and bushy tailed" aspects of our trade, which are just as important as maintaining a positive outlook. It's balancing both that's the real trick. Feet on the ground, head in the clouds, I always say.

A difficult thing to deal with I admit, but chalk full of good lessons for me as a business owner. Version 2 is coming out shortly with a bright smile and spikey shoulder pads if needed, lol. Just never stop learning and never stop growing, right?
 

buratinio

Member
Location
Los Angeles
Occupation
Trainee
Well, social media requires a lot of attention, and banner ads get expensive fast, so I go with SEO. In my opinion, it's more efficient than the other ones, with quicker results.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
Just had a website redo by an seo company. Also handling Google and Facebook ads. It’s expensive I hope it works.
Good luck. Let me know if you see a pick up because I'm thinking about doing the same.

Other than soliciting door-to-door, which I believe is illegal in many places now-a-days (unfortunately), I don't see many other options... other than being a millionaire and purchasing high-end advertising like billboards or television ads for tens of thousands of dollars. I'd really prefer to avoid these lead services.
 

sameguy

Senior Member
Location
New York
Occupation
Master Elec./JW retired
Keep your head up look at everything was a potential sale, gas station, grocery, car parts, LED retrofit per lamp savings so you can give a ballpark on the spot, know your prices for common things, gfi, cat 5-6, adding wifi, winter coming generator over switch, etc
 

blueheels2

Senior Member
Location
Raleigh, NC
Good luck. Let me know if you see a pick up because I'm thinking about doing the same.

Other than soliciting door-to-door, which I believe is illegal in many places now-a-days (unfortunately), I don't see many other options... other than being a millionaire and purchasing high-end advertising like billboards or television ads for tens of thousands of dollars. I'd really prefer to avoid these lead services.

Will do. It will be easy to gauge the success or lack thereof since the focus of this stuff is to break into an area where I have zero market share. So any uptick in sales should be because of the marketing .
 
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