There are many lead generation and contractor referral services out there. The two biggest ones are Service Magic and Quality Smith. Besides these two you may find many start-up companies that are still working on the local level or have already gone national.
For home-owners, these services are completely free, except for the fact that there is a very high chance that your lead will be resold, and you may get a bunch more calls from different people trying to sell you home improvement services. Bellow, we offer a list of such companies – we do not endorse any of them, though for some homeowners they may be a good source of 3-4 different contractor bids – this way you may have a better idea what type of service you are looking for, costs, and what your options are.
Word of advise for homeowners:
Make sure you thoroughly check the contractor’s references, construction license / home improvement registration (HIC) and worker’s compensation / liability insurance. For license information you can go to your state’s website and find it there, usually under the Department of Consumer Protection. Insurance information should be obtained from a contractor’s insurance agent in the form of a Ins. certificate issued in your name as “co-insured” for the duration of your project. References you may check in the way that satisfies you – I personally would drive down to see the work ant talk to customers, as well as neighbors. You would be surprised how some contractors give their family members as neighbors and provide you with a fake insurance certificate. Also, ALWAYS have your contractor pull the building permit when it is required. For additional insight into the issue of permits, read my blog post of contractors vs. building inspectors.
How lead generation services work and what a homeowner should expect:
Basically, big lead generation companies (LGC) find perspective “leads” through different referral programs or direct pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. On average, one click costs LGC about $3-8, and not every click converts into a customer or a lead. Then LGC sells these leads to contractors – usually they sell the same lead 3 times, so you as homeowner may expect three different contractors to give you a price for your project. If every third click from PPC is sold at the highest price of say $8, the cost of a lead is $24. At the same time they resell your lead for $50-75, to each contractor, so it is a huge business, and they make a lot of money on it.
Why do you need to know this? Actually for your own benefit – the contractors that buy these leads are often in poor financial situation, or can hardly find work. They basically compete against similar cut-throat contractors, and engage in a bidding war to get the job. For you as a homeowner, lower pricing is great, but bear in mind that you WILL be getting lower quality, as these contractors need to make some money. To compensate for a lower price, they will cut corners, and use cheaper materials. So just be aware that lower price does not mean better! Also, remember that you will be paying the $50-75 cost of the lead – just indirectly.
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Contractor referral and lead generation companies:
NJ Home Repair – MorrisHomesPros.com is the official online directory for Morris County, New Jersey home improvement professionals like plumbers, architects, tree removal, electricians, contractors, home builders & more. Visit us online!
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+