If you run a painting company, or any home service business, you’ve probably heard of HomeAdvisor Pro.
HomeAdvisor promises to provide contractors with leads and a great way to build your business. They promise homeowners background checked contractors to bid on their project.
BEWARE. If you haven’t ever used HomeAdvisor, read this article and do your research before you get involved with them.
THIS ARTICLE COVERS
- How Home Advisor Works
- CONS: HomeAdvisor’s Bad Reputation With Contractors
- Including links to hundreds of reviews of their service by fellow contractors.
- PROS: Why Some Contractors Love HomeAdvisor
- The Contractor Experience: What to Expect
- How to Be Successful with HomeAdvisor
- Painting Business Pro Recommendations & Alternatives
HOW HOMEADVISOR WORKS
They are the giants in the industry of connecting homeowners with professionals to get home projects completed. Millions of homeowners use their site to get their home projects completed.
Customers search online for a contractor and find HomeAdvisor. They request estimates through HomeAdvisor, who promises to connect them with pre-screened professionals.
After the customer submits their project details and contact information, HomeAdvisor sends that customer referral to four contractors who can compete for the business.
Each contractor who receives the lead pays for that lead.
From there, it’s like any other referral. Contact the lead, schedule the estimate, and compete for the business.
This is how many lead services work. HomeAdvisor is just the biggest company out there. They can provide more leads than most other lead services, but there is a price you pay when you work with them.
They use “being the biggest” as a selling point to potential contractors to join their network and use their service. They tout “all the business they can give you” and “all the customers we have that need exactly your service!”
It’s music to a contractors ears. But after you sign on the dotted line, it’s not what you were told on the sales call.
CONS: HOMEADVISOR’S BAD REPUTATION WITH CONTRACTORS
There is not another company with as many lawsuits and terrible reviews from contractors as HomeAdvisor. At the time of writing this article, Home Advisor Pro has an average 1 star rating on the BBB after 1,100 reviews.
Their contractor & lead services have been described as fraudulent and shady from contractors at an alarming rate. So much so that the BBB has reached out to HomeAdvisor directly asking them to correct these issues.
But what are these complaints about?
A simple search of “HomeAdvisor reviews” or “HomeAdvisor scam” or “HomeAdvisor complaints” will show you a lot of angry contractors.
Here are some of the main complaints you’ll find:
- They have shady sales practices. They will call you pretending to be a customer wanting an estimate, but when you return their call you soon find out that they are actually trying to sell you leads.
- The service charges a high price for leads. Nobody charges more for leads than HomeAdvisor. This isn’t a problem necessarily, but…
- They are terrible about granting refunds on bad leads. You have to fight and battle them to get credited for bad leads.
- Lots of competition. Since HomeAdvisor is the biggest lead service out there, they have a ton of contractors. Although they promise to sell the lead to a max of four contractors, many contractors have complaints that more than four companies received the same lead.
- They steal your business and sell it back to you. When you set up a profile with HomeAdvisor, it shows up on Google. Customers searching for your business find your HomeAdvisor profile and request an estimate through HomeAdvisor, who then charge you a high price for that lead. Even though the customer was searching for your business in the first place.
- If you don’t set a budget, they’ll drown you in leads and charge you a ton of money. Many people have sued HA for this practice. We’ve heard from people who were charged $1,500 in a single day from HomeAdvisor and didn’t book a single job. Then they don’t refund any of those leads.
These are just some of the most popular complaints.
Here are a few websites that we strongly recommend reviewing before signing up with HomeAdvisor (read the actual reviews):
Better Business Bureau Reviews (1 star rating, 1,100 reviews)
Reseller Ratings (1/10 star rating, 7,398 reviews)
SiteJabber (1.5 star rating, 885 reviews)
PissedConsumer.com (2 star rating, 125 reviews)
PROS: WHY SOME CONTRACTORS LOVE HOMEADVISOR
In our experience most contractors despise HomeAdvisor. However, once in a while we come across someone who will take a bullet for HomeAdvisor.
There are some contractors out there who absolutely love HomeAdvisor. I talked to one of these contractors recently and asked if it was profitable.
He said he doesn’t make any money on his HomeAdvisor business, but it brings him more customers and then he gets referrals from those customers.
Ok… So maybe some of these contractors like HomeAdvisor because they don’t track their profit and haven’t realized that they don’t make much money on the HomeAdvisor leads.
But, to HomeAdvisor’s credit, there is one significant PRO to their service.
They generate more leads than any other lead business out there. Largely because they bought all the other lead services, including a merger with Angie’s List, an exclusive deal with NextDoor, bought CraftJack, bought Handy, bought HomeStars in Canada, etc…
They are the giants of the industry. Nobody can bring in more leads than HomeAdvisor.
The challenge is: Can you be profitable with their leads? If you can, then this volume is an amazing benefit.
THE CONTRACTOR EXPERIENCE: WHAT TO EXPECT
If you sign up to work with HomeAdvisor, you have no right to leave a bad review. You know what you are getting into. Here is what you can expect – so be ready for it.
You will be charged a high dollar amount for each lead you receive. Premium prices on leads. No other companies charge as much as HomeAdvisor.
You will not reach many of your leads and you will still have to pay for them. Even though you never talk to them.
Some of the leads you receive will be for much smaller projects than initially indicated, and you will still pay in full for the lead.
Some customers you contact will be upset with you because they have already been contacted by several companies. You’ll still have to pay for that lead.
If you do want to get a refund on any lead, you are going to have to work very hard to get that refund… Usually going to multiple supervisors until the refund is granted. At this point it’s hardly worth the effort.
You will spend a lot of money on leads. It will be a very costly marketing avenue.
These are the challenges you are up against. These are the things they don’t tell you on the sales call.
On the sales call, it’s all good news. Tons of leads, lots of success, serious customers, and reasonable expectations. It’s just now how it will work once you sign up.
HOW TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH HOMEADVISOR
Despite all of the challenges and complaints, it is possible to be successful with HomeAdvisor. It’s just not easy. We have success in some of our locations, but not all of them.
Here are some keys to succeeding with their service from our experience, and from what we’ve been told by other contractors who have success with HA.
- Be selective with the leads you accept. HomeAdvisor allows you to choose the lead types that you are competing on. Be picky about the types of leads you receive. Very picky.
- Set a conservative budget so you don’t spend too much money too fast.
- Be a stickler about getting refunds on bad leads. You have to be persistent to make sure you get credited back on bad leads. This is very important! Our office manager calls 3-5 times to get a refund on a single lead. Not easy.
- Focus on the big job sizes. Full house exteriors, interior 4+ rooms, etc. These job sizes are usually $4,000 and up. With a large job size like that, you can spend up to $400 to book a single job.If you are competing on small leads, you need to have much higher conversions to make your marketing spend worth it.
- Have a strong sales process. I outline our sales process in great detail in my Painting Business Pro course.
- Track your results to ensure you are having success.
- Be willing to fail, learn, and improve. The first $300 you spend might not yield a great return. If you learn and improve, the next $1,000 you spend should yield a better return. Tweak and improve again until you are getting the return you want.
- Build a strong profile on HomeAdvisor and get reviews as quick as you can.
PAINTING BUSINESS PRO RECOMMENDATIONS AND ALTERNATIVES TO HOMEADVISOR
There are other services that are less expensive, involve less competition, and offer better customer service than HomeAdvisor.
If you can’t generate a good return on these other services, you will not have success with HomeAdvisor. Start with these other services first, then add more services once you have a good process.
I’d recommend starting with those services first.
There are so many other ways to market your business as well. Consider those other options before dumping all of your budget into HomeAdvisor.
Only try HomeAdvisor if you can afford to lose all of the money you spend with them. It’s not unlikely to spend $800 and not win a single job.
When you are testing any type of marketing for your business, you should track the total amount you spend on marketing, the number of leads you generate, the number of estimates you generate, the number of jobs you sell, and the total sales.
The amount you spend on marketing should be no more than 10% of the total sales generated, and ideally you want that number to be under 7%.
Since HomeAdvisor is one of the more expensive services, it’s better to start with some of the less expensive lead services first.
If you are generating sales through Painter Choice or Craft Jack, for example, with a marketing spend of under 10%, the next step is to test out HomeAdvisor.
If you are using Painter Choice or Craft Jack and spending more than 10% on marketing, then you should tweak and improve those services before testing HomeAdvisor.
If your marketing spend is 15% on Painter Choice, then you can expect HomeAdvisor to be even more expensive.
That said, remember that you have to spend money to make money! Marketing is all about testing and tweaking until you hit the numbers you need.
If you’re just starting out, and have limited funds available for lead generation, then it’s time to give door-to-door marketing a try.The tactics outlined in the Painting Business Pro course take you step-by-step on how to get find leads for FREE. Painting Business Pro will provide scripting throughout the whole sales process, which is designed to help you convert at a high rate.