Paid Referral and Lead Services for Plumbing, HVAC, and Electrical Businesses

Paid Referral and Lead Services for Plumbing, HVAC, and Electrical Businesses

Last and least (yes, you read that correctly), are paid referral sites and the latest and greatest neighborhood rant apps. These come in many shapes and sizes such as Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, and those daily emails claiming they have overflow leads in your area. These 3rd party companies use paid internet searches to gather customer information, call it a lead, and then sell the names to anyone willing to buy them. They utilize the same tools explained throughout this manual. Essentially, they act as middlemen, and the quality of the lead is often questionable.

Back in the day, condo associations, neighborhoods, and other social groups shared common service provider directories. Today, they are apps. Like all social media apps, they are free to the user, meaning either shareholders are footing the bill or they need to sell ads. Advertising on these apps may appeal to you, and depending on the cost and ROI calculated, it may be a good idea. Below, we will explore the benefits and risks.

How Referral Sites Should Be Used in Your Plumbing or HVAC Company

This advertising method specifically targets people who need your services today. It is best reserved for sales-related services, such as replacement HVAC systems and other high-dollar plumbing or HVAC services.

Are Referral Sites a Tap Root or Feeder Root?

Paying for leads is a Feeder Root and likely will not be required after you have your GrowAmatic™ program fully planted.

Key Considerations for Using Paid Referral and Lead Services

You’re Not the Only One: 

HomeAdvisor and similar sites send the same lead to many companies in the same market. This typically results in a bidding situation, which is the platform’s intention.

The Right Client?: 

One of the things that must be tested and measured is the client profile of the leads you’re getting. Are they the right clients for your company and the level of service you offer?

Watch Your Wallet: 

Many of these sites charge $50 for a name, claiming it’s a qualified lead, with no guarantee you’ll ever get a chance to quote the job. Costs can rack up quickly with services like this.

Be First to Respond: 

Since you know you got the email at the same time as everyone else, try to be the first company to respond and see the client. This gives you a chance to one-call-close the client or at least set the bar high.

“I Have a Guy for That” Sites: 

If you’re going to toss your hat into Thumbtack and Nextdoor neighborhood networking handyman-type apps, consider the fact that you are signaling comfort with fishing in the same pond as the one-man bands and side jobbers in your market. Nothing wrong with neighborhood networking, but be aware of the type of client you’re attracting.

If Your Leads Are Slow, So Are Theirs:

Often companies turn to referral sites when things slow down, assuming they’re taking all the leads you’re not getting. Think again! Often, if your phones are slow, there is just a shortage of demand in the market.

Reputation on Neighbor Apps Is Shallow:

If you’re just starting out, using neighbor apps can be a great tool to get your name out there and start building a client base. Be aware that people on these apps are generally “ranty” by nature. Make one happy, and they will tell some friends. Upset one, and they will ban you from the site. Easy come, easy go.

How Much Budget Should You Allocate to Referral Sites?

These referral sites can get really expensive, but the positive is that you can set a budget and adjust as needed. The neighbor apps can be fairly cheap. We personally don’t dabble in this area, but we have clients that do who have spent up to $2,000 buying leads (but they don’t anymore).

Eric Smith - Founder & CEO of Elite Trades

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