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View Full Version : Anyone use service magic to send leads to you?


andyslawncare
08-15-2009, 02:59 PM
I was contacted by a Service Magic Sales Rep yesterday and everything they offer sounds good...You only pay per lead. I'm tired of fishing out the bad customers and seems like they do a pretty good job sending you only what you want to do...

Do any of you use them to send you leads? If so, how satisfied are you with the service? And is it worth the money?

Thanks!

yamadooski
08-16-2009, 07:55 AM
OH man I would stay away from them. I once found a thread where even the homeowners were talking bad about them.
Anyways you pay per lead even if you dont get the job. I hate paying for something not getting anything in return, kinda like OBAMA CARE!
I cant stand their radio ads telling us it doesnt cost you the customer anything for a quote. Its because we the contractor pays for it.

Service Magic is the middle guy. I stay away from middle guys as much as possible.

AGLA
08-16-2009, 08:38 AM
Another question should be "has anyone used Service Magic to find a contractor"?

AWJ Services
08-20-2009, 07:19 AM
I actually tried them.
They sent me horrible leads.
I got 8 leads from them and 6 of the leads had already contacted me through other advertising and they where all tire kickers.
Every single customer verified over the telephone that they only wanted estimates and where not ready to start the projects anytime soon.Most where using the estimates against builders and developers to get money on new homes they purchased for build quality issues.
I called Service Magic with the poor quality of the leads and they did not meet the requirements of there supposed stringent prescreening process.They would not refund my money.
Life Lesson learned.

JimLewis
08-21-2009, 06:30 PM
I've answered this question dozens of times over the years here on Lawnsite. I think I can safely say I've been using Service Magic for longer than anyone on Lawnsite. Must be a good 8-10 years now we've been using them. Since before they were ServiceMagic, actually.

So I am not going to re-hash what I've already taken lots of time to post previously. You can do a search for that.

I will just add this to my previous comments; This year we've seen the leads from Service Magic come in a lot less frequently than in previous years. I think that's because the economy is so bad that a lot more contractors are using SM. So they only send leads to 3-4 contractors. I used to be one out of 5 or 6 contractors in my area who used them. So I'd get most leads that came in through them. Now, I bet we're probably one of 20 or more contractors in my area who use them. So we just get less leads in general than we ever had before.

Also, the quality of the leads continues to go down hill. And I've said this many times before - the quality of the lead REALLY depends on the type of lead. Some lead types almost always end up being bad leads (e.g. landscape installation) while others still produce decent leads, at least some times (e.g. irrigation repair leads and landscape maintenance leads). So we used to get like 10-15 different lead types from them and now I've cut that back to only 3 different categories.

I'll summarize my thoughts on SM this way; if you don't mind wading through some crappy leads (like 3-5 bad ones who will just waste your time) to finally come across a good one, then you may find SM to be of value to you. And if you don't mind paying 3-5 $15 lead fees just to get one good account that may stay with you for years, then again, you may find SM of value to you. If you're not prepared to go through that many leads or pay those kind of prices, then I would steer clear.

shane mapes
08-22-2009, 10:53 AM
as far as sm for me it has been good. been with them 4 years & we sigh about 80% of the leads.you have to watch the type of leads you get & make sure their in your lead group. also make sure you don't have zip codes on their you don't service. & lastly make sure to call them as soon as the lead is sent to your cell phone.most of the time when i call a customer they are still on the website looking around, & go as soon as they want.BTW i'm the only one in my town on sm for lawn care. good luck

lucky4511
09-18-2009, 05:41 PM
We have used ServiceMagic for several years also - mostly for landscape leads - and do pretty well with the leads we choose to pursue. We no longer need to increase residential mowing so don't ask for those leads any longer. When we get a lead that is not in our requested areas SM always gives us replacement lead credits. Some are junk leads but the better ones outnumber those in sufficient quantity to make it worth while.

LB1234
09-18-2009, 11:43 PM
seriously considered it this past spring. Glad I didn't go with them. Didn't like the answers the salesmen were providing...things like not being able to turn off the leads for a few months, need to have minimum leads a month, etc.

JimLewis
09-19-2009, 01:33 AM
Huh??? I never had a problem doing any of those things. I turn off and on leads all the time. And I can set any budget I want each month. If I want to cap the leads at $50 a month, I can do that. You have full control over all that with the control panel they give you. I am not sure who you were talking to but in my experience, that's inaccurate.

lucky4511
09-19-2009, 02:45 PM
I find that hard to understand...we also move our spend target up and down as needed - stop leads when I am out of the office or we are swamped and don't want new leads, they are very easy to work with.

LB1234
09-19-2009, 10:43 PM
Huh??? I never had a problem doing any of those things. I turn off and on leads all the time. And I can set any budget I want each month. If I want to cap the leads at $50 a month, I can do that. You have full control over all that with the control panel they give you. I am not sure who you were talking to but in my experience, that's inaccurate.


thats the answer(s) i got...no need for me to make it up, really turned me off to them. I explained how I really didn't need referrals in spring/fall due to how busy we are (direct marketing works well for us here). I expressed interest in obtaining leads for hardscape/landscape work for june/july/august and then for snow plow work in late fall/early winter. Salesmen informed me there was a minimum number of leads required per month and a minimum amount of time required to be in the system for the year. Don't remember the specifics but I remember for what I wanted to do it just wasn't going to fly with them. Also, if I remember correctly there was a minimum amount of zip codes I needed to enter as well. I wanted to try and use it for only two or three...i think I needed to provide them with five...this I'm going off of memory (zip codes part) but I remember there was some sort of issue there.

Perfect touch landscapes
02-12-2010, 04:38 PM
as far as sm for me it has been good. been with them 4 years & we sigh about 80% of the leads.you have to watch the type of leads you get & make sure their in your lead group. also make sure you don't have zip codes on their you don't service. & lastly make sure to call them as soon as the lead is sent to your cell phone.most of the time when i call a customer they are still on the website looking around, & go as soon as they want.BTW i'm the only one in my town on sm for lawn care. good luck

What is sm? Never heard of it before
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JimLewis
02-12-2010, 09:17 PM
Well, here's a very quick, basic overview.

SM is a company who advertises like crazy all over the internet, TV, etc. They market to existing residential homeowners mostly for all sorts of construction work. Roofing, Landscaping, Decks, Concrete, Appliance Repair, you name it. They tell customers that they will receive leads from at least 3 pre-screened qualified contractors. The customer enters their info. and the lead then gets sold to 3-4 contractors who have signed up to be part of the network. At the time that SM provides that lead, they charge the contractors account a "lead fee". Lead fees vary from one industry to the next and from one lead to the next. For instance, a lead for lawn care might only cost $10 or $12 but a lead for landscaping design and installation might cost $24. You pay for the lead the second it's been provided to you - whether or not you get the job - you still pay.

The idea is that you obviously won't land every lead. But you may land one in 4. So if you pay $10 per lead and it takes 4 leads to get a new client, you've essentially paid $40 for a new long term lawn maintenance client. For many people, that's a good deal. Or with landscaping you might go through 5 leads before you land a job - but it could be a $25,000 job. So again, it can be well worth it.

You get to determine which areas you receive leads from. Choose by zip code or mile radius. You also get to set a daily or weekly budget so they won't send you too much, if you don't want too many leads. You also get to choose how many different categories of leads you want to receive. Categories like mow a lawn, pruning, fall clean-up, mulch / bark, landscaping, design, lighting, irrigation, irrigation repair, pavers, walls, etc. You determine what leads you want and what area, then they start sending them.

To be qualifiied, you need to be licensed, bonded and insured. If no license is required for a certain type of work (e.g. lawn care) then that's fine. You don't need to be licensed then. But you'd still need to be bonded and insured and have a few good references.

You can learn more and take a free 10 day trial here;

http://www.servicemagic.com/servlet/ServiceProfessionalRegistrationServlet

Perfect touch landscapes
02-12-2010, 09:40 PM
Thanks for info, I am really looking in to it, Business is good , but why not protect yourself and make it better. I love the idea of being able to choose who I work for and where. I remember when I just started, I felt like I would take any job that was landscaping related, now thank God, picking and choosing can be rewarding.

GreenmanCT
02-12-2010, 09:56 PM
if they send you a lead, can you reject it and not pay? or are you just stuck with what they send you and you have to pay for it?

JimLewis
02-13-2010, 01:12 AM
The second they send you the lead, you've paid for it. No returns.

Well, there are a few exceptions. Like if you get a bogus lead (e.g. fake phone number or address) or if it's a commercial job and you don't/can't do commercial work or if the customer checked the box for "lawn care" (which you do) but then when you get to the description, you find out that they really want a new lawn irrigation system (which you don't do). You can dispute a lead. And if you have a REALLY valid reason like the ones above - they will give you a refund for the lead. But if you just don't like the lead, sorry. No refunds.

Again, the idea is that the leads are so cheap that even if there are a few bad apples, you can make it up on the good ones. We may pay for 6 bad leads but then get 2 in a row that are great ones and we'll make $2500 in business from each of them, in the first year. So overall, it was worth paying for the 6 crappy leads.

richard1103
02-13-2010, 08:15 PM
just another parasite.they wanted $17 a lead for tree service .maybe 1 job out of 20 leads x 17 =$340 they have had a tree fall on their head or there are a lot of fools out there

Lite4
02-13-2010, 08:42 PM
We signed up last October but have only gotten one lead from them. Closed on it for a 1,200 dollar repair so it wasn't too bad. All in all it hasn't been a real effective form of marketing however, being listed as a contractor is good for Google web crawl.

koster_irrigation
02-14-2010, 08:24 PM
i looked into it maybe two years ago, they still call me from time to time to sign up. I might consider it now.


Question:
Do they ask you before they send it, if you want the lead or do they just send it to you automatically and bill you? And then your on your own to follow up with it.

B/c theres sometimes when i dont care to have any more things piled in my lap. I would like the right to say yes or no then and there before they tell me who is asking for services.

unkownfl
02-15-2010, 12:55 AM
They send it to you right away and you have to follow up. Unless, it's a exact match which they have the customer on the phone and connect them to you instantly to your phone number you provide. You can control when you get your leads but you have to do it before someone looks you up. Say you want to go on vacation this weekend you go into the calender and turn off the leads for when your going to be gone. I have had my leads off which how I do it is turn the spend target to 0 until I'm ready to go. For the most part I have gotten 90% of the jobs I bid but they are about 20% less profit if I found them otherwise. I tell them get the quotes from the other contractors and before you go ahead with any of them let me see it and see if I can beat the price. Most of the time I can as I'm a lot smaller then them and have a very small zone I work out of which is like a max of 10 mins from my house.

castlerockmo
02-15-2010, 01:27 AM
I had a terriable time with SM. They would send crappy leads all the time (could be the area) but I wouldn't use them again I don't much care for their system. They take the money out of your account each week, then when they give you a lead they shouldn't have its like pulling teeth to get them to credit you acct. When the finally do the next day you get another crappy lead. I had one lady stiff me 1500 ahe just didn't want to pay for her patio and caused a big stink with SM. They called me and told them the story but they never did anything. And that was what the salesmen said they would do is fight to protect their contractors. I found spending money on other fourms of addvertizing is better. The only bennifit was people who owned property out of town thwy could just get on the internet and look us up. And as far as control on you account you have to type of leads exact match and somwthing else. The exact match you have a min. You have to pay a month. That's the other thing that sucked, I still had to pay for a minimum of 2 leads a month. I HATE SM!!!!
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