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residental work

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by whiffyspark, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. swanny

    swanny LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    Opinion without supporting reasons is like a mouth w/o teeth, imo. Let's hear them.

    I use Ebay/Craigslist, like many, for selling items with good success, but I've been blessed that it's been all word of mouth for services for 25+ years.

    Don't have personal experience with Angie's list, but just about everyone that I know who are users have nothing but good to say about them. Last time I spoke with one of the tree guys I know spent around $15k with them this year. He wouldn't spend that kind of money unless it had good returns.

    What specifically are you looking to do? Willing to travel to the Columbia/Howard County area? I referred over a half-million dollars of work last year to people I know that do very reputable work.
  2. JNB Construction

    JNB Construction LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    I'll "third" that!

    If you're having trouble with website traffic, one thing to try is a listing on thumbtack. It's a beta test that Google has been running for a few years. You get credits for answering questions about yourself, getting reviews, etc. You can also pay to submit quotes (I never have and won't.) If the customer asks specifically for you from your thumbtack listing based on what they see and read about you, the lead is free. My thumbtack listing ranks first page on Google locally. I receive between one and three general category leads daily, but a high percentage of them are jobs that "kinda" fit me. Customers that asks specifically for me are the only ones I pay attention to. You can check out my thumbtack page at http://www.thumbtack.com/tx/krum/concrete-contractor/grading-gravel-driveways-pasture-mowing for ideas if you want.

    Edited to add: One thing you can do on thumbtack that Google actually spanks you for doing anywhere else on the web (including your website) is to use a listing of your service areas as keywords.

    My regular business website actually ranks highest on Google's first page in most local searches. Between that, thumbtack and a few other free ads, my listings pretty much take up all of the first page (besides paid ads.)

    I did a lot of work on my website to get it ranked on the first page. My main source for website knowledge has been a contractors marketing guy named Darren Slaughter at http://darrenslaughter.com/ . He gives away a ton of free info daily, although I have also used his website review services. Very, very thorough review I might add.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
  3. Kepple Services

    Kepple Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    I thought you couldn't pay to be on angies list... That's what they say in the adverts here, that everyone listed is a referral and no one can pay to be listed... another lie I guess... Another reason NOT to use it. One of the "largest" tree companies around here, had numerous huge ads finally screwed enough people that they went out of business, declared bankruptcy, and then purchased his used up crappy equipment and came back with the same name, with an "A" in front of it now. All under his sons name. Nice eh, went out owing us money, as well as many many others in the area.
  4. JNB Construction

    JNB Construction LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    I can give a couple.

    I bid against other contractors for less than 5% of my work, and it's usually against the same two companies. Both of them are aimed more at material delivery, but do offer installation on request. I did work for both of them a few years ago when I was starting up my present company, after having another business in a different state. I won't go into it here, but after doing their work for awhile I noticed that both companies were pretty shady in their business practices. After disassociating myself, I continued to get calls from angry customers who couldn't get return calls from one of the companies to address complaints for over a year. (I was doing their bidding for them too, so the customer had my #.) Two of the drivers for the other company asked me to give a statement for their complaint against their former employer for non-payment. Both of these companies go through employees, subcontractors and customers like water through a sieve.

    Both companies also rely on pay-to-play sites for the vast majority of their business. I know for a fact that they've had numerous complaints by customers, but both are major players on Angie's list and the like.

    I personally don't trust these kind of sites. Thankfully I don't need them.
  5. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,287

    Check out yelp-sucks.com. The only paid part of angies list is for them to do marketing for you. Kind of defeats the purpose of the system.

    I work anywhere in southern maryland. All the way up to baltimore county as low as st marys. Do work in Montgomery too around Bethesda. Columbia is fine as well in that area every week it seems
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,830

    Google doesn't have anything to do with Thumbtack. They're an independent, albeit well-funded, company.

    To clarify this one a bit, you can add your cities, in list form, to your site, but dumping a list of them in every page of your footer or header is what you want to avoid. If you have a service area page, you can safely put a list there, because it makes sense to. Other pages, work the words naturally in to the content.
  7. JNB Construction

    JNB Construction LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 282

    Then I stand corrected. Either way, it doesn't matter who they are as long as it doesn't cost me a dime and I get results.
  8. swanny

    swanny LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    I here you on the companies that do shady biz, but I'm not suggesting there ought to be an absolute trust factor in the feedback companies like Angie's List provide - it's simply a piece of the puzzle. Yes, these aspects can obviously be manipulated and distorted (just like Ebay). I would think the people that use Angie's List successfully far outweigh those that get taken based on the response I've gotten from the people I know who advertise with them and my customers who have used them.

    Whiffyspark - sent you a pm.
  9. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,287

    Still working on the website. Going to hang 4x4 signs this weekend.

    Anyone ever tries sending packets to builders?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. YellowDogSVC

    YellowDogSVC LawnSite Gold Member
    from TX
    Messages: 3,787

    i never had luck with sending out packets or coupons. Tried that when I first went into business. Had someone find one and try to use a coupon many years later for services that I didn't really offer.

    I think the builders should be a personal introduction. If you have a trucker who hauls material for you, ask him to introduce you to some of his contacts then go by and talk to them. I think with packets (I could be wrong), you might attract someone looking for the cheapest price.

    Wanted to ad, that I'm not the most sociable person. When I'm not at work, I'm generally working at the ranch or helping neighbors so I don't beat the bush too much for work. What I do, though, is keep up with key contacts and check in on them via email, phone call, or if I see them, I'll go up and visit. I was having lunch with my wife the other day and a contractor I sent a gift card to (for a referral he gave me), came up to reintroduce himself and thank me for the card. Little things like that, I think, stick in a customer's mind better than a stack of flyers or mail that the typical contractor gets each week. I imagine I've gotten more work out of that relationship and the referrals generated from those new customers than I did in all of my mailouts. That's not to say a targeted mail-out won't work for specific builders but what I've read in my "how to biz books" is personal delivery of your card or letters of introduction to builders will probably pay off a lot more than sending them something.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013

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