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service magic

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by just pondering, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. Fishwhiz

    Fishwhiz LawnSite Member
    from Oregon
    Messages: 112

    When I first saw the service magic name, I thought they repaired washers and dryers and appliances!

    I have never known anyone who used them, so your opinions are really appreciated here, thanks!
  2. just pondering

    just pondering LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    Thanks for all the replies it was alot of help, I think I'm going to hold off with them for now.

    Jeff Michaels
    Pondering Waters
  3. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 537

    i do lawn care not what you do. i get 2-3 calls a month & sign around 2 per month. so i miss out on one per month. for me it workds out.
  4. alf500series

    alf500series LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    what is service magic? is it anything like BNI?
  5. STL Ponds and Waterfalls

    STL Ponds and Waterfalls LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,174

    NO! BNI is a networking program in your area, and SM sends you leads for a certain fee. Usually tirekickers that ends up costing you more than the service is worth.
  6. alf500series

    alf500series LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    well if you are looking for a place to get leads-look at joining BNI in your area. it will be well worth your time and money.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I've been using Service Magic for a good 9 years or so, I guess. The leads that we get from SM account for probably 35% of our new landscape maintenance business and clean-ups, 70% of our new irrigation system repair tech. work, 5-10% of our new landscape construction / water feature / irrigation system installs, and maybe 15-20% of our drainage business.

    I've answered questions about Service Magic on Lawnsite more times than I can count. There is some good and some bad. But if you learn how to work with them and work it right, it can be rewarding. Here are some of the threads on lawnsite where I've discussed my experiences at length;






    There are more. But the info. in those threads pretty much summarizes my experience with them. If you notice any inconsistencies or contradictions in my statements about SM over the years it's because my opinion of them and the quality of their leads often changes from month to month or year to year. But overall, I've kept them as one of the methods we receive leads for all these years for one reason; they produce a lot of leads and we do land business from their leads. You just gotta understand them and know what to expect. Read those threads and you'll see more what I mean.

    Any more Q's after that, let me know.
  8. r_rivera7272

    r_rivera7272 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Guys, here's what I mostly hear about ServiceMagic.

    1) It seems tough hold of the leads. Some people actually spend a lot of time "chasing" down these leads.
    2) When you do, most are just shopping around. With ServiceMagic people fill out forms and wait for contractor's to call. In my mind they're not very serious candidates if you get my drift.
    3) If they do, they seem to be in a bidding war (selling to 6-7 people in the area).

    ServiceMagic gets their leads from being up on the front page of the search engines. Type in "greensboro landscaping" and go down the list. You'll see them there. They get people to fill out their form and turns it around and sells them to us. Try it and see.

    Now, I got a call from a guy named Chris from some company that helps small businesses get on the front page with a guarantee (same page as ServiceMagic itself).

    And it's not Adwords. I found that Adwords aren't as effective as the Local and Organic listings (see for yourself. Read the CONCLUSION @ http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-disco...s-seo-spending).

    Now because I was SEO savvy and was already on the front page, I didn't need their services but they offered a reasonable price of $145/month to be on the front page with no contract!

    If you guys are interested send me a PM. I can try to see if I can remember what company it was. But I know LS doesn't want us posting stuff like this.
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    That's fairly true. A lot of the leads you do have to chase down a little. But the thing is, they are fairly cheap. So the idea is that if you get 4 leads and only one of them is serious and ready to go and you land that job - well then you've paid 4 lead fees to get 1 job. Not too bad a deal. When you equate how much the total cost is to get that one job, it's usually worth it.

    Ummmmm....somewhat true. Often times the people actually ARE very serious. They're just wanting to shop around and compare 2-4 bids. Nothing wrong with that. I think most of us just don't enjoy being in that position and aren't used to it so much. We prefer customers who are just calling us and nobody else. So if that's all you want is customers who are only interested in getting ONE bid, then you should avoid Service Magic. Because it doesn't work that way. These bids are going to probably be a little tougher to land than the other bids you give. But the upside is you can easily DOUBLE the bids you get each week by signing up for Service Magic. For many of us, the increase traffic is worth the cost of having to deal with customers who are "shopping" more.
    No. Not 6-7 people. Service Magic typically sells the lead to only 3 contractors. Sometimes 4. and typically at least one of those contractors is too busy or flaky so in reality you're just bidding against one or two other guys. But again, that may be a position that many of us aren't accustomed to. So you have to change your thinking. These customers aren't going to be as easy to land jobs with as your typical leads you get. They're looking for a better deal. They're comparing EVERYTHING. Your appearance, your truck, your professionalism, how prompt you were on calling them and arriving to the bid, how thorough your bid was, how nice you looked, and of course your price. So you have to be at the top of your game in all those areas. If your trucks don't look too professional or your uniform isn't that nice or your estimate isn't too professional or you're late or you haven't shaved your beard since 2003 then yah - you may not look as appealing as the other 2 bids they are getting. So you gotta be on top of your game and impress them on every level if you want these guys' business.

    That's true. And they do a whole lot more advertising than that too. They advertise on TV, some yellow pages, local newspapers, and all over the web (not just front page of Google). They're literally everywhere. That's why contractors who use SM have an advantage. You can sort of take advantage of their GIANT advertising campaign. WAY WAY WAY more than any of us could afford to advertise on our own.

    Keep in mind, there's only so much room on Google Page 1. Only 10 people are ever going to be there (plus the paid ads). And there is a whole lot that goes into maintaining a top 10 position on Google. A good 30% of the Google algorithm is page age. So unless your website URL is several years old, it's going to be difficult to maintain that "top page" result or even to attain it in the first place.

    And it takes more than what anyone could do for $145 a month to get there. SEO is my specialty. I currently hold the #1 position for 60 different keyword terms on Google (terms like "landscaping Portland Oregon" or "sprinkler systems Portland Oregon" or "Portland Oregon landscaping company"). And I hold a page one position (top 10 results) for over 120 different terms. On Yahoo, I have over 80 #1 positions and over 120 top 10 positions. I didn't get there by paying some guy $145 per month. If it was that easy about anyone in my town could beat me out for my position by just hiring such a guy. It takes a butt load of study and trial and error and campaigning to get placement like that. I spend hundreds of hours every winter on SEO stuff.

    I've been asked to be one of the keynote speakers at a major irrigation conference next year just because of my SEO expertise. My whole talk will be on SEO with a break-out training session afterwards. I'm not trying to brag. It's not something I normally like to advertise. I am just saying this to point out that when it comes to SEO stuff, I know what I am talking about. And trust me, it's not something that a guy can do in just a few hours a month or for $145.00 per month. Several of the huge landscaping companies in my town have hired SEO experts and they are paying them upwards of $1000+ per month in an effort to beat out my placement. Some of them have managed to get up to page 1. But only after months of spending thousands of dollars. And even then, they're only SEO "optimized" for just one term. What about the other 120 terms people use to find a landscaping or irrigation or retaining wall or paver company?

    A $145 guy might get you halfway decent placement for one or two terms if you're lucky. But it's going to be short-lived and you're still not going to get anywhere near the volume of leads from the placement of that one term that you can get from Service Magic (who is optimized for nearly every term) unless you can figure out how to be in the top position for almost every term. And that's friggin' difficult. Trust me on that.

    If you're looking for top placement, you either need to;
    1) Spend some serious time mastering SEO (as in hundreds of hours)
    2) Use Paid Ads (Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, etc.) to get you a top position
    3) Hire a really good SEO guy. Most of the SEO "professionals" are hacks who know less than I do about the subject. There are some good ones out there who are really good at what they do. But they are freakin' hard to find. And they will charge you a whole lot more than $145 a month.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010

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