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What could make this better

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by ptjackson, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. ptjackson

    ptjackson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    My site Servicevines.com has jobs for bid in OKC area http://servicevines.com/jobs/
    Only two of the jobs have bids, I've called and emailed several providers in the area, posted them to craigslist and emailed hundreds. The site is completely free right now, the leads are free for the taking.

    Is it confusing, too time consuming, or am I just impatient? Do people on this board see this as valuable? Bid on only the jobs you are interested in, with views of the home?

    Any feedback you have on how this could be made better for companies like yours is appreciated.

  2. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,867

    I think if you did a better job of engaging the LCO's on your home page you would see a change. Right now, and rightfully so, it's heavily slanted towards the homeowner, but there's not much there that speaks to the contractor side. Can't have the chicken without the egg, and vice versa.

    Instead of the "List Your Services for Free" link taking us straight to a form, howabout it takes us to a page that also includes the benefits/features/costs/etc? Or maybe a clearer "Are you a contractor?" type button on the homepage that takes us to an educational page?

    Btw, it's great to see a sponsor engage us instead of just talking at us.

  3. ptjackson

    ptjackson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    Thanks Tony,
    It means a lot you takes the time to reply to me. I don't know a whole lot about this business which is why I spend a lot of time here reading. However, I know A LOT about web, business and tech, so I try to just chime in and help on those topcis where I can. My goal is to become part of this great community not just sign on once a week and offer something to "sell"

    I'll put up a page outlining the benefits to companies like yours. It used to be that way until we recently rolled out the job posting component, then we shifted focus. Like you said it's a Chicken and Egg problem but hopefully as we build a successful market it's a benefit to both the chicken and the egg. One stop shopping for one, a nice distribution channel and free marketing to the other.

    Just as a follow up to anyone reading this thread and assuming you've made it down this far. Listing your services is ALWAYS FREE. So it's a free link to your site, a free place for some photos and listing of services. Once we do get to the point we are charging it will only cost you once a customer selects you as the provider. One thing that makes us really unique is you can see an aerial view of the job site before bidding.

    Thanks to all the great people on this site.
  4. Ben Bowen

    Ben Bowen LawnSite Bronze Member
    from PNW
    Messages: 1,178

    I signed up, even though you don't have any jobs in my area. It was easy to do, I found the navigation and concept simple.

    I have had good success with Redbeacon and, to a lesser degree, Thumbtack. The key is quality leads at a reasonable price.

    I am not sure about the "budget" feature. Seeing a $25 budget makes me think- "why bother"?

    As a contractor I much prefer this type of service to Angieslist or Service Magic. I am rooting for you!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. ptjackson

    ptjackson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    Thanks @Headz77 that's great feedback. Honestly I want it to be a benefit to both sides or I don't want to do it.

    I haven't set a price yet because I need to know what the "cost to get someone to post a job is" Once I know that the leads will only be a small margin over my costs. But as you say it has to benefit you at the right price. We try to be different than others by letting you see the bids to see if it's worth your time AND see the house that needs the work done. ServiceMagic I don't like at all, sells the same lead to multiple people and it's expensive.

    Again, thanks and that's why I'm here to build a service that YOU all want to use and had a say in building. Not come and shout about a service that was built without consulting you.

    Best of Luck. Your post made my day, as in all business it's ups and downs and your comments made today an "up" day :)
  6. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,867

    Phil, I sent you a PM re: this, but since we're talking features and the future, how do you currently push leads out to contractors who have signed up and how do you plan on doing so in the future (if different than currently)?
  7. ptjackson

    ptjackson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    sorry I forget to check my PM's (I guess it doesn't email me)

    Currently the system ask you how far you are willing to travel. Once a homeowner "pins" their house it calculates 1. is it in your service area 2. is this for a service you provide. If you're a match you get an email within seconds.

    One we feel like we have a site you all want, we'll offer the ability for that job to be texted to you if you'd like, that's pretty easy to add.

    Also the iPhone/iPad app is coming. This way if you wanted to pick up a small job where you had already planned on being that day (to fill downtime) it will show you on a map jobs close to your area and you can bid right from your phone.

    Is this how you want it to work.

    PS. sorry about the PM I guess lawnsite doesn't email when you have one. I'll find the setting and change it.
  8. Ben Bowen

    Ben Bowen LawnSite Bronze Member
    from PNW
    Messages: 1,178

    I appreciate the benefit of seeing the person's budget- but let me flesh out my thought on that. The customer wants multiple bids in a short amount of time. The contractor wants as many opportunities as possible. I don't expect to get them all, I get maybe one out of ten that I bid on Redbeacon- I am not cheap. Obviously most of my bids are over the budgets people have in mind. But, some people, once they see my website, the way I respond, and the billing options I offer will raise their budget. I am glad I bid those!

    Have you looked at what companies in Okla City are similar sites? Maybe they would be more likely to uses yours. I think you are looking for the guys who have smart phones and laptops with them everywhere. Just a thought...
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. ptjackson

    ptjackson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    yup I agree. I tell people all the time, it's not always the LOWEST bid that wins. That's why I want people to see all about the provider, and at some point we'll provide some kind of verification (I think thumbtack does this).

    Yeah I have a lead list that I've created. I'm usually up till midnight filling out the form on websites but providers are busy and I understand they are reluctant to sign up, it's okay I'm in this for the long haul. I plan on taking this feedback and building out some pages that better explain to PROVIDERS what we are doing.

    Thanks again to all
  10. CLS LLC

    CLS LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 487

    I like this idea alot, if I knew computers and web design better, I would try and put something like this together.

    One large problem I see is a lack of square footage on the lawn treatments bids. Without a square footage I am unable to bid, and since I don't know where the house is I can't measure it. I don't have an answer for how to do this since customers never seem to have an ACCURATE idea of their property's square footage.

    Another problem I see when you start charging for this, I think you're going to have to make the bids anonymous. I see Thunder Lawn on there has his phone number listed in his business description. The customer calls that number and you've just been cut out and the customer didn't even mean to do it. Even if he didn't have his phone number listed there a quick 10 seconds search on google yields thunder lawn's facebook page which also lists his phone number. I think when you start charging you will have to give the companies false names and not allow any contact information in their descriptions.

    The budget thing also poses a problem because if a customer tells a contractor what they are willing to spend the contractor feels they have to be at that price point. It also poses the problem of every contractor comes in at the same price. Leaving very little competitive advantage for any of them. I'd feel I'm wasting my time if I were to try and bid $30 on a lawn mowing job that 7 other contractors have already bid $30 on.

    The biggest problem you have is traffic. I feel if you really want to make a go at this you need to dump ten's of thousands of dollars into marketing in your local area to get customers (not contractors) to come to your web page. The problem is as a contractor I go on there and see a total of 9 jobs, and after reviewing those 9 jobs I see that ultimately it is only 7 customers. For that, I wouldn't waste my time signing up, to be completely honest. If I went on there and saw 100 jobs, you bet I'd be signing up and searching for jobs to bid on. Obviously in the beginning your consumers aren't going to be getting bids, or many bids on their properties, but that's okay, just keep pushing for consumer traffic and the contractors will come. Especially if it remains free.

    The up side is, since you have the website fully functioning and working you can show would be investors how it works and hopefully secure some marketing money. Unless you have $50,000+ to dump into marketing.

    Let me know what you think of all this, I'm very intrigued.

    You've got something good here, but you need consumer traffic, and lots of it!
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012

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