Porch.com Review: The Best Online Directory Yet?

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by Dan Perry on August 27, 2014

As a handyman and writer of this blog, I’m always on the lookout for new ways of getting customers.  More specifically, I’m always looking for low maintenance ways of getting customers.

Personally, I don’t like to spend a lot of time marketing my handyman business.  Instead, I like to put in focused effort on the 20% of marketing methods that generate 80% of my new leads.  This allows me to make a full time living as a handyman while only working 3 days a week.

A few weeks ago while shopping for supplies at a local Lowe’s, I saw an ad at the end of the isle (as shown in the image to the right) and was instantly intrigued.  Lowe’s now had it’s own directory for recommending professionals.

Just as Home Depot has done with RedBeacon, Lowe’s was now working on a way to connect their customers with qualified home service pros.

I don’t know about where you live, but a lot of people in my city shop a Lowe’s.  But more importantly, a lot of non-contractor’s shop at Lowe’s.

This could be a game changer for many handymen. Read more…

In this episode of The Handyman Startup Podcast, I discuss a fundamental part of any good marketing strategy – Your story.

You may be thinking, “who cares about my story, I’m just a regular dude starting a handyman business.”

That’s what I thought when I first started my handyman business, too.  I thought customers just wanted to have an experienced handyman fix what they needed fixed and to leave when they were done.

Man was I wrong.

Customers do care about your story.  In fact, it can significantly impact their hiring decisions.  If you can craft a decent story that includes at least one of five key elements, you will not only attract more customers, but you’ll attract more loyal customers.  I’m talking about customers that recommend you to their friends, give you online reviews, and hire you over and over, without you even asking them too.

My story has certainly helped me with my business, as it has with Christy Webber, Nick May, and Chris Maxwell-Gaines.  So, I spent some time researching and breaking down what makes a good story and why a good sales story is so effective.  I’ve recorded this podcast to share what I’ve learned with hopes that it will help your business.

Enjoy!

Here’s what I discuss in this episode:

  • The 5 critical components of a good sales story.
  • Examples of good sales stories.
  • How to use your story to generate more leads and build loyalty.
  • What a sales story is NOT.

Read more…

I didn’t even want the job, yet there I was again, driving my truck down the highway on a hot summer day, on my way to give a free quote for a gutter repair.

I was new in the business and didn’t know any better.  I thought all handymen gave free quotes.

So, there I was, taking precious time out of my day for a job I didn’t even want.

After my long drive, I got out my 65 lb. ladder, dragged it and positioned it beneath the gutters, climbed it, and immediately noticed that I needed a special bracket to repair them.  I didn’t know where to get the brackets.

So, I turned down the job.

An hour and a half of my time gone with nothing to show for it.

During the drive back I was annoyed and frustrated about wasting so much time and gas.  Even if I would have been able to do the job, it wouldn’t have been worth the extra trip for a quote.

Since then, I’ve stopped giving free quotes because they simply aren’t worth it.  Here’s why. Read more…

In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast, I sit down with Ed Padilla, founder of ACHP (Association of Certified Handyman Professionals).

Ed has a really interesting story.  After being trapped in the corporate rat race for several years, he realized that he wanted something else.  So, he quit his job and capitalized on the demand he could see present for home repairs.

In 2006 he started Padilla Home Inspection and Handyman Services.  Soon after getting started, he noticed that handymen had a terrible reputation in the eyes of homeowners.  Tired of getting the stink-eye every time he entered a home, he had the urge to change this perspective.

Three years later, he took action and created ACHP, a non-profit, member based organization  to help handymen all over the country appear more reputable to homeowners.  Now, ACHP is growing and offering benefits to it’s members such as great insurance rates.

I’m honored to have Ed on the podcast.  He’s doing great things for the handyman industry and by listening to him you get the sense that he really cares about our industry.

Here’s what we cover in this episode: Read more…

Leaving your 9-5 and starting your first business can be a scary thought.  I know I was scared when I first decided to quit my job and go out on my own in 2011.

I was working at a desk job I absolutely hated and desperately wanted to start my own business.  I wanted to do anything but work at that life draining job.  But, I couldn’t even decide on a business to start, let alone create a plan that made me feel secure.

I’d read business books in an attempt to learn more, but they all made it sound so complicated and challenging.  Business was so foreign to me and it seemed like I needed to have a unique idea to be successful.  I had no idea where to start.

After struggling for over a year to create an escape plan, I finally decided to just get started.  For me, that meant quitting my job even though I didn’t know the next step.

It was the best decision I’ve ever made and led me to start a business that I love.

However, it still wasn’t easy to choose a business.  I had to find something that I knew I could make work and with little startup capital.  I didn’t have the option to fail, and I’m sure you don’t either.  Maybe that’s why you haven’t made the jump yet.

Since leaving my job, I’ve learned a lot about business and what it means to take the risk of setting out on your own.  One thing that I’ve realized is that it isn’t as risky as most people think.  In fact, I believe it’s less risky than putting all of your eggs in the 9-5 basket.

So, if your dream is to own your own business and simply can’t afford to fail, here are 5 steps to ensure your success.  My hope is that they motivate you to get started. Read more…

In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast I’ve got a special guest - Chuck Solomon.  Chuck is a former handyman business owner, an author of multiple books, and a business consultant.

He’s literally written the book on how to start and grow a handyman business.  (See resources below for a link.)  He’s also just an all around nice guy who’s looking to help tradesmen like you grow your business.

Just like most handymen, Chuck kind of fell into the business and before he knew it had a list of customers asking him to do all kinds of work.  He capitalized on the opportunity, offered excellent service, and soon enough he was running a successful biz.

After 10 years, Chuck decided to hang his hat and sell his business and became a consultant.  He’s now using the valuable knowledge he gained during his own journey to help others.

Back in episode #10, Jim Copenhaver talks about the importance of mentors.  Chuck was one of the mentor’s he was speaking of who helped him build his business.

Talking to Chuck in this episode is very humbling as it makes me realize that there is still a lot I can learn about this business.

Here are a few things we cover in this episode: Read more…

Underbidding jobs sucks.  Whenever I do it, I feel defeated and unmotivated.  It makes me feel like I’ve lost power and freedom.

Here’s the worst part.  When I do underbid jobs I can typically sense it happening as I’m doing it, yet I still underbid the job.  Why is this?

It’s like I’m watching myself do something that I know is not good for me and have no control over it happening.  There’s some hidden power at work that I can’t see or touch that is controlling me from sacking up and charging what I should.

Kinda like when I start eating ice-cream and I can’t stop eating it.

During the first couple years of running my handyman business, I lost a lot of money by underbidding jobs.  Now, I’ve been doing this long enough to where I almost never do it.  I’ve figured out a few strategies that help me to only take on work that is worth my time.

Getting better at estimating and pricing jobs has had a significant impact on my income and enjoyment as a handyman.  Learning to quote with confidence is empowering.

That’s why in this article I’d like to share some tips to help you stop underbidding your jobs and start making the money you deserve.  If you implement them, you will immediately experience a feeling of empowerment and excitement about your business.

Enjoy. Read more…

Online reviews have a significant impact on both the amount and quality of leads you get online.

If you are looking to grow your business, increase your rates, or reach a higher quality clientele, then online review sites certainly deserve some attention.

However, if you’re anything like me or most handymen, you probably have a hundred other things to worry about and don’t give them the attention they deserve.  That’s a shame because the ROI can be massive.

In this article I’m going to demonstrate importance of online reviews and provide five tips I’ve learned along the way that  have helped me maintain mostly positive reviews with minimal effort. Read more…

In this episode of the Handyman Startup Podcast I share 7 of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in the last 3 years in business.  These are lessons that have changed my mindset and the way I view business, people, and the world in general.

Today marks exactly three years since I quit my engineering job and decided to venture out on my own in an attempt to control my own destiny and design a better life for myself.

Deciding to quit on that day was the best (and hardest) decision I’ve ever made for myself.  Because of that decision I was able to start a successful handyman business, create this website, and enjoy the entire experience (well, most of it).

That’s pretty cool considering that while working as an engineer I was depressed, out of shape, and really unhappy.  Things have pretty much made a 180 degree turn for the better.

While quitting my job was a great decision, it wasn’t always easy.  There were a lot of struggles over the last three years and many times where I wanted to give up and just go get another job.  There’s a steep learning curve as a beginning entrepreneur.  But, with the support of my readers, friends, and family I was able to stick it out.

Through those struggles I learned a LOT, often times things that I didn’t even know I needed to learn.  That’s what this latest podcast is all about – those major lessons I’ve learned along the way.

I’m excited to share these with you today because they are things I think about all the time.  It’s great to share my story with the hope that it may help you along your journey to dominate life and start a successful handyman business.

Here is a sneak peak of what you can expect in this episode:

  • Why you shouldn’t care if a customers say your too expensive.
  • Why saying no is such a valuable skill.
  • Why you shouldn’t even worry about your competition.
  • How to learn what you don’t know you don’t know.
  • My best tips and secrets on how to enjoy this business to the fullest and design it exactly how you want.

Read more…

One of the best things about running a handyman business is the incredible demand for your services.  There are hundreds of services you can offer and a huge variety of customers to offer them to.

This is great because you can pretty much run your business however you want.  If you don’t like working with certain customers, you don’t have to.  If you don’t like certain services, you don’t have to do them.

That’s pretty awesome.

However, this is only possible if you’re marketing is dialed in.  I believe that you’re ability to enjoy your business and craft it into something that works for you is directly tied to your marketing strategy.  

If your marketing strategy sucks, you’ll have to design your lifestyle around your business.  Not fun.  If you can successfully target the right customers for the right services, you can have a business that is designed around your lifestyle.

In this article, I discuss three ways you can target your customers to have a more effective marketing strategy (and more fun). Read more…