Home Advisor PRO is an easy way to start growing your business right away. However, it’s a very controversial subject with contractors. Some businesses are experiencing massive success with the service while others trash talk it to no end and describe it as a scam.
Should you use the service for your handyman business? Good question.
In this post, I’m going to discuss the controversial issues surrounding Home Advisor as well as the pros and cons. I’ll also share my experience and some tips for maximizing ROI with the service formerly known as ServiceMagic.
Why the Controversy?
At the time of writing this article, they had 575 closed complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Despite the fact that they have an A+ rating, that’s still a lot of complaints.
This doesn’t bother me considering the fact they have been in business for so long and when you deal with as many customers as they do, you are going to have complaints. It’s just the way it is.
Several contractor’s and handymen have found out the hard way that Home Advisor actively builds links in their business’s name pointing back to Home Advisor. Not only does HA build links back to their own site in the small business’s name, but they also list HA’s phone number.
So, if you sign up for HA, you are giving them the right to use any information on your profile to actively direct people back to their service! I couldn’t believe it myself until I read their terms of service and then did a quick google of my business name.
Sure enough, I found that my YP.com listing had all of my business information, but the wrong phone number. Upon dialing that number, I was connected with Home Advisor! Wow. Not only that, but they spelled my business name wrong.
Have you ever received an exact match lead? Then the same thing is likely happening to you.
This is a pretty big issue for me and it definitely hurts Home Advisor’s image in my eyes. Although it is clearly explained in their terms of service, this is not something they explained when I signed up. It’s a little deceptive.
However, this issue can me mitigated by simply doing some cleanup work online. I’m actively seeking these listings out and changing them to reflect my business’s correct information.
One thing I recommend doing before signing up for HA is creating your own online listings. By doing so you reduce the risk of this happening to you.
Home Advisor recently changed their name from Service Magic. Why?
Many say that it’s to hide from their bad reputation. I mean, why else would you throw away years of building a well known brand?
Taken from the Home Advisor Website: “We changed our name to reflect our commitment to being the #1 resource for home improvement tips, advice and connections.”
I have to admit, it’s a much better name and it will help them resonate with home owners. They are now branding themselves as an advisor which is more authoritative than just a magical service provider.
Whether or not they have a good reason to change their name, it still looks bad to those who have had a negative experience working with HA.
The Pros and Cons of Home Advisor
- It’s effective. There’s one majore reason that HA is still in business and that is because it works. With more and more people turning to the web to find service providers, having a strong online presence is critical. Home Advisor has an incredibly strong web presence.
- Good for new businesses. Before you can start getting word of mouth business, you need to actually have customers. HA allows you to leverage their brand to gain trust and get your first clients. It also allows you to reach customers that you otherwise wouldn’t have the marketing abilities or funds to reach.
- Easy to manage. Once you’ve set up your account, it’s very easy to manage. You can even turn your leads on and off whenever you choose. This allows you to only use the service when you are slow or trying to expand your business.
- Giving up some rights to your brand. In the terms of service, it clearly states that HA can use any information on your profile to direct links to their site. This essentially allows them to use your name to promote their business.
- Bad leads. I’ve received several leads that were just people price shopping with no interest of actually hiring anybody. Sometimes, leads won’t even answer the phone. In some cases a refund will be granted, but I’ve still paid for several bad leads.
- Can get expensive. Leads for bigger jobs are expensive and often cost more than $50. However, for a handyman this isn’t as much of an issue as we usually only sign up for small job leads.
Should You Use Home Advisor?
If you have been reading my monthly reports or have signed up for my newsletter, you probably know that I recommend using HA as a way to jump start your handyman business.
I still believe that it’s very effective and have personally had success using the service. In my first year of business, I spent $1,152 advertising with HA and gained $4,425 in business directly from leads received. That doesn’t include the amount of business I received from referrals and return business from these leads. HA obviously played a significant role in the success of my first year.
However, I don’t agree with some of their marketing tactics, namely how they use a company’s name to direct leads back to their website. This bothers me, but it’s clearly stated in the terms so I can’t be pissed off. It was my decision to use their services.
That being said, I still view HA as an effective tool to grow a new handyman business and will continue to inform handymen of it’s existence. Whether or not it’s right for you, that’s something you’ll have to decide.
Quick Tips to Maximize ROI
If you do decide to use HA to grow your business, here are some insights that I’ve gained that will help you close more leads and make more money.
#1: Call leads immediately
This is the single most important factor to making HA work for you, even more so than having good reviews. I’ve found that 9 times out of 10, if I call within minutes of receiving the lead, I get the business. Some customers have even told me that they always choose the first person that calls.
#2: Only sign up for small job leads
Leads for big jobs are expensive at $50 and up. With price shoppers all over the place, this can eat into your profits really fast. Thats why I recommend only signing up for leads for jobs under $15. You will still get your foot in the door and can bank on the return business.
#3: Eliminate leads that don’t pay
After you’ve been using the service for a while, it’s a good idea to go back over your leads and see which categories pay off and which one’s provide mostly junk leads. I did this in April of last year and was amazed at the results.
What are your thoughts on Home Advisor? Please share in the comments below!