Top HomeAdvisor Alternatives in 2020
Updated: Mar 29
If you're a home contractor, you probably have an account with HomeAdvisor, and you probably have a love/hate relationship with it.
HomeAdvisor has dumped thousands into their brand campaigns. They have made it easy for customers seeking experts for services to get in touch with them without moving an inch. Customers can also compare and contrast the services offered by these experts and decide which one suits them best.
Such changes have challenged contractors and experts, as they need to place themselves strategically and ensure that these customers find them.
Luckily, the internet has numerous platforms where experts can list their services.
These act as the leading search platforms that customers look to when they need specific services. One popular and dominant force in this industry is HomeAdvisor. This platform is a one-stop-shop for home services, and you can find just about any expert you want for your house. It has a pool of over 100,000 professionals split into more than 500 trade categories.
From a distance, this platform might seem like a perfect fit. However, especially for the contractors, this is not the case. For a customer, it's easy to browse through all these categories, but for the contractors, there is a cost one needs to incur before listing their services.
HomeAdvisor is the giant in the home services niche. It's focused on home improvement professionals such as plumbers, HVAC contractors, electricians, and general contractors, among others. For the customers seeking contractors, it's free.
Companies listing their services here need to meet a set of qualifications, which are:
• Possess a state-level trade license
• Business background check
• Criminal background check
• Verified credit check
Once a company meets these qualifications, they can have their services listed. This is a plus for customers since they are sure that the people they are dealing with have been vetted.
In terms of cost, companies need to pay a fee of $350 per year to list their service. Aside from these, they are required to pay for the lead generation. Leads on this platform range from $15-$20 for every lead, and it can even go to $50 or more. Roofers can pay upwards to $200 per lead.
These leads can be directed per week or month on your account. This scares off some experts, especially those that operate on a shoestring budget. The good thing is that the platform only charges for the legitimate leads and will offer credit for bad and duplicate leads - although you need to prove that the lead was illegitimate, which is sometimes difficult. Altogether, the rates can quickly rise to vast amounts if a company receives a lot of leads.
One standout feature of HomeAdvisor is its review system. This is critical for companies as customers go through them to differentiate the good companies from the bad ones.
While this platform is a dominant force, now even running TV ad campaigns, it's not a monopoly. There are other smaller ones that can offer contractors better value at a reduced cost. Read on and check out some of these HomeAdvisor alternatives.
Top HomeAdvisor Alternatives:
Before we dive into Thumbtack, Houzz, and the like, we're going to give you the BEST alternative for lead generation for your business... (drum roll)....
1. Google (Google Ads, Google My Business, Local Services)
Google is an oldie, but it is still to this day the best solution for generating leads for your business.
In 2019, Google saw a 135% increase in searches for the keywords “local” and “near me” over 2009. Consumers are now researching home contractors on Google over any other search platform.
Industries such as moving, pest control, locksmith services, plumbing, etc. are the most likely to use search engines and Google gets 90% of all search engine traffic. The global home services market is expected to grow by 18.91% per year from 2019 to 2026.
Some very important Google statistics to consider for Home Contractors in 2020:
78% of local searches on mobile devices lead to a purchase within 24 hours
46% of all Google searches have local intent.
93% of local searches now feature Google My Business listings.
68% of people contact a business directly from search results.
About 80% of consumers do NOT have a specific business in mind when looking for a service (sorry baby boomers, your brick+mortar word of mouth is weening)
If this data isn't enough to convince you, (and it should consider most of your target audience is going to Google over HomeAdvisor anyway) here's the cherry on top:
Costs per lead on HomeAdvisor often exceed $100.
The cost per lead on Google can be as low as $3.
To clarify, some leads on HomeAdvisor cost as little as $10, depending on your vertical (pest control is pretty cheap compared to roofing), but they are often much higher. Whereas on Google your CPC (cost per conversion, aka leads) can be as low as $5, sometimes less, and at most around $60 depending on your campaign type.
Google Ads is useful for contractors as they can set up low-cost campaigns and still get the desired visibility to the people looking for services in their area.
This PPC campaign has a lower Cost Per Click, and over time, it makes financial sense to these contractors.
The other part of Google here is your Google My Business Page.
Phone calls generate 10 15x more revenue than web leads.
Issues like lead duplication and customer service are not felt here as customers get to view you on top of the search engine results. Its model is based on the quality of advertisements rather than the amount one can pay, something that forces contractors to uphold the required standards. Contractors offering services should look at Google Ads as a way of advertising their services rather than rely on HomeAdvisor alternatives solely.
Now that we've gotten the big dog out of the way, here are the other alternatives to Google and HomeAdvisor that home contractors can use.
This is a little known platform that is gaining popularity among professionals. Its business model makes it suitable for gig experts. It offers services in over 1000 different categories in the 50 states and matches clients to contractors based on the expertise and location.
It works by a client typing information about the work they need to be done. When they search, they are given a list of contractors offering those services. This list is filtered based on several details provided by the client. The client reviews the business profiles of the experts and decides whether they can choose them for a quote. The two agree on a price and can decide to move forward. From here, the contract is handled by the two, and Thumbtack has no part in it.
Experts are required to fill in a lot of information about their service to help clients determine if they are suitable ones or not. Profiles with comprehensive details, good ratings, and more hires tend to attract more clients.
Thumbtack’s pricing model is not all that straightforward, nor is it open to the public. It depends on the number of quotes, location, and the number of leads. However, it is lower than most of the major players, from what the reviews say. The caveat is that one can end up paying for leads that do not turn into contracts, making it costly.
Advantages of Thumbtack
• Affordable cost of leads
• Price is customized for each business
• Has a business model that makes it favorable for small companies
Disadvantages of Thumbtack
• You have to pay for a lead even if it does not turn into a contract
3. Angie’s List
This is a top alternative in the home services industry. It was initially a paid service to improve credibility but later changed the model to a free service but pay to play. This way, contractors can create a free profile but pay to have it listed on the top pages. This platform does not charge per lead, but a monthly fee regardless of the number of leads you receive.
This platform is keen on reviews, and it believes that it is the key for clients to find the best experts for their jobs. It has been around for a long time, and some of the contractors who have used it since the beginning have a huge history of reviews that stamp on their credibility.
Advantages of Angie’s List
• Contractors are checked to ascertain their legitimacy
• It is free to sign up
• The review system is established and works for the contractors and clients
• Being established over time leads to better visibility
Disadvantages of Angie’s List
• You need to pay for your profile to appear on the top page
• You pay for adverts and not leads
• Poor customer service
This is a platform that is more like social media. Contractors create profiles and fill in information about their services, plus testimonials from previous clients. One standout feature of this platform is the ability to come up with idea boards like Pinterest. This helps experts and clients to collaborate on projects such as home renovations. Joining the platform is free, but contractors need to pay for their profiles to appear higher in their area.
This platform makes money from advertising and selling products, things that make it a bit different from the others. It is mainly focused on home improvement projects, and clients are increasingly seeking experts there.
Advantages of Houzz
• A free profile with pictures and reviews can help to advertise your business
• Contractors can pay to boost their profiles
Disadvantages of Houzz
• Paying for advertisements does not guarantee jobs
• Poor customer service
This is one of the HomeAdvisor alternatives that is a little different from the rest. Here, clients sign up and then give details about their project, such as the budget, timelines, and pictures of what needs to be done. Contractors can assess these projects and then pick ones they want to undertake.
Experts are required to pay a subscription-based on the area they serve. The good thing is that they view the leads before they buy, thus making it cost-effective. It has a fantastic application that offers an idea of projects such as Pinterest. This allows for homeowners to express their desires about the project more explicitly and thus land the best contractor for the job.
Advantages of Porch
• Perfect for small contractors that desire small and quick jobs
• Contractors can get refunds for bad leads
• Experts can pay a premium to be featured in local Lowes stores
• Leads are sold to 4 contractors to limit competition
Disadvantages of Porch
• Poor customer service
• Hard to cancel subscriptions
• Their background check called “Porch Guarantee” requires a strong online presence that might be challenging for new businesses.
From the reviews, it is evident that one of the main concerns for contractors is the cost of this service. While they help to connect the experts to potential customers, some end up paying a lot of money for the leads that might not turn out to contract. Cumulatively, this accrues to massive amounts, and if one does not get regular work, it does not make any financial sense. The value for money is a huge challenge, and in some instances, the leads are sent to many contractors, thus reducing the probability of one even getting the contract.
6. Pro Referral
Powered by Home Depot, Pro Referral is a free lead generation service that is focused on home improvement projects. The app puts the power of pairing the right home professional and the right client together, without the stress of having to scour Google and review websites.
For pros, several pre-screening steps must be met before joining, including having general liability insurance and paying a bi-yearly background check fee of $39.99. Upon meeting the requirements, service professionals are admitted into a network of local leads from the store’s customer database. Unlike other lead generation websites, Pro Referral doesn’t charge per lead. They’re free! But there's no such thing as a free lunch.
Pro Referral's two catches:
1. Service pros should ensure that their trade is available on Home Depot’s Pro Referral category of services.
2. The Pro Referral points system is based on spending money at Home Depot stores and redeemable for getting new leads.
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