How does your home service business get its leads? Read about the most cost-efficient way to increase your lead flow.
Every home service contractor needs leads to survive. No matter how highly skilled or well equipped a contractor is, developing a stable flow of leads is one of the most important parts of growing the business.
Not all leads are equal, though, and the efficiency of your lead management flow has an effect on your business's bottom line. Whether it's roofing leads, remodeling contractor leads, or leads for a different home service business, here are some of the best ways to boost the flow of customers to your company.
Looking to increase your lead flow? CraftJack can help! Sign up today.
What Is A Lead?
Leads come into your business in a lot of ways, but basically they're all just contacts from interested potential customers. A lead is not a job won, that part is up to you! Sometimes the customers reach out to you directly, by phone or a contact form on your website. This is great, since it's a virtually zero-effort way to bring new business through the door, but it usually doesn't happen enough to keep a home service business afloat.
When there aren't enough first-person contacts to keep you busy, your company may try to drum up some leads through direct outreach. This can be fliers you pay to mail out, a paid advertising campaign on local radio or TV, or geographically targeted online ads. This is a traditional way of generating leads, but it's inefficient and can be very expensive. If your business operates on thin margins, the cost of winning a sale might be more than the money you earn from it.
An in-between solution is to get referrals. How good or bad a lead is for you varies a lot by how it was generated. Word of mouth is usually considered the best, since these leads are people who've been referred to you, at no cost to your business, by happy past customers. After that come third-party leads from various sources, referrals from other companies in related fields, such as interior design or real estate, and finally leads referred to you by partner companies with more traffic than they can handle. One of the best ways to get qualified leads is by using a lead generation service such as that offered by CraftJack.
Know The Difference Between A Good Lead And A Bad One
However you get your leads, it's not efficient to treat them all the same way. There is, for example, an obvious difference between a homeowner who calls your office directly and asks for a quote and a person who's just been called by a customer service/sales rep on the phone. One of these leads is actively seeking your services because they're very interested in them, while the other person may not know anything about your company and may not even own a home of their own. Learning to sift through your leads and reach out to the warmest ones is a critical business skill for home service contractors.
Signs Of A Good Lead
Qualified leads are the ones who have either already made the decision to book you or are very close and just need you to reach out to them. Good leads are eager to hear from you and usually have a clear idea what work they need you for. Some of the best leads come from a few places:
- Direct phone or email contact with your business
- Referrals from real estate agents, architects, designers, developers, and other businesses that frequently work with people who need renovation or other home services
- Screened leads from a lead generation service that actively recruits customers and filters them for relevance before passing them on to you
What Is A Bad Lead?
Some leads are not promising. Bad leads fall into two categories: not now and not ever.
Not-now leads are people who might need your services someday, but for whatever reason they just aren't in the market at the moment. Homeowners in this category might seek you out the way a warm lead will, but they're usually just pricing services and haven't even decided to book a job yet. However, it’s important to keep these leads in mind and plan to follow up with them. Not-now leads can turn into a job won by reminding them you’re there when they are ready to do the job.
Not-ever leads are people who simply can't use your services. People who rent apartments are usually in this category, as are DIYers who prefer to do the heavy lifting themselves. People who'd otherwise be a good match for your services but live outside your current service area can be in either category, depending on what your plans are to grow your business in the near future.
What To Look For In Regional Home Service Leads
Location can be a big barrier for home service contractors. Unlike a credit card company or online store, home service companies are geographically constrained to a limited service area. This area can be huge and hold millions of people, such as New York or Chicago, or it may be very sparsely populated, like Wyoming.
Even the most hardworking contractor in Wyoming, however, typically can't book work with homeowners in Texas. Leads that come from outside your service area aren't helpful. Ideally, your lead management service has a mechanism for sorting leads by region, as well as by services provided or trade.
At CraftJack, you have the ability to set your service area easily through our Pro app. Check out our video on “What Is A Service Area?”
Different Leads For Different Home Service Businesses
Home service contractors do different things for their customers, and different fields find opportunities in different ways. Framing contractors, for instance, most often work with new construction, developers, and complete tear-down renovations. Carpet installers can do this too, but they're more likely to be called by a homeowner whose house doesn't need a major overhaul. The specific field you're in is a major factor in what kind of leads are best for you.
Framing & Carpentry Leads
Building a structure's wooden frame is a specialty task, and the carpenters who do it most often work with developers and general contractors to put up new construction. Your leads in this field probably come from a limited number of builders. An exception to the rule would be for renovation carpenters and contractors adding rooms to customers' homes. These leads might seek you out, though the process of managing the contact all the way to a finished job can be time-consuming and inefficient.
Roofing contractors are in a similar position to carpenters if they work with new construction, but you're more likely to connect directly with homeowners and landlords who need a partial or full roof replacement. It used to be common for local roofing contractors to go door to door, but homeowners are wary of this unsolicited approach now. Developing roofing leads among single-family homeowners can be challenging.
Stone and brick masons are frequently needed for repairs and renovations to vintage homes, though new construction leads are shorter than they used to be in most parts of the country. The general move away from using brick and stone as structural supports has driven the current generation of masons largely toward private clientele who need piecework on a private home.
Landscaping leads can frequently be found by going door to door, but word of mouth is still a strong source of leads for many landscapers. At the high end of the industry, you might be working with developers to design outdoor spaces. For a new or rapidly growing landscape contractor, however, these sources can be hard to get into because of the established competition.
Remodeling Contractor Leads
Remodeling is, by its definition, oriented toward working with existing housing, particularly older homes. The leads that come for renovation work are commonly first-person contacts from people who found your website, followed you on social media, or heard about your work from a friend. Generating leads for yourself in this field can be inefficient, since it's rare for a phone sales rep or unsolicited mailer to persuade homeowners to invest in substantial renovations.
Getting The Leads Your Business Needs
Finding qualified leads in your area can be a challenge, but there are things you can do to more efficiently manage the flow. Ideally, your business can attract a large number of interested leads who have either already made the decision to get work done or are close enough to sign up with one or two contacts. They should be close enough for you to reach, have a clear idea of the work they need you to do for them, and be willing to pay what the work costs. This implies several steps in your lead flow.
Finding Leads In Your Service Area
The first challenge you have when you're looking for leads is to target your efforts to the areas you service. Direct marketing techniques can do this, though they are slow and have no guarantee of success. In fact, most of the people you reach with cold calls or fliers never become leads, while others need more contact than is feasible before making a purchase decision.
Screening And Lead Management Flow
After you find the area your best leads are located in, you have to screen them, filtering out the not-ever leads as efficiently as possible and the not-now leads in a way that keeps your company in mind until they do need you. Assuming one of the leads you reach in this way expresses an interest, it still takes work to make a sale out of the contact.Lead generation services can help you manage and screen your leads. CraftJack offers all contractors access to Lead Manager and the Pro app where they can take notes, contact and follow up, all within one platform. This CRM can help you focus on getting the job won and done.
Lead Nurturing Flow
Home improvement and renovation contracting aren't as simple as selling hamburgers. Because of the size and expense of most renovation and home service contractor work, the decision to commit is usually a big one that requires multiple contacts between the company and the lead. This process is called nurturing, because it's a low-pressure way to usher an interested lead toward the final sale. It often involves customer service calls, an on-site consultation, and possibly giving out references to past customers so the leads can satisfy themselves with the quality of the work they're booking.
Closing The Deal: Turning Leads Into Sales
Nurturing leads is probably an unavoidable part of the contractor-customer relationship, and it's something you have to work into your lead management flow. The trick to making this process efficient is to start with the warmest leads you can get and simply be available for them when they come in.
The management and nurturing processes work best on eager and eligible leads, who usually take the least work to become paying clients. Ideally, the leads you invest your time into will be local to your service areas, have already decided on getting work done, be in a position to book the work and then pay for it, and be eager to get started. Finding enough of these diamonds in the rough is exceptionally difficult when you're busy running a home service contracting business and possibly even making service calls yourself.
To improve your lead management efficiency, you need warm leads to start. To find the warmest leads you can, you need to sift through a huge number of less likely contacts. To do that, you need scale and a stable workflow for lead generation and management. For maximum efficiency, you should do this with the economy of scale you get from a national network.
The Most Efficient Way To Increase Your Lead Flow
Finding the leads who'll respond most positively to your offer of service takes help. CraftJack is a nationwide network of expert home service contractors and renovation professionals that brings leads directly to you by phone. When you sign up for the service, you get a steady flow of well-qualified leads delivered directly to you and ready to start work soon.
Find out more about how CraftJack works, sign up for qualified leads in your area, and discover the most cost-efficient way to increase your lead flow and grow your business.