Review Sites For Contractors – And Why They Matter For Your Business
As a residential homebuilder, renovator, or service provider your end client is often the ‘homeowner’. When the market is hot you may get word of mouth referrals, but when the market isn’t quite as heated it’s important to have a good source of leads. This is where directories and review sites can play a role in lead generation. Think of a “Craigslist” specifically for homeowners who need services, which works to match up contractors who do good work with homeowners who have a project to be done.
How it Works
Using directories and review sites is a win-win situation for both contractors and homeowners. The directory provider is loyal to both parties, because the system breaks down without one or the other. There are specific reasons why many homeowners are more comfortable using these directories than going through your website, including:
- As “third party” services, the sites often have reviews from other customers, which are almost impossible to fake.
- Several sites conduct background checks on your company and validate that you are who you say, and have completed the projects you claim to have completed. They might even go so far as to look at how many permits you have pulled and the size of your former jobs, and whether any legal action has been taken against you.
All this helps to improve the credibility of the reviews provided, and gives your prospective clients peace of mind they can’t get from your company website.
Some of these directories are paid and some are free and each has their own special twist on what they offer. In a nutshell, what they do is give you exposure to homeowners with projects and boost consumer confidence in your business. Sometimes this is free – but usually for a price.
One of the original—and perhaps the most well-known—professional services directory and review sites, Angie’s List has differentiated itself by focusing on certified verification for users (so no anonymous reviews allowed), thorough background checks, phone support where homeowners can contact a real person, and offering Angie’s Guarantee. This means they stand behind the fair prices and quality of services offered by businesses that are on Angie’s List.
Advertising on Angie’s List has become practically the gold standard of credibility in many categories of professional services, with a special spotlight on construction contractors and homebuilding. While it’s free to have a listing, you will have to pay to advertise – but the added credibility and potential increase in business make it worth a try for most contractors in areas where Angie’s List is popular (mostly the US).
BuildZoom is another US directory that gathers data on licensed contractors in the US from government sources, and compiles this information together with user reviews to come up with a BuildZoom score.
If you’re operating as a contractor in the regions that BuildZoom already covers, chances are your business already appears in some way, shape, or form on the site. This means, however, that actively monitoring and participating on it is an unavoidable necessity.
This site combines some excellent and regularly updated home improvement guides and educational articles for those interested in renovating their homes. It also offers contractor listings, making it a one stop shop for those seeking a builder.
The sheer volume of users and reviews on this site (over 5 million reviews have been submitted and 30 million homeowners participate on HomeAdvisor.com) mean that it could be quite useful for a homebuilder. Prospective clients like it because the site features true cost guides that include real data from actual home improvement projects in a given area.
This site allows users to get up to five free quotes for home improvement projects and choose their contractor based on those quotes and their associated reviews and portfolios. This reduces risk for the homeowner, and although there is some work involved in supplying quotes to Thumbtack users, it may be worthwhile participating as a builder since potential customers are more likely to engage once they have an idea of the cost.
This Canadian-based review site helps people find local business listings based on proximity to their location. It is relatively easy to list your home construction business, build out a fully customized and branded profile, and gather reviews if the site is popular in the areas you serve.
Supported by Lowes, Porch is a way for contractors and homeowners to connect and build relationships. This site is perhaps most notable for the fact that a listed business only pays for the leads it actually receives, so it is certainly worth a try if it is popular in the areas that you serve.
RenovationFind offers a vetting process that really packs a punch. The site uses third party services to review your legal background, credit, customer complaints, BBB reviews, insurance coverage minimums and more. Once you are accredited by RenovationFind, consumer confidence skyrockets. This service is currently offered in Canada.
As Canada’s “largest and most-trusted source for connecting with home professionals”, Homestars focuses on building trust between homebuilders and their clients via reviews and also has a handy mobile app, which makes it a handy tool for contractors to monitor and update while on the go.
Creating and maintaining a profile on any or all of these directory sites can come with a cost, both in fees and in the time it takes to set up an account and monitor and respond to reviews. It pays great dividends for savvy homebuilders and contractors, however, by providing business leads, developing strong credibility, and building trust in a way that leads to future business.