I started my contractor referral service earlier this year in San Bernardino County ( So. Cal.). I already have plenty of contractors, but only two customer requests. I advertise via web, classifieds, direct mail, friends, and doorhangers. Still only two requests for carpet and roof repair. I advertise that ALL the contractors are background checked and licensed, No Searching and it's FREE. Still nothing. Please tell me what I should do next. My site is www.TheServiceHunter.com. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
#1. "RE: Help Getting Customers" In response to Reply # 0
One contractor I know would walk around the more affluent neighbourhoods, looking for things that he could fix... broken porch steps, walkways, roofing, etc.
Then he would go to the door, tell the homeowner that he noticed the problem, what might happen if the problem wasn't fixed (eg. Insurance companies cancelling your insurance if the roof is in disrepair) and ask for permission to quote the homeowner on the job.
#2. "RE: Help Getting Customers" In response to Reply # 1
Thanks for your input. This is why I've enjoyed coming to this site. Everyone is truly helpful. Unfortunately, I'm not a contractor. I refer them to homeowners and businesses so that they don't have to search and background check them. I would hate to give construction advice when it's not my area of expertise. Any other thoughts? Very much appreciated.
#3. "RE: Help Getting Customers" In response to Reply # 0
Since you are a resource for customers and it seems you are doing all the right things in terms of advertising maybe you should look into doing a survey of your potential customers to get a better understanding of how they find contractors for the work they need done.
It may be that you are not hitting them where they live or hurt. It could be that you are advertising in the wrong publications or direct mail is not the way to reach them. Maybe doing a seminar on what you should know before hiring a contractor would be a good way to showcase your business. This can also be done as an article for local publications (this is public relations). Are you leveraging your contractors as spokespeople for your business? They have clients who need work done that they may not be qualified to do. They should be referring people to your site for help in locating other contractors.
I assume you make your money from the contractors who are listed on your site. Maybe offer current contractors a discount on cost of subscription for referrals.
I hope these suggestions help.
Lisa Douglas Inklusion PR public relations for a diverse world www.inklusionpr.com New lower rates for small/micro businesses.
#4. "RE: Help Getting Customers" In response to Reply # 3
Actually your advice is very helpful. Unfortunately m budget doesn't really allow additional advertising, but the incentive idea is great. I currently offer an incentive for referring contractors. As for the survey, I did do that prior to starting the business, and I received a very positive response...I guess these individuals don't have repairs yet.
Anyway, thanks for the advice, and any other suggestions is greatly appreciated.