Welcome to 2016 and perhaps you are about to take on a new home improvement project. Whether it is a new roof, windows, siding, kitchen, or bath; where do you start to find the right company or contractor? In this generation of modern technology, for many of us our first inclination is to pick up our smartphones or tablet and start searching on Google. I’m not saying this is not the way you should start, but I want to give you some unknown facts about what you will find. The home improvement industry is big business. However, what most homeowners don’t know is the lead-generated business is just as big! To be clear “the lead-generated business” is a business built around finding interested homeowners for various home improvement projects and selling that information to contractors and home improvement companies. So I’m sure you have heard of companies such as Home Advisors (formerly Service Magic), Porch, Angie’s List, Houzz, Amazon Home Services, Keywords Connect, and the list goes on. These companies are lead-generating companies or high powered marketing companies. Many times they know nothing about home improvements. They are good at one thing: building websites that you can find on the web, put your personal information in, and sell it to home improvement companies. Sometimes your information is sold to 4-5 different companies. So you believe you are dealing with one company and you get 5 phone calls over the next hour from companies trying to set an appointment with you. These companies charge home improvement companies $75-$250 per lead and some charge as much as 20% of the sale. So imagine you filling out an online form and now Home Advisors makes $500 because they sold your information to five different companies at $100 a pop!

The other angle that these companies use is that they tell you all of their companies are certified. In most cases they do a good job in certifying companies, but what they don’t tell you is; these companies pay $300-$1,500 or more per month to be listed on their website as a “Preferred Contractor”. So these sites are nothing more than expensive advertising boards. So, if you as the homeowners are not paying to get the information, the contractors are. And in most cases the homeowner and contractor are paying these companies (Angie’s List, etc.).
In closing, as the “Home Exterior Guru” I recommend that you start the old fashion way and ask family, friends, and neighbors who they recommend for different projects and ask for locations of completed jobs so that you can further decide on the company you choose to use. Also if you go to the web, deal directly with the individual companies and do your research on them yourself. From BBB reports and reviews to review sites in general, you should be able to build a solid list of companies to interview.

For questions contact Bill Kemp “The Home Exterior Guru” @ homextguru@icloud.com or (804)338-6909