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2020 Home Service State of Lead Generation Report

2020 Home Service State of Lead Generation Report

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Posted by EJ Brown

January 6, 2020

For home service businesses relying on lead generation sites to find new customers and increase their revenue, it can be difficult to know which sites to invest in, how much to invest, and how to most effectively use these sites to increase your return on investment (ROI).

To help answer these questions, we conducted an in-depth survey with over 140 home service professionals to find out about their experiences with lead generation platforms and what the results have been. The survey included questions about Angie’s List, Facebook, Google, Home Advisor, NextDoor, Thumbtack and Yelp.

*In addition to the platforms compared in this report, we also asked respondents about Amazon Home Services, Porch, and Nextdoor; however, we did not receive enough responses to include them. We also asked pros which specific Facebook and Google services they were using, but did not receive enough responses to offer insights.

lead gen survey breakdown

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Key takeaways

1. From the survey, these are the lead gen platforms with the highest average monthly revenue and return on investment for our pros.

lead gen key takeaway

Other important considerations include the average number of jobs and job size. For instance, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical companies using Thumbtack reported an average of only four jobs a month from the platform, which explains why even though it has by far the best ROI, it doesn’t result in a large monthly revenue (average of $5,865 per month).

Across sectors, fewer pros surveyed are currently advertising on Google than HomeAdvisor (16-19% compared to 25-30%); however the pros that are investing in Google tend to spend significantly more, resulting in more jobs and a higher revenue. We offer a more complete comparison of these platforms per industry below.

2. Not everyone is winning. Almost 7% of respondents reported losing money each month on a lead gen site. Cleaning companies — including residential, commercial, and window — were the most likely industries to see a negative return on investment.

3. Pros have a love/hate relationship with these sites: they don’t always recommend platforms they make money from. As one pro commented about Yelp, “Even though I do not like them as a company, they make us money.”

4. Pros are the most likely to recommend Google to other pros. On a scale of 1 to 10 rating how likely they were to recommend a given platform, Google scored the highest with 8.27 while Angie’s List scored the lowest at 3.17.

5. 100% of pros reported finding jobs on at least one of these platforms without paying to advertise. Over 70% of respondents reported earning jobs off of Facebook and Google organically.

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Plumbing, HVAC, and electrical industry data by sector

We broke down our findings into three segments: HVAC, plumbing and electrical; cleaning industries; and all other industries.






The following showcases the various platforms’ average cost per lead, average number of jobs per month, and average monthly revenue, ranked from best to worst.


Cleaning industry data by sector

Including residential and commercial cleaning companies, and window washing.






The following showcases the various platforms’ average cost per lead, average number of jobs per month, and average monthly revenue, ranked from best to worst.

cleaning average cost per lead

Other industry data by sector

Including auto-detailing, lawn care, handyman, garage door, and piano tuning.






The following showcases the various platforms’ average cost per lead, average number of jobs per month, and average monthly revenue, ranked from best to worst.

industry average cost per lead

Points of interest

  • On average, pros are actively using 2.7 sites for free while paying to advertise on 1.2 sites.

  • Over 70% of pros found jobs for free using Facebook or Google.

industry points of interest
  • Pros believe that most sites are going downhill — except Google. Google was the only site that more users believed had increased the quality of its lead generation services since they began using it.

  • 37 – 52% of pros adjust their budget based on the season. Cleaning industries polled included window washing companies, which frequently operate seasonally, and may have strongly impacted these results.

lead gen budget adjustment

HomeAdvisor success story

98 Restoration

Industry: Carpet, floor cleaning, and restoration

Team Size: 6 (including one full-time office employee)

Owner: Curtis Buckelew

98 Restoration leadgen

“I return calls immediately, which shocks a lot of my customers, because I’m calling them at night and on the weekends. My team sends a follow-up email if we don’t get an answer. We do a lot of return phone calls.

I get about 80% of the jobs if I’m the first person to contact them. We call them twice in one day and then follow up with an email, and then we do the follow-up call on the second day.

I’m a little over 4.8 stars and have 55 or 60 five-star reviews out of my 68, and some of them are four stars. You’re not going to get a perfect score from every single person but strive to do a good job and ask for that review, because that has really set me apart. I know when I talk to customers on the phone, they are looking at my site when they’re talking to me. So seeing the reviews, they’re looking it over and making sure that I’m a quality person.“

Yelp and Google success story

Advanced Wildlife Removal

Industry: Wildlife, animal & pest control services

Team Size: 7

Owner: Frankie Ortiz

Advanced Wildlife Removal lead gen

“We have a really, really good reputation on Yelp. We have 97 five-star reviews on our Orange County page, and we have a really strong presence compared to the majority of the companies, so it benefits us a lot. I’m sure without advertising, we would still get about 40% of the calls from Yelp.

I hate Yelp as a company, they’re the worst to deal with [...] They blame everything on their algorithm, and they’re just not helpful, but then they’ll call you every couple of weeks to try to get you to up your advertising. If they had better customer service, they’d be a great company. As far as the amount of work they drive us, it’s great. But then as a company, it’s horrible, and it’s much better working with Google. I’ve never had an instance where I’ve had to even call them or talk to anyone from Google.”

Frankie’s advice about using Yelp: Don’t spend money until you have enough reviews. If you get around twenty five-star reviews, your advertising would be completely worth it after that point. That’s what would make it worth it to start spending money with them.

Frankie’s advice about using Google AdWords: Don’t do it by yourself. “I don’t manage my ads,” Frankie notes. They have an expert manage their ads and that’s made all the difference for his company. According to him, “It’s saved us money and generated more of a return on our spend on it.”

Nextdoor success story

Tactical Outdoors

Industry: Lawn Care and Wildlife Management

Team Size: 7

Owner: Cory Keifer

tactical outdoors

“About 98% of my business so far has come out of the Nextdoor app. It’s truly neighbor generated requests. I’ve never had to pay for anything because the word-of-mouth advertising from that alone has kept me more than busy this season.

There are different categories in Nextdoor and you can select which categories to monitor. I monitor anything that’s relevant to hardscaping, mowing or trimming, and that’ll pop up on a feed. The big difference that has got us the business with Nextdoor is the majority of the replies to a client’s request are, ‘Hey, give us a call at so-and-so.’ Everybody’s telling the client to come after them and that’s not going to work.

You’ve got to send them a private message right away: ‘Hey Mary, I saw your request for tree trimming. I would like to be able to come out and assess your property. We do free estimates. What would be a good time to do that? If you don’t feel like you need to be available, please provide the address and we’d be more than happy to come out and provide that service.’

Most of these people that are working say they can be available after 6:30. Well, we want to be home with our family, too. So what my wife and I found that has worked phenomenally is: ‘Hey, are you tech savvy? Do you have an iPhone? Greak. Let me call you on FaceTime, and I’ll virtually walk your property with you if you can carve out a few minutes.’ That has worked extremely well.“

Note: Less than one percent of the companies we surveyed paid money to Nextdoor over the past 12 months. Because of this, we did not have enough data to include the site in our platform comparison. However, 36% of respondents claimed to have gotten jobs on the site using their free listing.


We hope our findings gave you a better understanding of how other pros in your industry are using lead generation sites. Knowing the average cost per lead and number of jobs per month you can expect on different platforms will come in handy when you’re deciding where and how to spend your marketing dollars.

We expect these results to continue changing. For example, this year, there weren’t enough respondents using Amazon Home Services to include it in the results, and only 22% of respondents were using Google’s paid services like AdWords and Google Local Services. We expect the number of companies utilizing these platforms to grow. This will continue to impact the practices and results of standard lead generation sites such as HomeAdvisor and Yelp. The ever-changing digital landscape requires home service businesses to be flexible, experimental, and attentive.

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