Posted by EJ Brown
July 26, 2019
Running your own small business isn’t easy – especially because finding new clients can feel like a job of its own.
Whether you’re seeking out new long-term customers or are trying to replace a last-minute cancellation, you need to know where to look for leads. And even then, turning leads into customers often requires a great deal of time, money, and patience.
Fortunately, there are plenty of websites and platforms built specifically to help you find leads as quickly and easily as possible.
One such platform is Thumbtack, an online marketplace that connects local businesses with customers looking for their services.
Potential customers describe the type of service they need and set parameters for how far the company can be from their home. This ensures they connect with the most relevant local businesses.
Thumbtack then emails information about the lead to service providers who offer that service within the selected area. When you receive an email like this, you have access to the details you need to decide whether you or not want to apply for the job. Service providers pay a fee (which varies by industry and goes up to $15) to send the potential customer response with their contact information.
Basically, Thumbtack just makes it easy for anyone to find the best local talent for a given job – which, in turn, makes it easier to for you to find and connect with hot leads.
We’ll talk about some of your other options in a moment, but since Thumbtack is one of the most popular platforms, here are a few tips for making it work for your business:
Get noticed by replying to clients ASAP:
When it comes to standing out on apps and websites like Thumbtack, timing is everything. If you take too long to respond, it won’t matter if you’re the best person for the job – because someone else will have beat you to the punch. So, make sure you receive emails from Thumbtack on your phone and reply to promising leads as quickly as possible.
Save time pre-written messages:
When you’re already multitasking all day long, responding to every incoming Thumbtack request can seem like an extra burden. Fortunately, you can write and save prepared replies, so you have always a response ready to go. Craft a friendly, professional message that you can send out when you get a notification from a potential customer.
Track your success:
Keep track of how many leads you earn through Thumbtack and the amount of revenue they’ve provided to your business. This allows you to ensure that your investment is worth it. If you’re not seeing a healthy return from the time and fees you’re spending on the site, you may need to revamp your profile and rethink your strategy for messaging potential customers.
Though it’s one of the most popular platforms in the gig-economy, Thumbtack isn’t the only place you can look for leads online. There are quite a few other options you can try – and why wouldn’t you? Searching for leads in multiple places will increase your potential for scoring new customers. So, let’s take a look at some of the best apps like Thumbtack.
Gentask is an on-demand service marketplace that works very similarly to Thumbtack. Customers log into the mobile app or website and explain what type of service they’re looking for. Then professionals can submit quotes and the customer chooses which professional they’d like to hire.
As an FSB owner, you can register and specify the types of services you provide. Then, when a customer posts that they’re looking for a business like yours, you have an opportunity to respond to their request and potentially get hired.
Shiftgig is a mobile marketplace that allows you to connect with individuals and businesses looking to hire specialists for all sorts of odd jobs. Once you’re registered as a Shiftgig Specialist, you can use the mobile app to apply for short-term jobs that make use of your skillset.
Since you get to choose where, when, and how often you work, it’s perfect if you or your team has extra availability for a limited time and needs to pick up a few quick jobs – without the hassle of seeking out leads on your own.
This is another site designed to help professionals like you find and connect with local customers. It’s a great option for service providers across a large range of industries, including everything from home improvement specialists to pet care to life coaches.
Once you’re verified as a trusted professional, Bloomchase matches your skillset to a customer’s specific needs. Potential customers can search Bloomchase for the type of service they need, view your profile, read reviews, and ask for a quote before booking you.
BidWilly is a task management website focused on homecare services like maintenance, repairs, cleaning, and lawn care. Its purpose is to make it easy for homeowners to easily find high-quality professionals who fit their budget.
So, whether you’re an independent contractor or small business owner, you can create a profile to tell homeowners about the services you provide. Since customer ratings influence your success on BidWilly, make sure you ask satisfied customers to leave a favorable review once a job is complete.
This site makes it simple for businesses and people to find help for just about anything they need to get done – from landscaping and home maintenance to furniture assembly and other odd jobs.
While some of the listings are for casual, short-term requests, you can also find opportunities with the potential to become long-term customers. Simply browse through customer requests to see if anything matches your skillset.
Though it’s not tailored specifically to FSBs, potential customers use this task management app to hire skilled Taskers for a variety of jobs. Popular task categories include handyman, cleaning, and moving.
When you join TaskRabbit, you’ll be notified of nearby jobs that match your service offerings. You can choose which ones you’d like to accept, confirm details with the customer directly, and submit an invoice through the app.
Like many of the resources listed here, you can use Wonolo to search for hourly or daily jobs that fit into your schedule. However, the thing that makes Wonolo stand out is the fact that it caters to businesses and brands, rather than individual homeowners.
Businesses use the site to hire talent on-demand for a number of different industries, which makes it an awesome resource if you’re looking to work with bigger companies.
Staffy is an app that can help you find new clients and jobs that fit into your existing work schedule. It connects with hospitality businesses that need skilled contractors for a range of different jobs, both long-term and short-term.
Since Staffy promises to provide on-demand staff within 90 minutes, it’s a good option whenever you’re looking for work on short notice – or simply looking to connect with customers who are looking for your exact skill set and availability.
Still looking for more opportunities to promote your home services business? We compiled a list of the top local business directories, review sites, lead generation services, and digital marketing and advertising tools that will help you to 10x your business.
Selling services on Amazon gives home service professionals such as HVAC technicians, carpet cleaners, plumbers and electricians the ability to sell their professional services to Amazon customers in their area.
There’s no need to search for leads. Amazon does the work for you. Customers can purchase services while shopping on Amazon. The platform will also send you leads and once the job is finished, Amazon will pay you for your work. Lastly, positive customer reviews will allow pros to build and grow their brands’ reputations within the Amazon Community.
Known for being one original service provider directories and lead generators for contractors and small business professionals, Angie’s List is a premier player in the home services industry.
Angie’s List sends leads, allows professionals to target desired work, and promote their businesses with ease. While much of the work is review-based, as the site says, “There’s two sides to every story.” Members can only leave a review once every 6 months for a particular vendor. Home service professionals can respond to member reviews instantly. In fact...it’s encouraged.
Looking for more alternatives? Check out our Angie's List competitors list for more options.
Craigslist’s job boards have been a go-to for most service professionals, contractors, and small business owners at some point and time their careers. The classified ads offer an array of industries to post services, resumes, and seek out work opportunities. Perhaps one of the simplest platforms to use, the free service does come with its fair share of pros and cons. What you see is what you get, but still always a good reference point to keep in your back pocket.
Social media isn’t just a place to post your newest selfies. It’s also how potential customers look for products services and read reviews. Facebook Ads are one of the fastest-growing and most effective ways for business owners to generate leads, communicate with, and remarket to customers.
The geolocation feature allows you to promote your business to people within a specific zip code, or distance range. Facebook Ads allows for in-depth filtering to only show ads to potential leads that will be interested in your business. Don’t let the technical jargon scare you. Facebook Ads is user-friendly and with a small investment, it’s certainly one of the most cost-effective ways to market to gain visibility for your business.
Google has its hands in everything, including the home services industry. Its local services platform gets your business informant searchers with ease.
Google Local Services is very intuitive, doing the bulk of the work by placing your ads only in front of interested people. Never waste your time or money marketing to the wrong people. You only pay when your services are requested by a customer. Also, you can pause your ad when you’re booked up, or want to transition to another campaign. With Google’s constant updates, new features and options are sure to be available and to reach the people that matter the most.
Who doesn’t love a good Groupon? The app that’s known as the “Let’s Make a Deal” of business directories. Gain leads with the click of a button. Manage your revenue, page traffic and sales with easy to use analytics tools. Create full price and special offers that turn new leads into returning customers. And wait...there's more! Groupon even offers tips and tricks blog that will help you enhance marketing efforts, to grow your business.
HomeAdvisor is a home trade service Disneyland. The platform is ideal for everything from gardening and lawn care services, to flooring installers, roofers, and every trade in between.
The platform matches your home service skills with an ideal customer need. Based on their selection, your business contact information is forwarded. You can conduct a pre-screen conversation before committing to taking the job. To add, HomeAdvisor regularly updates its guides on local and national cost projections for industry services. This ensures that you’re charging an accurate rate and getting paid a fair amount. It’s a “win-win” for everyone.
Reviews are important to growing your business. Yelp is one of the main review sites that customers visit before making a purchase, especially when it comes to moderate to large ticket commitments such as home services. Grow your Yelp reviews, grow your business.
One of the benefits of the platform is that it allows business owners to communicate directly with the community. Respond to reviews, send quotes, set appointments, and track your progress in real-time. Yelp is constantly evolving and designed with both business owners and customers in mind.
Taking the stress out of home remodeling, this platform is geared towards promoting high-quality service professionals. Contractors are pre-screened by the potential client and then bid for the job. This lead generator will assist home service pros in finding quality jobs, with less strain than other business and job directories.
Promotion is everything. The more that people see your business, the better. This local directory houses thousands of small businesses in your area for people to choose from. Home and gardening, construction, remodeling and much more.
While Citysearch doesn’t help with lead generation or vetting customers, it serves as an ideal local business directory. The more credible places that your business is listed, the more that your website’s SEO search rankings will improve.
A lesser-known website, Adopt-a-Contractor is a lead generation website that connects top-rated home service professionals with quality customers. There are no memberships or contracts involved. Adopt a Contractor claims that it only sends “fresh” and qualified leads. No more dead ends.
Only limited to 7 cities in the U.S., Consumers Checkbook promotes its motto of “Unbiased reviews”. The independent non-profit consumer organization is focused fully on promoting businesses with good ratings. It covers professional industries including home services, real estate, automotive, financial services and much more. Ultimately it has the consumer in mind by performing undercover shopping, to identify needs for local services. Rankings are based on reviews, pricing, and consumer report research. Think Yelp meets Angie’s List.
Contractors.com is a customer acquisition tool that helps businesses find leads. The platform captures and qualifies local consumers by searching Google, Bing, Facebook and other areas of the web for products and services. You set the daily amount that you want to spend on leads and Contractors.com does the rest. The online interface is available for both desktop and mobile.
A contractor lead generation app for the home services industry, CraftJack finds and verifies warm local leads that are sent to you on the app by an account manager. Home service pros can call, email and text potential clients, to send estimates and book jobs. The company even offers incentives for timely responses to customer inquiries. Now that’s good customer service.
eLocal helps you find anything, anywhere. The 10-year-old performance-based online advertising company connects consumers with local businesses. Pros can sign up for free or paid directory listings. Fill out the online application and select from a grocery list of professional trade service and business categories. The pay per call service will send interested clients to your work phone.
A headhunter service for the trades industry, Field Nation uses its platform to connect customers' needs with service professionals that are best suited for the job.
The online dashboard’s algorithm filters pros. Once a job has been negotiated and accepted, pros can keep clients updated in real-time, via Field Nation’s mobile app. Once the work is complete and the customer approves of the job, the company pays out for the completed project.
While an intelligent and clever tool, as a business owner, one should be in control of their own business. That app plays “middle man” between the pro and the customer, rather than just aligning them.
When attempting to gain visibility on the web, registering your business on Foursquare is a must. The local search and discovery mobile app providers personalized recommendations for users.
Geared towards both small and large business owners, one can claim their business on the digital directory to find customers. Foursquare boasts that most brick and mortar businesses are on their platform. It’s not the only answer to promote your business, but it’s a good start.
Homeflock takes a deep dive in marketing residential home repair and commercial building contractors. The directory is geared towards plumbers, electricians, remodeling professionals, and general contractors. Pulling business and review information from multiple sources, including state and federal licensing agencies, customers receive a list of trade professionals that have recently completed work in their neighborhood. It enables them to see previously completed projects and connect with past clients.
Houzz is a website builder, publishing tool and app for home improvement professionals that connects them with the customers that they truly want. Connecting your business website to the Houzz directory enables searchers to see previously completed projects, prices, reviews, and connect by email or social media.
A smaller, regionally-based home services app, HUX is an all-in-one app for cleaning, lawn care, handyman and delivery professionals in the Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta, GA metropolitan areas. Pros can market their services in an online directory to residential homes, apartments, and AirBnbs. Think “Molly Maids” on a digital app.
Insider Pages is an online directory for businesses to connect with people in their area. Spanning multiple industries, customers can leave reviews and recommendations.
Lead Genesis is all about movement. A heavy player in the solar power space, the company is focused on generating white label leads sourced from internal media and private affiliate networks. Lead Genesis is quickly becoming a need-to-know name within its specialization.
There are online directories. And there are whatever directories. However, Local.com falls in line with the initial, rather than the latter. The local business directory allows small business owners and service pros to stand out and gain visibility around their cities.
One area to note about Local.com is that it's powered by Yext. Yext is the parent to many of the online directories that small businesses market their services. This is why it is important to make sure that your business N.A.P. (name, address, and phone number) is the same across the board. If it’s different in multiple places, Google tends to penalize websites that don’t follow this rule. This can hurt your search engine rankings, meaning that fewer people know about your business, and that’s less money in your pocket.
Yahoo Local is Pepsi to Google’s Local Services Coca-Cola. Still trying to get one up on big brother. The app and directory allow small business owners to manage their listings across 70+ directories.
If your plumbing business moves office locations, you don’t have to update every directory that your services are listed. Yahoo created a feature in the dashboard that enables business users to update their information across search engines, social media channels, local networks, and maps. They’ve even included a competitive insights feature that tracks visitor traffic, a la Google Analytics that allows you to see everything from profiles views to calls.
Just starting out your business and need to find your first few jobs? Troolr is a search engine for service pros and trade professionals. Similar to Fiverr, customers can post work orders, including the size of the project and due date. Contractors can communicate with potential clients without a middleman.
So how does Troolr make money if it doesn’t charge membership or leads clicks? Service users gain more visibility by paying for premium options such as promoted listings and advertisements. So if it’s the HVAC down season, you can always pick up a few side jobs working another trade.
The Home Fixers is a lead generation resource for home improvement. The subscription service lists licensed service pros in a contractor directory, handling their marketing and advertising. This frees up time to focus on what matters the most—connecting with clients, completing jobs, and getting results!
When you first start a home services business or marketing on the web, the Yellow Pages should always be one of your first stops. Yes, it is the same big book that is dropped off on your doorstep several times a year...only now it’s an app. Notwithstanding, any and all business should make it a point to list here.
Positioning itself as an online home services concierge. Based on a subscription service, Super manages the logistics and coordinates high-quality maintenance and repair jobs. Pros can choose from an assortment of available jobs in their area with the mobile app. Once accepted, clients will be able to see your distance in proximity to their location (arrival time).
What makes Super stand out is that are no online profiles, lead bids, or advertising required to find jobs. Super covers breakdown charges for service pros. Now that’s a new concept altogether!
What sets Smith apart from other lead generation sites and applications is that it shows service pros the average rate of a job in the area. For example: If a job fixing sprinkler heads pays $300, then the pro can see the average rate range for similar jobs in that neighborhood or city. This ensures that you’re getting paid the premium rate.
Housecall Pro is rated the #1 software to run your HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Carpet Cleaning and other home service businesses. Our features allow you to schedule and dispatch jobs, get booked online, send invoice and receive payment within minutes whether if you are in the office or out in the field. This comprehensive software can help you grow revenue by 30% in one year and save up to 500 hours a year. Join all the other successful home service businesses who have already started and try Housecall Pro for 14 days free today.