Why I’m Pissed Off at Home Improvement Contractors

Home Improvement Leads

It’s winter again and I’m starting to see contractors freak out about not getting enough home improvement leads for their businesses.

I see this every year. Sadly, I see some of the same contractors posting the same crap they did a year ago on Facebook about how they need more business.

“My phone just stopped ringing. What are you guys doing to get more leads?”

“I don’t know what to do. I don’t have any work coming in and not sure how we’re going to make it.”

I’m a little pissed when I see posts like these because I told them so last year, last month and last week. I told them so 2 years ago and the year before that.

Each year contractors are surprised when the results are the same or worse than the year before. 

Before you get all offended that I’d be pissed at a bunch of contractors for making the same stupid mistake every year, remember this: I’m one of them. As a contractor, I made just about every mistake you could make. It’s from those experiences that I speak today. I’m not saying “I told you so” to rub your noses in it. I’m just calling it for what it is.

Let’s move on to the meat of this article. The rest of this post is for the purpose of equipping the average home improvement contractor with what he needs to make sure this is the last year he has inconsistent lead flow.

Wait..one more rant.

Dear Contractor,

Get your head out of your ass. This is important stuff that will reduce your stress and bring in enough money to care for your loved ones. If you are content with being mediocre, then keep doing what you’ve been doing.

If you’re ready to build a home improvement business that will serve you and make your life better, then keep reading.



Marketing Tip 1: Marketing is Your Job

You’ve heard, “Work on your business and not in it.” The biggest factor to your business being successful is how well you market it.

You may paint a beautiful house, lay carpet like a champ or build a gorgeous water feature, but nobody will give a crap if they don’t know you exist.

You need a marketing system that will produce qualified leads each day for your home improvement business. This will not happen on accident.

Your number 1 role in your company is to produce leads and sell work. Period. Without this, you have nothing.

Too many of you have been in business for 5, 10, 20 years and you’re still playing this “I don’t have enough leads” game.

If you can’t get this through your head quit your business and get a job.

Marketing Tip 1b: There’s No Magic Lead Tree

Stop counting on 3rd party lead sources like Angie’s List, Houzz, Home Advisor and the like.

Anyone that tells you that they are the Holy Grail of lead generation is full of shit.

Your will get more leads when you commit to building your brand and working a marketing plan that is designed to attract your ideal clients.

Too many of you freak out when the phone stops ringing and then pay for a bunch of lame lead generation tactics. Don’t spend a dime on any 3rd party savior until you create your marketing plan first.

Marketing Tip 2: Get Involved in Your Community

When someone hires a contractor they are inviting them into their home. In my home, my people are precious to me. You are not getting in here if I don’t trust you.

By getting involved in the community you are giving people in your target area the opportunity to get to know you. When they know you and like you, they will eventually trust you unless you’re a moron.

Trust leads to leads. Leads lead to sales.

Join your local chamber of commerce. Join a BNI group. Volunteer in a Rotary Club. Do an annual charity project.

Stop relying on the internet alone like it’s some kind of ‘easy’ button.

Join a group and commit to it. Show up…clean, on time and in the frame of mind that this is working on your business.

Andy Northey of R & A Water Features & Landscaping did over $500k from one group he belongs to. My old painting company did over $500k per year because we were involved in groups like that.

Marketing Tip 3: Nuke Your Website

I have talked so much about this in the past. Most contractor have lousy websites. Your site should be all about the client and less about how awesome you think you are.

Speak to their pain. Make it easy for them to do business with you. Talk about pricing. Educate them and position yourself as the expert in your industry.

Pro Tip: Don’t build your own site. You don’t know what you’re doing. You expect your clients to pay you top dollar for building stuff, right? Then, why do you go on the cheap with your website? Hire a pro and get out of their way.

Marketing Tip 4: Produce Content

“Don’t drive traffic to the ghetto.”

My good friend and marketer, Jason Thalman said that to me years ago. Far too many contractors spend money on driving traffic to a shitty website and then wonder why no leads come through the site.

Create content that is relevant and valuable to your ideal clients. This, along with simple and clear design will do more than paid traffic, backlinking strategies and any other flavor of the month your marketing guru sells you.

Without good content that meets needs, people will leave the site. Content will establish you as the expert. People trust and hire experts.

Grab your iphone and shoot a video. Answer questions that people ask you…do project profiles.

Google will organically reward you.

Marketing Tip 5: Love Those Who Already Love You

I am amazed at how many home improvement contractors don’t keep in touch with their past clients. Moment of Truth: I didn’t either in my first 3 years of business. It cost me at least 2 million in revenue.

Your past clients already wrote you a check. That means they are very likely to do it again. If you don’t stay in touch via an email marketing strategy, snail mail post cards or phone calls…you are practically shoving them to your competitors.

Stop bitching about how clients leave you. Keep them warm with the content you create. Call them to let them know their warranty is up in 6 months and to have you out to fix anything.

Make the experience they have with you so awesome they’d cut a finger off before they left you.

PS-I believe at least 80% of your leads should be from past clients and those they refer you to.

Marketing Tip 6: Learn to Up-Sell

Invest in sales training for your team. They will plant seeds that will be ready for harvest later (that means you’ll have a lead later).

Contractors lose leads and sales because they don’t have a system for selling additional work. Our Contractor Sales Academy will change this quickly.

Marketing Tip 7: Be Referral Worthy

Nobody will give a crap how awesome their project looks if the experience sucked.

I’ve polled many, many home improvement customers over the years and without fail, they have never once complained about the work you did. They only complained about things like:

  • too long for you to call back & get out to their home
  • too many days after you came to the house to get them a bid
  • you won’t return calls when there’s a problem
  • you suck at cleaning up

It’s about the experience. If there were a Magic Lead Tree for you this would be it.

Marketing Tip 8: Pick a Lane and Stay There

Do you have a fancy name and expensive looking brand identity and then go and offer a bunch of discounts?

Do you see what you’re doing?

You’re confusing the buyer. Are you high end or cheap?

Position your business to connect with your ideal client. If you’re a budget deck builder, then run that sale in the Money Mailer!

If you’re the high end remodeler in the town, steer clear from stuff like that.

How you position your business will affect your lead flow.

Marketing Tip 9: Build Your Team of Influencers

I did over $350k each year from what I call ‘influencers.’ These are the contractors that stand in front of my ideal clients each day.

Joe was a carpet guy who stood in front of hundreds of people each year schlepping his services. These clients of his would frequently ask if he knew a painter. This turned into work for me.

I also stood in front of people that needed Joe’s carpet services every day.

I conservatively estimate that you can generate another 50 high quality leads each year if you build your influencer network.

How do you do that, you ask? Reach out to companies that you think would have a good fit with yours and set up a time to grab a beer or coffee. Give to them. They’ll give to you. This is a goldmine that honestly too many contractors are too lazy to tap into.

Marketing Tip 10: Track Your Leads

If you don’t track where your leads and sales come from you are pissing into the wind. Tracking allows you to make better decision about where to spend your time and money in regards to marketing your business.

Identify the lead sources that add the most value to your business and optimize those. The things that don’t get you results need to be dumped.

What kind of marketing plan do you have? Give your attention to creating a real marketing plan and you’ll enjoy more leads and sales in the months and years to come.

Need help creating a real marketing plan? Fill this out and let’s talk.

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