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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently signed up to try it out, I got my first lead this sunday afternoon. Some lady looking to get a hose bibb installed. I called her up but she didn't answer her phone, so I left a message. I am guessing she wants me to call her on monday morning. I hope I can get a hold of her, the last thing I want is to pay for a lead on a customer that doesn't answer the phone! And if she didn't want me to call on a sunday, then why on earth would she request service on a sunday?:blink:
Oh well, I guess I'm just not used to this system yet.:001_unsure:
 

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residential service
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1,948 Posts
I'd get used to it if I were you. SM is notorious for this as well as feeding you leads that are not even within your outlined scope of work. I got so frustrated with people who were just wishing, jacking around to see what they might do about something some day. Sometime after I signed up with them SM started having this deal where when they called you (I had all leads forwarded to my cell phone) their computer generated message would ask you if you would like to be connected to the customer while you were on the line with them. Well with SM sending the same lead to who knows how many plumbing companies (yeah I know what they claim) I figured you better call them right away. Most of the time I'd say you couldn't reach anybody so you leave a message that never gets returned. I don't know, my experience was not good with them. Still there are people who will say "yeah, you have to put up with a lot of stuff from them and their not easy to deal with but over the long haul it is worth it." The thing is that most of the people on CT who said that were in fields that had much higher ticket averages than plumbers will generally have. A remodeling contractor can put up with a dozen bogus leads because when he lands one he's gonna do 10k to who knows what. My average ticket last year was a little over $600. I can't be wasting all that time trying to work through all the crap leads just to get to the ones where I have a fighting chance. If you go to CT you will find a couple of threads dealing with SM. You might want to check that out.

Having said all that, it seems I remember you saying you were just starting out (1 year or less) so it might be a relatively inexpensive way to generate some work if you can put up with them.

I had a lead one time where the guy wanted me to repair an aeration pump for his fish tank! Buy a new pump and drop it in for cryin' out loud! What do I know about aquarium maintenance? The only fish I want to know anything about are the ones that have got my rod bent over or are on my plate. So anyway, ultimately I didn't pay for the lead but only because I took valuable time to sit on the phone explaining everything to SM. It was just a great big hassle for me that never really yielded that much.
 

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Banned
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1,589 Posts
Whatever you do, DON'T use the "exact match" service they offer.
They take your company name and inundate the internet with it.
Thats a good thing, so they tell you, until you type a web search for your company and see their number next to your name.

If you turn your leads off, they WILL refer your business to anyone else that services your area...in other words, even your existing clients that try to find you on the internet will wind up being politely referred to your competition.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
Joined
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I called back the lady again this morning and left a message at 9 am. She called me back and booked an appointment which I just finished up. I also got the nextdoor neighbor's job, same exact thing, installing a hose-faucet, so that was cool, she also asked for extra cards to hand out to her other neighbors!:thumbup: So far I like this, it seems I'm the first plumber to respond, and as long as I can beat my competition with speed of response, (which I should since I have them send text messages directly to my cell phone! :thumbsup: ), then this service should work well for me.

I narrowed it down to surrounding zipcodes only and I think it was smart that I am only listed under emergency type job-categories, so that should weed out the tire-kickers a little. The SM sales rep said that was a big mistake that some companies do, they list way to many service categories and then they get mad when they get a huge volume of garbage leads. He said narrowing down to your specific niche categories was important. I am listed under only 4 categories: drain-cleaning, sump pump replacement, water heater repair/replace and faucet/fixture/pipe repair. All geared towards emergency service jobs.

Anyway, I'll post more as I go.
 

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LeMarr Plumbing, Inc.
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772 Posts
Very cool! Keep us posted.

In Christ,

Song Dog
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I decided to terminate my account. The leads are not nearly 'qualified' enough for my liking. I got people who were just 'looking' or 'curious' and having to pay for these leads and on top of it compete with other contractors is just ridiculous.
Example: customer is having some plumbing problem, goes online ot find free info, ends up at service magic, types in some stuff....bam, lead, I call them back, they say they are 'just looking' and then I pay $12 and even if the customer wants service I have to compete with two other plumbers...all for a measly service call. NOT THANKS!

If I did remodels or larger-scale work, it could be worth it. But for minor jobbing service, not.
 

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Banned
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1,589 Posts
Exactly.
Far too many times I'd been pitted against several other plumbers in a bidding war for a flapper...most often they're not a citizen of the country yet, unaccustomed to decent health standards or reasonable prices.

There seems to be an inundation of internet savy foreigners who've caught on to the idea of the cheap & convenient internet thing.

You may now find that your company name will appear on most search engines with their phone number for months to come...it's only a matter of time before someone sues them over this in relation to either Cybersquatting, or intellectual property rights.

In the short-term they can be effective, in the longrun...you've sold your soul.
 

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Plumber Manhattan Beach
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828 Posts
I have recieved alot of those calls that never pick up. then again, I have made really good money from Service Magic.

It's like the yellow pages, not every call you get is going to $$ in your pocket, and it is alot less expensive then yellow pages.

There is not one marketing task that will gross you a million dollars, not one that i have found yet, and I am testing many :thumbup::yes:
 

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www.DunbarPlumbing.com
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5,478 Posts
Is doing some really heavy advertising in my area now.



I'm thinking,


What better way to beat down the struggling contractor at this point and offer the promise of work, for the struggle of someone pipelining your calls for you, and dealing with it from a work supplied point of view.


There's one guy in my area that's doing this for SM, and he's not licensed to act as a plumber performing these services, I done checked. I didn't pursue it as it doesn't take bread off my plate, and sooner or later I'll end up doing work in the same home and the possibility for error can be easily noted.

I can see contractors hurting for work, bending the rules to start up with this and play the game. All it's going to take is a few reviews/recommendations from websites or personal opinion that home repair services can be obtained at a lesser cost through that system and it's going to be hell for the guy involved.

I'd love to see one of their representatives show up on this very thread and explain, without another sales pitch representation of why they can spread joy and happiness and the ex-contractors in those systems leave empty, spent.
 

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Trust me. I'm a doctor.
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934 Posts
I got sucked in to their scam a few years ago. It was very short lived.
 
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every tool is a hammer
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4,304 Posts
I used them, or should I say, they used me. They were like the gay sheepherder in Brokeback Mountain, saying, "I can't quit you." Everytime i called to cancel, they wouldn't cancel me, just quit sending me leads for a month, then back with the b.s. leads. I finally called and told them to stop. Some punk kid was trying to tell me how to run my business and blah, blah, blah. Getting a real attitude about it all. I finally had speak to his boss. I told them that if they don't let me quit, I was just going to cancel the credit card, their call. Grudgingly, the guy let me cancel. I was closing about 50%, but all the headaches and bogus leads they sent! I don't mind paying for good leads, but they were feeding me a lot of mushroom fertilizer. Then people were get to grade you and rip on you after the job is done. I was a 5 star contractor, but so what. The tall drinks and drama got to me. With apologies to the Eagles.
 

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Trust me. I'm a doctor.
Joined
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934 Posts
I was closing about 50%
50% was much better than I did. I have never had so many requests for changing a shower head in my life!

80% of the "leads" they sent me would not even generate an opportunity for a quote to the HO. Usually we would call and get answering machines with no return call from the HO. (They send the same lead to multiple contractors)

I offered to stay with them only if they would charge me for leads where I had contact with the HO. I explained that if they would not even return my call they were NOT a legitimate lead and I would be a fool to continue paying for this "service." They see things much differently than I do. They wouldn't drop me from their list but put me on a "vacation hold" instead. That was fine with me as long as it didn't cost me a dime. They called me every month for about six months asking if I was ready to have the vacation hold taken off. I just laughed and hung up the phone. They finally quit calling.



I used them, or should I say, they used me. They were like the gay sheepherder in Brokeback Mountain, saying, "I can't quit you."
That was a coffee on the monitor moment. :laughing:




BTW, Thanks for the link you forwarded me in the PM.
 

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Drain Cleaning Specialist
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2,076 Posts
I turned them down.
 

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waterheaterzone.com
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2,043 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I tried them for a short time. Then I dumped them, when I realize how poor most of the "leads" are. Like Pipedoc said, they charge for a "lead" even if I can't get in touch with the customer! That isn't fair imo. If I cannot even speak with a customer because they don't answer the phone, how is that a "lead" I should pay for? Mostly priceshoppers and bogus callers use that service anyway. Every day customers contact my company directly, so why do I need a lead generator?;)
 

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Drain Cleaning Specialist
Joined
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2,076 Posts
I tried them for a short time. Then I dumped them, when I realize how poor most of the "leads" are. Like Pipedoc said, they charge for a "lead" even if I can't get in touch with the customer! That isn't fair imo. If I cannot even speak with a customer because they don't answer the phone, how is that a "lead" I should pay for? Mostly priceshoppers and bogus callers use that service anyway. Every day customers contact my company directly, so why do I need a lead generator?;)
Plumbing companies did fine without them.
I would rather do my own fishing :thumbsup: Phone book ads, news paper, web site etc.

Pay for a lead that goes no where :laughing: They can stick it where the sun don't shine.
 
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