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  1. #1

    Your Past Experiences With Lead Providers...

    Hey guys,

    My name is Jack, and I work with a lead provider.

    Yes, yes, I know, everyone hates the lead industry, especially since it's dominated by XXXX, who's got some of the worst service out there.

    My company (for now, we'd like to remain unnamed) is focused on quality leads, and we've done well in other services, but now we're thinking about getting into providing HVAC leads. From personal experience, though, I know that each field has its own quirks, so I wanted to get some direct feedback from you guys.

    If you've used lead providers before, but quit, why? Lead quality sucked, leads were too expensive, lead credits were never granted, etc.?

    If you still use lead providers, what would you like us to do differently? What could we do to get you to try us out in the future? Free leads? Money back guaranteed trials where you actually get your money back?

    If you've never used a lead provider before, why not? Bad word of mouth? Have enough business already?

    I know a lot of you have had bad experiences with leads, especially with XXX, but we're honestly trying to create a product that would be beneficial for you, the consumer, and us. we'll never engage in all the shady business practices they have (buying bad leads, denying lead credits for obviously bad leads, creating fake listings under your company name to take advantage of your reputation, etc.). If you could give some honest feedback, I'll do my best to make sure that everyone benefits.

    Best regards,
    Jack
    Last edited by Dad; 06-15-2011 at 10:48 PM. Reason: No company names

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    352
    Lead generation services usually are a rip.

    Small companies that are trying to grow may use them to expand their customer base, but other than that I would not reccomend to an established company to get involved with them.

    Heres why:

    1. The customers are almost always bottom feeders. They are cheap to the Enth degree, much like customers on Craigslist. Most GOOD HVAC companies build their business model on quality as the basis for value, not cost. These customers are looking for cost as the basis for value. Bidding for jobs with customers who are only interested in engaging in a bidding war with multiple contractors so they can start haggling with them for the most rock bottom prices encourages corner-cutting and lower quality jobs. A good HVAC company doesn't just charge more for the heck of it, they offer superior installation quality, which anyone in the industry will tell you is the deciding factor in system life. The customers who use lead generation services don't know about the differences between a top quality install and a crappy one as it is all in the details and cannot be seen (usually) by looking at the condensing unit or the furnace. Usually you are bidding against contractors who may or may not trickle nitrogen as they braze, may or may not use a micron gauge to measure their vacuum (assuming they bother to pull one), may or may not flush the line set properly just a few examples of corner cutting to reduce costs. Most quality contractors will pay for lead after lead after lead and not win jobs because Bubba who works off the back of his S-10 can do it for $750.00 cheaper...

    2. All the other reasons you mentioned about fake leads, no bad lead refunds, ect...

    All in all, lead generation services can be a help for small companies who are getting started, especially if they have lower overhead and can use that to lower their cost to customers without sacrificing quality, but for established companies, with higher overhead the numbers simply don't add up...

    Does anyone else here agree or disagree with my assesment?

    Adam

  3. #3
    Is this based on first hand experience? Or hearing stories from other people who've used lead providers?

    Also, what do you think would be the best way to filter out the "Bubba" that works on the cheap and does crappy work? We do filter the kinds of contractors and service providers we bring on, and if we find that certain businesses are low-balling, we actually stop selling leads to them. The customer experience is very important to us, and while customers might think that saving a quick buck would be nice, we also believe that there is a reason quality service costs more, and in the long run is always worth it.

    At the very minimum, we would require the appropriate licenses, dependent on the state/region the contractors are working in. We usually also require them to have insurance, as well, and in our experience, that tends to weed out most of the shadier contractors that can't stand by their work.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    352
    Based on both first hand experience and feedback from others. As for filtering out the Bubbas, not sure you can. They dont exist in a vacuum detached from the laws of a free market economy. They exist there because there is a market for them there. It is the customers that draw them there. Remember, most of these customers view value as a cost proposition, not a quality proposition. So long as that is true you will have people who will come in and fill that gap. As much as I dont like the Bubba's and what they do, God bless em, they are only responding to market forces. In a way, its kinda good, as it gives the really difficult haggling customers a place to go so they leave the quality driven contractors more time to pursue customers who understand the benefit of a quality installation.

    Adam

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    12,000
    Jack

    I can't allow you to bash another company on this site especially when you are a new member and it is posted in the OPEN areas of the site.

    I also can't allow you to name your own company. You must be a Professional Member or a sponsor of the site.

    Please refrain from naming names. If their lawyer contacts us do I give them your info?

    thx

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    2,881
    Quote Originally Posted by HVACTechNC View Post
    Lead generation services usually are a rip.

    Small companies that are trying to grow may use them to expand their customer base, but other than that I would not reccomend to an established company to get involved with them.

    Heres why:

    1. The customers are almost always bottom feeders. They are cheap to the Enth degree, much like customers on Craigslist. Most GOOD HVAC companies build their business model on quality as the basis for value, not cost. These customers are looking for cost as the basis for value. Bidding for jobs with customers who are only interested in engaging in a bidding war with multiple contractors so they can start haggling with them for the most rock bottom prices encourages corner-cutting and lower quality jobs. A good HVAC company doesn't just charge more for the heck of it, they offer superior installation quality, which anyone in the industry will tell you is the deciding factor in system life. The customers who use lead generation services don't know about the differences between a top quality install and a crappy one as it is all in the details and cannot be seen (usually) by looking at the condensing unit or the furnace. Usually you are bidding against contractors who may or may not trickle nitrogen as they braze, may or may not use a micron gauge to measure their vacuum (assuming they bother to pull one), may or may not flush the line set properly just a few examples of corner cutting to reduce costs. Most quality contractors will pay for lead after lead after lead and not win jobs because Bubba who works off the back of his S-10 can do it for $750.00 cheaper...

    2. All the other reasons you mentioned about fake leads, no bad lead refunds, ect...

    All in all, lead generation services can be a help for small companies who are getting started, especially if they have lower overhead and can use that to lower their cost to customers without sacrificing quality, but for established companies, with higher overhead the numbers simply don't add up...

    Does anyone else here agree or disagree with my assesment?

    Adam
    I agree with your assessment other than small companies should not waste their money on a product that was sold to 3 or 4 other companies in the area It just seems morally wrong to me that a lead company can sell the same thing to multiple people


    I prefer a local company that collects when you sell the job.....there is a company like that here. they may give the lead to 4 companies, but the one that pays is the one that gets the job.
    Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.

    Give a man a capacitor, doesn't know what to do. Teach a man to install it, now he knows everything.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    sfv california
    Posts
    107
    the only leads u can count on are tech generated or pma clients(again tech generated)75% close ratio

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Winston-Salem NC
    Posts
    1,133
    My company is not listed in the phone book.
    My vans are white with no signage.
    Company uniform is jeans, work pants/shorts and a red or blue tee shirt; collared polos are allowed also.
    I have never done any advertisement beyond dropping in places and giving them a card.

    My bill stay paid, I save money, and I do the stuff I enjoy and buy most of the things I want, and stay busier than I really like.

    I can't see paying for more work, when my plate is full.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    sfv california
    Posts
    107
    stonewall where u at im in socal and thinking of starting my own gig but worried i wont have enough work to provide for my fam, the company I work for is well established (1500 pma clients and tons of cash to advertise) what say u

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Winston-Salem NC
    Posts
    1,133
    I live in the Triad of North Carolina.
    In my city there are at least 8 companies with 25+ employees in the field, a whole bunch of 4-10 men companies, and it seems a million one or two men operations, not counting the dudes in a station wagon.

    My favorite ex-employer always says there is enough HVAC work for everyone. ANd when I ride down the road, knowing every structure I pass has HVAC equipment and many with refrigeration equipment, I have to concur.

    I have seen too many folks go out of business and bankrupt because they wanted to sell volume and build a "customer" base by selling dirt cheap. Seem a lot who go out of business because they had to have a shop, with a secretary and fancy new vans and every super high tech gizmo available.

    I have had good success with being honest with my customers, charging a fair price (and it ain't fair if I ain't making the profit I need to make), and making the customer feel they received value for their expenditures.

    My favorite ex-employer did not teach me anything about sheet metal, installing, swap outs or service. He had been out of the field for over a decade when I went to work for him.

    He taught me about customer service, pricing, design, how to treat employees and how to turn down a job that would not meet the profit margins I deem necessary.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    sfv california
    Posts
    107
    i hear what your saying and the company i work for is a mid size operation we have 4 techs 8 installers 3 full time "comfort advisors" (sales) and 7 office staff. We are by far the highest priced in the area, but we are also the best around. These are the kind of calls i like to field where the customers know we are expensive but that they are getting what they pay for. This is what i want to offer on my own but im scared that to start anything Ill have to compete with bubba and under price everything. how did u start

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Winston-Salem NC
    Posts
    1,133
    Doing side work for folks.
    Passing out cards.
    Helped a guy out at a supply house (not in the trade) and he ended up being a co-owner of several franchise pizza and burger joints, and gave me all their repair business HVAC and refrigeration.
    Ran into an old customer of my favorite ex-employer (we had lost the account after the dispatcher sent the same tech out three times to the same job and he didn't fix it any of the trips). She owns between 60-80 houses and is usually flipping another 10-20.
    Then word of mouth took over.
    I quit working for my favorite ex-employer when I was putting in 50-60 hours a week for him and another 20ish hours or more for myself.

    It ain't for everyone, but I like being self-employed.

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