Angie's List: Getting "Certified" worth it? And any help/insight on this, really!

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
Do you remember if there were "cheap packages" available and, if so, whether they were inferior (or simply smaller)?

I could see paying that IF my phone were ringing so often that i could cherry-pick my jobs, though that seems a bit unfair/schemey...How many people in your operation when you were spending that much? I must be real clear that I'm a solo operator who couldn't handle a workload of >5-8 real jobs / week (depending on their size obviously, I guess I mean to say that I'm solely looking to find/create about 4 new jobs / week from where I am right now, wherein I'm doing a 1-2 tree jobs, maybe 1-2 landscape and 1-2 handyman!)


Well....I am probably the lowest-priced guy (insured guy) in my area....am actually gonna be making a thread w/ some projects/tree-pics to get an idea what you guys woulda charged (am guessing I'll be too embarrassed to even say what I'd charged..)
CraftJack charges you “per lead”, so you can pay as little as you like. We always took every lead they sent, hence the $1500/month, but you can pause at any time and you can set a budget that automatically pauses after a set amount. Each lead is about $25-35 depending on category - tree removal leads cost more than stump grinding, for example.
 

eyehearttrees

Active Member
Location
Tampa-Area
CraftJack charges you “per lead”, so you can pay as little as you like.
Sadly they're a name I didn't hear a single time when asking my clients what they use when they don't already know a specialist, angie's was huuuge though I mean BY FAR the most-common answer!! Which sucks, as I'll explain below:

It's very worth it, to Angieslist!
Yeah it's looking more&more this way, sadly...

I just heard from my rep-- $few-hundred$ bare-minimum buy-in to get my foot in the door with their pay-to-play.... I'd totally gotten the impression I could do 'dip the toes' type plans, I mean they restrict by-area so thought I could just pay for, say, 1 week of promotion in my zip code only, but when I queried "my rep" about this he responded with a hard-answer of (paraphrased) "$3** is the lowest possible I can get you in today, if you can get that you'll get X leads over the next 90 days and make X if you're getting X/job", basically leaving it at "it's this way or the highway"....
I SWORE I've seen lower #'s (maybe it was just seeing "averages" or something), but dropping that $ on something that I cannot even know will generate leads (he's suggesting I'll get 20-40 contacts in the 90 days for my $$; I have seen "contact/lead quality" rates/estimates for Angie's ranging from 1/2 are good, to 1/10th are good.....I know you can request refunds on bad leads but, well, these #'s for a few hundred up front seems...doesn't seem the deal that I'd thought Angie's would be, I mean this ^ type of "results" means I could get, on the low-end, just 20 contacts and find half are good, at that point it's 10 leads for $300 so $30/lead, and lead /= job also plenty of leads will surely be "we have a lil limb over the pool" and other tiny jobs, heck if the job's not over 300 then 10% GROSS profit goes to angie's...and since I'm small my projects probably average in the 300's range....)
FML this sucks, I accepted lowering my standards and going for pay-to-play, only to find it's far less a sure-thing & way more a gamble than I'd been lead to believe :/
 

eyehearttrees

Active Member
Location
Tampa-Area
Worst part is I just can't stop that lil part of me thinking "Yeah but you only need ONE of those leads to be a good, full removal project to make this worthwhile", but that feels so much more like gambling than "sound business decision"

God I suck at this, just wanna be doing what I actually have ability at LOL!!!! In the time since getting insured I basically make comparable money but work wayyyy less, because I'm spending so much time finding/hunting-for work to get the jobs that, thankfully, are paying enough to over-compensate enough, but - net-net - I'm basically making what I'd have made during a month last year if I were working full-time....

With spring rapidly approaching here in FL, the need/demand about to *explode* (I only became solo/legit in Nov so this is my 1st season going into it the way I am now), and - would love thoughts on this - and I'm worried because I can see things going 1 of 2 ways, each w/ radically different results for me:

# 1 - with so much work out there, simple door-knocking becomes far more viable, and I can scoop what I need that way (such jobs typically lead to others for me as well, would guess that if I do 3 front-yard jobs, I get 1 passerby or neighbor asking me to do their stuff, have spent over a week on 1 street before!) Combined with getting my T-Shirts with just big-print "name&number" to wear at all times; with yard-signs at clients I've worked at; with vehicle magnets........can't help but think that I may be able to "fill the schedule" simply with the methods I've been using recently (during our *winter*) No need to rely upon pay-to-play with angie's.

# 2 - with so much work, the embedded competition has its game honed so well that I cannot "break in" myself, and find that no matter how much I want to save&spend on Angie's at that point, that they're saturated (my rep didn't explicitly say it, but essentially told me they're "full up" at a certain point....subsequent research has me doubting if that is actually true or not though, think that may've just been a sales-line to pressure a quicker purchase from me)

Such different scenarios and my gut tells me #1 is entirely plausible, even *likely*, but this is my livelihood and I'm not in much position to gamble, and frankly BOTH options - guerilla marketing, or angie's - both seem a gamble to rely upon :/
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
Sadly they're a name I didn't hear a single time when asking my clients what they use when they don't already know a specialist, angie's was huuuge though I mean BY FAR the most-common answer!! Which sucks, as I'll explain below:


Yeah it's looking more&more this way, sadly...

I just heard from my rep-- $few-hundred$ bare-minimum buy-in to get my foot in the door with their pay-to-play.... I'd totally gotten the impression I could do 'dip the toes' type plans, I mean they restrict by-area so thought I could just pay for, say, 1 week of promotion in my zip code only, but when I queried "my rep" about this he responded with a hard-answer of (paraphrased) "$3** is the lowest possible I can get you in today, if you can get that you'll get X leads over the next 90 days and make X if you're getting X/job", basically leaving it at "it's this way or the highway"....
I SWORE I've seen lower #'s (maybe it was just seeing "averages" or something), but dropping that $ on something that I cannot even know will generate leads (he's suggesting I'll get 20-40 contacts in the 90 days for my $$; I have seen "contact/lead quality" rates/estimates for Angie's ranging from 1/2 are good, to 1/10th are good.....I know you can request refunds on bad leads but, well, these #'s for a few hundred up front seems...doesn't seem the deal that I'd thought Angie's would be, I mean this ^ type of "results" means I could get, on the low-end, just 20 contacts and find half are good, at that point it's 10 leads for $300 so $30/lead, and lead /= job also plenty of leads will surely be "we have a lil limb over the pool" and other tiny jobs, heck if the job's not over 300 then 10% GROSS profit goes to angie's...and since I'm small my projects probably average in the 300's range....)
FML this sucks, I accepted lowering my standards and going for pay-to-play, only to find it's far less a sure-thing & way more a gamble than I'd been lead to believe :/
I won’t comment on all of this because it’s very long, but a short answer why your customers don’t talk about CraftJack-your customers never see that name. CraftJack operates several websites with other names such as TreeRemoval.com and they distribute many leads from Home Advisor as well, since they’re owned by Home Advisor.
 

OasisTree

Well-Known Member
Location
Central Missouri
My advice would be to get a Google business profile, and a Facebook business profile - they are both free. It is also free to post content in both places. You also have the opportunity to advertise on both of them, and you can set your budget. Do good work, post pictures, ask for reviews, ask for referrals, and you will be busy in no time. Good Luck !
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
Location
Olympia, WA
BTW Mr Kroll ( ;) ), I gotta say I'm curious after seeing your Signature here- why did you stop w/ ISA?
Not by design.
Got swamped with life and work.
Had a CEU snafu.
Hope to find the time to re- certify, sometime.

Most of my work is by reputation.
I rarely answer my phone... too much repeat business keeping me going.
 
Last edited:

eyehearttrees

Active Member
Location
Tampa-Area
Not by design.
Got swamped with life and work.
Had a CEU snafu.
Hope to find the time to re- certify, sometime.

Most of my work is by reputation.
I rarely answer my phone... to much repeat business keeping me going.
Thanks! Can I ask how long it took you to get to that point business-wise? I'd always gone referral-only and it worked great for landscaping & handyman services but people need those repeatedly, when I tried using my ~30's deep "client pool" to pivot to just tree work (got insured for it and tried 'the pivot' at the end of last year), found that I exhausted them and their referrals quicker than I expected I would, hell maybe once spring's here that will change (w/o any intervention on my part) but January was the worst month I've had in memory I mean I had days where I literally would've been happy to do work just to have my saws going because it'd been >1wk since they were fired up....#embarrassing truths lol...

Recently heard something to the effect of "Referral-only, repeat-customers & word-of-mouth models are great & legitimate, however over the past decade - and at an increasing rate - such word-of-mouth isn't really in real life, it's on facebook/etc" It hit me when I heard that, because I've always seen them as completely distinct (I'm also a bit unusual in my disdain & avoidance of facebook, only kept an account so I could someday utilize the friends-pool I had for business, am thankful for that now lol - my 'facebook business page' is up but I'm only now "pushing it" and about to pay my first "Boost" today!
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
Location
Olympia, WA
Idk.

Being out working, particularly with signage (including Ask Us About You Trees!), keeps you working.



Park in the closest neighborhood with your target customers, before until after rush hours.



You only want so many people calling you.

I live in my target market ("worst" house in the best neighborhood).
I try to stay within 5 miles of my house.

HOAs can become repeat work, as I'm doing today, as a flexibly timed hazard mitigation pruning job in a greenbelt. No clean up!
 

eyehearttrees

Active Member
Location
Tampa-Area
I won’t comment on all of this because it’s very long, but a short answer why your customers don’t talk about CraftJack-your customers never see that name. CraftJack operates several websites with other names such as TreeRemoval.com and they distribute many leads from Home Advisor as well, since they’re owned by Home Advisor.
Wait wait WTH it's ALSO a home advisor company just like angie's? Makes me wonder if someone gets 3X as many leads, or basically the same leads, when they sign-up for either:
A - just 1 of these services, or
B - angie's, craftjack & home advisor

the monopolization here is insane am amazed this is legal..and hate myself for being so eager to give them my $300 (I just genuinely can't see another way to get more tree work before the season actually begins and "organic work" starts picking up again like mid-March..)

Thanks for bringing that bit up, now I gotta see whether I'd be better off with them, or if I should be seeking them in-addition-to angie's....ughh
 

eyehearttrees

Active Member
Location
Tampa-Area
Hoping someone(s) with personal experience on this can answer something- Is it really a 1st-come/1st-served situation that has a "cut-off"? Or is that just a sales-tactic?

My agent just told me, paraphrased, that "Because there's only so much work in a given area, we *cap* the # of people we take-on this way, because there won't be enough leads for everyone", explicitly telling me that no matter how much $$ they're willing to spend, a richer, better, more-established company could NOT come-in if the area is "full" -- sounded like total hogwash but, obviously, wasn't in a position to question him much..

Very hard to believe....but it does influence whether I scrounge the $350 up this week for the fee&setup costs, leaving myself next to broke, or if I wait another week...if it's truly "time sensitive" as he describes then I feel I can't afford to wait...
[am currently fighting/scrapping for every tree job I can get, and filling majority of days with landscaping...til growth resumes here in FL next month, it'll be this way, am already doing 2hrs of targetted-knocking every sat & sun and working every 'free angle' I can except t-shirts which'll be up&worn this week...]
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
Location
Olympia, WA
How much more business do you want?

What are your current ways of advertising?

What is your market like?

Are these leads in the places you want to work?

A lead in a so-so neighborhood will lead to more so-so neighbors wanting work.

Getting into your target neighborhoods, and getting their neighbors' work is preferable.

Strong word of mouth is my best friend.



Nextdoor is a good one for me. Customers posting on their Facebook helps, too, especially with if you email them some pictures from within the tree and/ or Before-After, and post on your FB biz page.


How much will you need to work to pay for random work leads, and all the admin and bidding?
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
Wait wait WTH it's ALSO a home advisor company just like angie's? Makes me wonder if someone gets 3X as many leads, or basically the same leads, when they sign-up for either:
A - just 1 of these services, or
B - angie's, craftjack & home advisor

the monopolization here is insane am amazed this is legal..and hate myself for being so eager to give them my $300 (I just genuinely can't see another way to get more tree work before the season actually begins and "organic work" starts picking up again like mid-March..)

Thanks for bringing that bit up, now I gotta see whether I'd be better off with them, or if I should be seeking them in-addition-to angie's....ughh
Yes, CraftJack is also a Home Advisor company, and they seem to share leads between their companies if one company does not have enough vendors in a given area to cover the leads.

It is possible to receive multiples of the same lead through several lead services, but you only have to pay once - whichever is first gets paid, tell the others and they’ll refund the cost of the lead.

I’m not sure if they limit the number of companies in a given area, but they may. I know some lead services do - LocalBizCalls gives you an exclusive in your service area (but avoid them, they use some unethical and possibly illegal advertising methods). They also limit the number of companies who receive a lead, how they choose depends on the company, a company with consistent good reviews will get more leads than one with bad reviews, others may choose at random, or may choose the companies closest to the location of the lead.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
Or you can do what one of my local competitors did... Just have two companies listed doing the same work, under two names. twice as many calls. Business names and cell phones are cheap.
 

macrocarpa

Well-Known Member
Location
Midwest
Did you have to do anything "special" to set it up? Did you enter CC/$ info? I ask because I was hoping to use that - had a very brutal rejection from new-client ($300 easy canopy-lift, woulda been polesaw only) when I showed-up to do the work because "I wasn't on google" so I setup the google-biz account, got their "secret activation code" mailed to me and activated it, even subsequently setup google-voice from the account, yet I still cannot get reviews on it (same on facebook as well actually, on neither platform could I enter reviews, haven't tried in a week so gonna mess with them again once home today but if there's any "hangups" you or anyone encountered like this I'd be eager to hear!)
I didn't have to do anything special to make a Google listing other than have a Google account and play around with plugging in the info and pics etc. But things may have changed since then?
 

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