The key to a profitable contracting business is a steady flow of exclusive home improvement leads each month.
If you’re able to nail that down, then you can get more estimates out, take on more of the right jobs, and have enough cash flow to grow your team as much as you’d like.
Obviously, that’s a little easier said than done.
But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
In this post, I’ll walk you through 10 tried-and-true ways of finding exclusive home improvement leads so that you can spend less time hustling for work and more time booking profitable jobs.
By the end, you’ll have an arsenal of proven contractor marketing tactics to choose from—some are free, others will require a bit of money—in order to grow your home service business.
The main thing you need to know about finding exclusive home improvement leads…
If you’re a contractor who is just starting out, getting noticed can be tough enough, let alone converting leads and closing sales.
And each business owner will find their own rhythm and balance when it comes to success.
But the truth is that you want to be wary of 3rd party directory sites, because they are automated and may not send you the kinds of leads you want, your ideal clients.
Lead generation websites for contractors aren’t always the best way of getting quality leads.
They will not be your target market, and they are not based on referrals or rapport.
Instead, you’ll want to build a solid, sustainable network from the ground up, using a combination of marketing strategies.
1. Local Facebook Groups
First up on the list of proven marketing tactics for generating new leads for your home service business is leveraging local Facebook groups.
If you aren’t doing this yet, it’s one of the easiest ways to become the go-to contractor in your neighborhood and get a ton of qualified leads in the process.
All you have to do is head over to Facebook, conduct a search for your city name, and select Groups from the menu:
Once you hit enter, you’ll be shown a list of groups that match your search criteria. The key is to find large community-type groups that encourage collaboration and sharing.
For example, after conducting a search for Colorado, I came across this group:
Not only do the rules state that the group is for recommendations, jobs, and referrals, but there are also over 78,000 people in the group!
The majority of these people likely live in or around Colorado, so if you’re a general contractor that serves this area, this is a group you definitely want to be a part of.
Once you’ve found one or more of these local community groups, put in a request to join.
Facebook Group Best Practices
From there, the key is NOT to start spamming the group by promoting your services.
Once you get into a group, be sure to read the rules to make sure you know what’s allowed and what isn’t.
Then, you’ll want to introduce yourself, let people know what you can help with (without selling), and let them know you’re excited to be a part of the community.
This tactic is all about providing value first by answering questions other people have, and then only positioning your services when people ask for recommendations.
Over time, once you’ve built up your reputation, you’ll have people recommending your services to others within the group. That’s when you know you’ve done a good job.
Note: You can even offer special discounts for members of the group only—this works wonders and makes people go out of their way to work with you.
2. Google My Business, Yelp, And Facebook Reviews
Next on the list is to leverage reviews on your Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook pages.
Reviews are like salespeople for your business:
“97% of consumers use the internet when researching local services, and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” – source
If you aren’t putting your positive reviews front and center, then you’re missing out on the power of social proof and its proven ability to drive new leads for your business:
Locals looking for general contractors and other home service providers are most likely to use these websites, as well as third party directories like Angie’s list.
But don’t wait until you “have” reviews to start up a page! Get listed first, then work on building a solid online rapport via quality reviews.
You may need to do a little prompting to have customers leave a review in three places, but if you hand them an iPad and walk them through it, they’ll be more than happy to help if you’ve delivered on your promise (if not, a small gift card can go a long way).
Be sure to add testimonials to your website and Facebook Business page as well—here’s our guide for recording quality video testimonials.
Other than reviews, you’ll want to make sure that your Big 3 profiles are filled in their entirety.
Make sure you add:
- Your business name, address, and phone number
- A brief description of your business
- A brief description of the services you provide
- Hours of operation
This not only helps you look like a legit business, but it also helps you rank in local search engine results.
In fact, if you want to be a part of Google’s Map Pack, then the amount of positive reviews your Google My Business page has is the most important ranking signal.
Your best bet is to make gathering reviews part of your post-job process. Read our article on Why You Need More Google Reviews (and how to get them) to learn more.
3. Promote a special offer on Facebook
Promoting a special offer on Facebook is an extremely effective way to generate exclusive home improvement leads for your business.
The key with this is not to offer something that will make you a ton of money up front, but rather something that gets your foot into your customer’s door.
It’s essentially a loss leader, and once your sales team is on site, it’s their job to upsell the customer if and when the opportunity presents itself.
This strategy requires a bit of money to pump into Facebook ads, but it can be well worth the investment if you do it right.
I’ve written about this tactic in-depth in my Facebook Advertising for Contractors blog post, so give it a read if this strategy interests you.
Using Facebook to promote special offers and attract new leads for our contracting customers is a big part of what we do in our PLACE IT™ marketing system, so it’s definitely a tactic that can help you build the steady flow of home improvement leads that you’re looking for.
4. Promote a piece of content on Facebook
Another tactic that requires a marketing budget—again leveraging Facebook’s powerful ad platform—is promoting a piece of content to your ideal prospects.
This works especially well for home improvement businesses that offer more expensive services—roofing, window & door installation, landscape companies, etc.
For example, if you’re a metal roofer looking for more roofing leads, you could create a short video, slideshow, blog article, or even a PDF that goes into all the benefits of opting for a metal roof, and then promote it on Facebook:
You can paint homeowners a picture of how much money they can save by going with metal—more energy efficient (lower heating cost), more durable (less maintenance), increased curb appeal (higher home resale value), etc.
Anyone that shows interest in this piece of content could be a potential lead for your business.
You can even collect contact information in exchange for your piece of content—either email, phone number, or both—and make this more of a direct response marketing strategy.
Now, people might not reach out after seeing one blog post, video, or PDF, but if you use Facebook ads to retarget them and continue the nurturing process, you can have a marketing funnel that drives exclusive home service leads for you each and every month.
I used metal roofing as an example, but this content promotion + Facebook ads strategy can really work for any type of contracting business (we use it for landscape companies, roofers, window & door replacement companies, restoration companies and more).
5. Use Adwords and the Google Display Network
Adwords and the Google Display Network are another important part of our PLACE IT™ marketing system for contractors, and for good reason.
They’re extremely effective at getting in front of people that are ‘in the market’ so to speak and looking for specific home improvement services.
For example, we’ll serve ads to people that conduct searches like:
- Roofing contractor near me
- Metal roofing contractor NY
- Metal roof estimate
and more in order to get qualified prospects over to our custom landing pages, where we can then turn them into leads for the metal roofing contractors we work with.
I may be biased, but I believe that if you have any kind of marketing budget, running PPC ads on Google Adwords is one of the best investments you can make.
It allows you to get exclusive contractor leads for your business fast (within hours usually), and every dollar you spend can be tracked and measured so that you know exactly what your return on investment is (something you just can’t do with old-school traditional marketing like newspaper and magazine ads):
When you mix in ads on the Google Display Network (GDN for short), that’s when things really start to come together.
Whereas Adwords focuses on text-based ads on search results pages, GDN is all about banner ads on relevant websites around the web.
You can use GDN to go after new prospects using their in-market and affinity options:
Or you can retarget existing website traffic (ie: people that leave your website without taking action) with ads to try and get them to convert:
That’s’ what makes GDN so powerful—you can literally follow your prospects around the web so that they continue to see your brand or business long after they’ve been to your website.
If you’ve got a marketing budget, definitely give Adwords and the Google Display Network a try. You can start small and invest more as you generate new leads and book more jobs.
6. Leverage Instagram locally
If you read my post about contractor marketing on a budget, then you know how important showing off your work is.
More importantly, Instagram is still in its early stages, which means you’re still able to reach your ideal audience and get a high engagement rate on your posts without having to spend money on ads (at least not yet).
To make Instagram work for your local contracting business, you don’t have to have millions of followers or post a dozen pictures per day—all you have to do is be consistent and leverage Instagram’s location story feature.
Here’s how in 3 easy steps:
- Make sure your profile is public
- Share an engaging photo or video of your team, your work, or a before & after shot to your Instagram story
- Use one of the following before hitting publish: a hashtag that represents your city, a location-based sticker, or simply tag your location
Doing this will get you featured in your city’s story of the day, which means that anyone who views the Instagram story for your city (something that many people do in order to see what’s going on in their neighborhood), will also see your post!
By being in your city’s story feed frequently, you can become the go-to roofer, general contractor, or other in your area because people will constantly be reminded of your business.
This is a huge opportunity that most contractors just aren’t taking advantage of yet.
7. Answer questions with content
As a contractor, you probably hear the same questions over and over from your customers.
Why not answer those questions with content?
Content marketing has been the driver of growth for thousands of businesses over the past few decades for one reason—it establishes expertise.
And when you become the expert, booking new jobs becomes a lot easier because you’re seen as the only logical solution to your customers’ problems.
For example, who would you trust to repair your roof:
- A faceless roofing company you’ve never heard of
- John from ABC Roofing that wrote about the 5 telltale signs that mean it’s time for a new roof, which you happened to stumble upon when you were looking for answers.
You’d call John from ABC Roofing all day.
And don’t think for one second that content marketing is just for big brands and tech companies—it works for general contractors too.
But only if you do it right.
Here’s a quick & dirty way to get started:
- Choose your medium—text (blog posts) or video are the most popular.
- Make a list of all the questions your customers typically ask and that you feel can help establish your business as the experts
- Put aside time each week to working on creating your content, or leverage batching to create loads of content up front in a short period of time
- Place the content on your website, social media profiles, and upload your videos to YouTube when applicable.
This new content will begin to rank organically on search engines over time, and if your local SEO game is strong and you’ve built out a complete Google My Business profile with a good amount of reviews, then there’s a good chance your content gets found by your ideal prospects.
8. Hit up neighbors during jobs
Just because we focus on online marketing to drive leads for our contracting customers, that doesn’t mean it stops there.
One of the simplest ways to get exclusive home improvement leads is literally to ask the neighbors of the people you’re doing work for if they have any interest in what you have to offer.
For example, one of our asphalt contractors commits to knocking on 5 doors every time he finishes up a job to see if he can get new business while he’s there.
His pitch is simple, and goes a little something like this:
“Hey, I’m Alex from XYZ Pavement and we just finished repaving your next door neighbor’s driveway. I was wondering if you had any interest in repaving your driveway as well? We’ve got time for one more job in the area, and being that my crew and equipment is already here, I’m knocking $XX off the regular price. Any interest?”
If it’s a yes, he gets the job done and boosts his revenue.
If it’s a no, he asks if next year might be a better fit, and if so, leaves with the person’s contact information.
And this can work with nearly any home improvement business! You probably wouldn’t start a new roofing job on the spot, but you can knock on doors, show off your recent work (by literally pointing to the roofing job you just completed next door), and ask if there’s any interest.
If not, leave a business card or brochure behind and let them know you’re there to help when the time comes.
A simple, non-aggressive sales pitch—but highly effective when it comes to generating exclusive home improvement leads.
9. Implement a referral program
Sticking with grassroots marketing tactics, implementing a referral program can do wonders for your sales pipeline.
The key is to put together a compensation plan for existing customers that would cause them to go out of their way to refer you new business.
It doesn’t have to be complicated either. A simple cash reward for anyone that sends a new customer your way will do the trick.
Now before you go out and buy $20 gift cards, you need to realize that it has to be a significant amount in order for people to take action.
No one is going to go out of their way to tell their neighbors about the awesome job you did installing their new windows if you promise to give them an Applebee’s gift card.
Obviously, the amount of money you’re giving up has to make sense for your business financially, but just know that you’ll get more referrals if you make it interesting for your customers.
This tactic can work for any kind of home improvement business. Just make sure you deliver great work before you ask your customers to refer new leads!
10. Network in your community
Last but not least, if you want to become the go-to home improvement business in your state, city, or neighborhood, then you’ve gotta be present.
Nearly every city has local events, meetups, and get-togethers that happen throughout the year where you can go to rub shoulders with other locals, contractors and business owners.
After speaking with our contracting customers, one of the things they mentioned that works really well is connecting with other contractors that offer similar-but-different services.
For example, if you own a painting business, you can reach out to renovation companies and ask if they need painting support. Assuming you’re a pro, you’re probably much better and faster at it than they would be, which means more profit in each of your pockets when the job is said and done.
Sometimes, a few key relationships are all you need in order to keep the jobs flowing and your crews busy.
If you’re already leveraging this tactic, then take it a step further and considering sponsoring local events to get your home improvement business’s name out there in front of your ideal audience.
This can work wonders, and it gets amplified when you put together some kind of special offer available only to those present at the event.
Again, an appealing discount or something thrown in for free (ie: a free door when you have a new set of windows installed) can really generate buzz for your home services.
So there you have it! Ten proven ways to find exclusive home improvement leads based on our experience as a contractor marketing agency, feedback from our own contracting customers, and old-school marketing tactics that are proven to work regardless of industry.
If you’re struggling to find new leads for your business, just choose a few tactics from this list and start executing. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the momentum you can build once you start focusing on the right things!
Ben is our Facebook Ads Specialist and is responsible for generating thousands of quality leads for our customers in the replacement & remodeling industries. When he’s not busy launching new campaigns, he squeezes in time to write helpful posts on the Webrunner blog.