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Hate Contractor Lead Generation Services? Why Not Get Some Chickens!

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Apr 09,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Hate Contractor Lead Generation Services?  "Rather than buy all your eggs, why not get some chickens?"

Lead generation services for contractors



On discussion groups liked LinkedIn, contractors and remodelers have been bantering about on-line lead generation services.   It seems for every business owner who speaks negatively about using them, there is another who shares stories about how these services have been great for their business.  For the purpose of this blog post I won’t get into the pros and cons of or any specifics about one service vs. another.  Instead I’d like to offer an alternative; take control of your destiny and create your own leads.


What’s the problem?

In my opinion way too many contractors are abdicating their marketing responsibilities to lead generation services without a full understanding of how those services work.  Then they complain they don’t like how they work and or how they are being treated when they seek customer service to resolve problems.   Many others complain that the quality of the leads is very poor and or the same leads are being sold and distributed to way too many other contractors, increasing competition.  Still others complain about negative customer reviews that are libelous and the service won’t help remove them or go after the customer who posted them.  


Why should these business owners be surprised?  

Just a little research on the internet is all it takes to find out what many other businesses have already found; that’s how those services conduct business!

Lead generation service for contractorsWhat is sad to me (and really ridiculous if you think about it) is these business owners are doing the same thing many remodeling consumers do.  They hire a service provider to take care of something for them without first being clear on what they expect, or, what they can expect will actually be included if they buy.   Then, rather than take responsibility for their own lack of due diligence before buying that service, they rationalize why it’s the service provider’s fault they are not happy and want their money back.  You can find lots of evidence to back up this reality by reading just a few of the articles on the“Dietz Angie's List and Yelp Reviews Lawsuit Updates” page of my web site.  The page is full of links to articles and blog posts about the nightmares many businesses have experienced with lead generation services.   It also has links to helpful information regarding what to do if you are already having problems with contractor lead generation services.


What’s the solution?

I suggest business owners work to generate their own leads.   Not saying they shouldn't also use a lead gen service, just pointing out that those services often have a history of changing their business model and many have gone out of business.  If your lead generation service leads go away, you might not have any leads at all unless you are creating your own leads as well. 


"Don't put all your eggs in one basket" 

Contractor lead services


Good quality leads for targeted customer and project types might well be the most significant factor when it comes to creating and growing a healthy and profitable construction or remodeling business.   Without a way to create a sustainable flow of high quality leads the business has to wait for leads to show up out of the blue.   If you wait for leads to happen, or for a lead gen service to send you leads, your business has little or no control over who will be inquiring for your services.   Also, you won’t know whether or not they are the right prospects for what you offer, how you perform your services and or what you have to charge to provide them.   Essentially, you might get leads, but after you get them you will need to still figure out which ones are qualified and which ones aren’t.  Prequalifying leads after they contact you, instead of before they contact you, wastes a lot of everyone’s time.  Think about it.  Are you and or your sales people visiting with people who would have disqualified your business if your business took control of how its leads were generated?


"Rather than buy your eggs, why not get your own chickens?"

Best lead generation for contractorsInstead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, paying for lead generation services and praying for good leads, consider the new wave in marketing; “Inbound Marketing”.  Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content on your business’ web site that pulls people toward your company and product.   By aligning the content you publish with your target customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.  If visitors to your contractors web site don’t like what they find out about your business and how you do business, they won’t call you or waste your time.  In addition to creating high quality leads, done well, inbound marketing can also help you increase the number and quality of referral leads from those customers you have delighted. 


best lead generation for remodelers

When you own the chickens you know where the eggs came from, and after eating the eggs...

You still have chickens still laying more eggs!

Topics: Success Strategies, Business Growth, Differentiating your Business, Marketing, Marketing Ideas, Dietz Lawsuit Related, Web Site Related, Lead Generation

New Business Owner's Perspective Regarding Reputation Of Our Industry

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Mar 19,2013 @ 06:00 AM

New Business Owner Offers Perspective Regarding Reputation Of Construction Industry

Randy Strauss


Guest Blogger: Randy Strauss is a new handyman business owner trying to find his way in the age of social media and 30 minute pizza delivery.  When he is not repairing other people’s homes, he tries to find time to repair his own.



As a consumer, I preferred to do everything myself rather than hire someone to do it. There are times when I’ve hired people to do work when I didn’t have the necessary skills and sometimes it was just cost effective to have a crew do it in a day or two when I knew it would take me a week doing it by myself.

Construction Industry ReputationMost of my experience with contractors has been from a consumer perspective. Those experiences have run the gamut of “outstanding” when jobs were completed in the blink of any eye and a minimum of dust to “outrage” when an HVAC contractor told me to go “F” myself when I asked him to honor his one year warranty.

In November of 2012 I was unemployed and carpet bombing every job ad in sight was exhausting. So, I decided to start a handyman business. My experiences using contractors motivated me to do so because I saw an opportunity needing to be filled.


Using What I Learned as a Consumer

Now that I’m working in other people’s homes, I can use that perspective to manage my clients’ expectations, perform work that meets my standards, and finish the day satisfied that I do good work. When I’m not working, I do research to better myself as a business owner and contractor.

lead generation websites for contractorsDuring this research, I read a few blog entries on this site regarding Chris Dietz’s lawsuit filed against a customer who allegedly posted libelous comments about his work on review websites.  The posts from fellow contractors were generally positive, but I noticed that supportive comments were conditional.  For instance, “…providing he’s telling the truth…” and “…as long as he’s honest…”

Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, which I understand may be ultimately fruitless; we are still faced with cynicism about our profession.

That is a black cloud of distrust hovering over our industry.  That sense of distrust has led us to lead generation review websites such as Angie’s List and Yelp.  When fellow contractors feel the need to put conditions on support for one of our own, it reeks of skepticism. 


I believe those doubts are founded in two fallacies:

  1. The customer is always right.  No, they’re not.  They may have the right to decide the paint color or the tile selection, but when they ask us to remove a load-bearing wall because they want to “open the space” they are quite simply wrong. It’s our responsibility to educate them why.
  2. Customers have a right to freedom of speech. They do.  But, that right is worthless without the responsibility of truth.  No one has the right to slander or libel another person.

Construction Indusrty reputaionTo be honest, I’m terrified of working for that client that has nothing better to do than bad mouth my new found profession.  I hope I never meet them.

What can, should we do?

If you go to someone’s house to repair something that another contractor ruined, tell them to follow up with a complaint to the BBB. Follow up with that yourself.  By getting rid of the bad actors, we can ensure respect and trust in the future.  Perhaps a self-regulating entity might not be such a bad idea in light of the above.  So, my questions to you are these:  What can we do to improve the perception of our profession?  What would make the average consumer, and us at times, less likely to believe that a contractor ripped off a client? Doesn’t it make your blood boil that you are less likely to be trusted in someone’s home because profit happy thugs with hammers and a screwdrivers have ruined the reputation of our professionalism?


Topics: Future of the Remodeling Industry, Differentiating your Business, Dietz Lawsuit Related, Guest Blogs, Opinions from Contractors

This Contractor Avoids Bad Reviews. Is He Lucky or Smart?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Jan 02,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Guest Blog: This Contractor Avoids Bad Reviews.  Is He Lucky or Smart?

David Profitt of  Profitt Custom Homes, LLC



Guest Blogger: David Profitt, owner at Profitt Custom Homes, LLC is a NC Licensed General Contractor.  David’s business offers construction of custom homes and remodel/renovation projects ranging from simple decks and porches to whole house makeovers, all as a Design/Build contractor.


Avoiding Bad Reviews

Anyone who has spent much time in this business knows full well the law of averages apply religiously. Out of every 10 customers, you will have two that think you're great, one that thinks you're a thief and the rest fall somewhere in between.

Social media for remodelersI suppose the word is "thankfully", the rise in social media has been offset by the economy so the events highlighted in the Dietz lawsuit news story haven't become as widespread as they no-doubt would have otherwise. I have been fortunate that over my nearly 3 decades in the business the overwhelming majority of my customers have been well satisfied with the work I did for them. But. like everyone else, I have had a few that felt otherwise.

Lucky or Smart?

"Thankfully" may not be exactly the correct word for it, as I typically put in a lot of long hours planning every project before the first shovel hits the ground, draw out the projects in cad (3D since 2001), run structural analysis on everything affected (engineer for 11 yrs before getting into building), put only known-entity skilled tradesmen on the job, personally oversee all the projects, visit the adjacent neighbors and introduce myself before stating any project that might potentially impact them, and constantly communicate with the client.

avoiding bad reviews


So I wouldn't attribute the low percentage of problems to just luck, but every once in a while you're going to get that one "special" client.....



Some real examples from my experience:

  • Social media for Remodeling ContractorsThe one who, at the closing table on a completed new home, decided he wanted to re-negotiate the price and not pay for his $15k in accumulated change orders.  I went to a "pay as you go plan" after that.  
  • Or the one where the client had a one-of-a-kind rooftop cedar deck built as an add-on to the original whole house remodel. She was thrilled to death with it until a trusted friend who lived 300 miles away in a totally different building-cost market told her she had payed too much for it.  Truth is I had over-charged her so badly that I actually lost money on it.
  • Or the guy who wanted a financial concession out of the cabinet maker when the CM put a more expensive (turned) faux leg on his master vanity that was shown in the CM's pre-construction 3D representation. This was even though he and his wife both liked it a lot better than what they had "approved" and the price didn't change.

The more I think about it, the more I'd like to retire.


Topics: Differentiating your Business, Dietz Lawsuit Related, Social Media for Contractors, Marketing Considerations, Customer Relations

Your Opinion Counts: Please Take This Quick Dietz Lawsuit Survey

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Dec 21,2012 @ 05:33 PM

Your Opinion Counts: Please Take This Quick Dietz Lawsuit Survey

A good number of contractors and other business owners are now aware of the Lawsuit Chris Dietz has filed against Jane Perez for her online reviews on Angie's List and Yelp.

Please take this quick two-question survey regarding your opinions about the lawsuit.

If you take the survey you will instantly see the current results.

Your Opinion Counts - Take this Quick Survey

Thank You!


Topics: Dietz Lawsuit Related

The Perfect Storm: One Contractors Opinion About the Dietz Lawsuit

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Dec 20,2012 @ 06:00 AM

Guest Blog: The Perfect Storm  -One Contractors Opinion About the Dietz Lawsuit and Angie’s List

David Profitt of  Profitt Custom Homes, LLC



Guest Blogger: David Profitt, owner at Profitt Custom Homes, LLC is a NC Licensed General Contractor.  David’s business offers construction of custom homes and remodel/renovation projects ranging from simple decks and porches to whole house makeovers, all as a Design/Build contractor.


Dietz Lawsuit Questions

(Click here to take the quick Dietz Lawsuit Survey)

The Perfect Storm 

I think the lawsuit overall will be a good thing, providing the Perfect Storm scenario doesn't pass thru and the contractor looses.

Most of my clients have never heard of Angie's list (I usually ask), and the one reference I have on there was to straighten out a bath remodel for a client who initially hired another contractor from "the list" to do the job and they botched it in just about every possible way.

That was a few years ago and the only follow-up I've had from that one positive reference has been to get hounded by the sales reps from the "List" trying to sell me bag after bag of magic beans (which is why I ask clients if they use the "list").

I agree that social media is here to stay and like it or not, the construction business is going to have to come to grips with it. It would be great for the construction professionals among us, if it worked properly. The downside is that any customer who gets tee'd off at you for whatever reason, legit or not, can get on there and bash you.

And unlike (in theory) our court system where you are innocent until proven guilty, in social media any mud thrown your way will stick to some extent.  It's kinda like online matchmaking services - if everyone on there told the truth, it would be a wonderful thing.

Nothing breeds respect like fear, and a few successful lawsuits by contractors caught in this situation is probably the only thing that will help keep it in check. The promotional sites like the "list" sure aren't going to. If they operated with that type of integrity, they wouldn't be telling the general public that "contractors can't pay to get on the List"; then repeatedly barrage us with the deal of the week to get our advertising dollars.

I wish Dietz luck on behalf of all of us.



Topics: Dietz Lawsuit Related, Opinions from Contractors

Does CNBC News Interview With Deitz Show Media Bias?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Dec 19,2012 @ 03:53 PM

Does CNBC News Interview With Dietz Show Media Bias? 

Check out this video of a news interview with Chris Dietz, the contractor who is suing his client, Jane Perez, for defamation related to her Angie's List and Yelp Reviews of Dietz and his business.   Based on the questions they ask him they either:

  • They did not prepare very well
  • They weren't listening to his answers
  • They don't understand why he is doing what he is doing
  • Or, they want to put their own spin on the situation. 

Check it out and let us know what you think.  You'll have to watch a commercial first.


 (Click here to take the quick Dietz Lawsuit Survey)

Click here for updates and information about the Dietz defamation Lawsuit


More possible Meida Bias?  Check the link below out and you decide:

A Woman Is Being Sued For Posting A Negative Review On Yelp

ACLU, Public Citizen to fight lawsuit over negative Yelp review  (Check out my comment, should be the first one, assuming they publish it after reviwing it)


Topics: Videos, Dietz Lawsuit Related, Opinions from Contractors, Opinions from Design/Builders

Deitz Lawsuit Update: Ralph Nader To Fund Appeal Against Dietz Case

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Dec 18,2012 @ 09:13 AM

Deitz Lawsuit Update: Ralph Nader To Fund Appeal Against Dietz Case

Chris Dietz Lawsuit updates



This from Chris Dietz just this morning.  I spoke with him briefly via phone on his way to join his daughter at school for an event.  We agreed to follow up on our conversation and offer more information later in the day, as he needed to spend his time this morning with his daughter. 


Here is what Chris Dietz shared with me:

The defendant is appealing to the Virginia Supreme Court. Oh, and Ralph Nader and his organization Public Citizen is providing the attorney(s) for the appeal.

I have sent an email, and spoken by phone to my local NARI, asking for help. If others can ask their local NARI chapters to contact NARI national about this case, and contact my local NARI or NATIONAL NARI, I would sincerely appreciate it.

I am just a small contractor locally trying to defend my business from lies, proven lies. This case can help protect all of us from bogus lies, false accusations from former clients, people claiming to be clients etc.


As business owners we have to wonder...  If this lawsuit is about protecting businesses from false accusations of fact, what is his motive for becoming involved? 

 (Click here to take the quick Dietz Lawsuit Survey)

The following update was added at 11:35 AM


Accoring to Mary Busey Harris, Executive Vice President, NARI National

NARI Supports Dietz


"NARI National has reached out to NARI Member Chris Dietz and supports him in the quest to right this wrong. NARI National General Counsel and Board of Directors are reviewing the case and will determine next steps."

Topics: Dietz Lawsuit Related

Short Video of TV News Report about Dietz Lawsuit Against Perez

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Dec 18,2012 @ 06:00 AM

Short Video of TV News Report about Dietz Angie’s List and Yelp Reviews Lawsuit

Chris Dietz pending lawsuit


According to the news report filed with the video below, a local TV New Station said that the case is far from over and could change the way consumers criticize businesses on the Internet.  According to the report:

 “Dietz says the situation has not only hurt his reputation, but cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost business. He is suing Perez for $700,000 in damages. No word yet on when that trial will begin.”

(Note: According to the Complaint filed in court the lawsuit is actually for $750,000.00)

In the video below Chris Deitz offers his point of view regarding the actions of Jane Perez who wrote reviews about Dietz and his work on Angie’s List and Yelp.  Jane Perez’s lawyer also comments.


 (Click here to take the quick Dietz Lawsuit Survey)


 According to the same report Yelp released the following statement:

"Consumer freedom of speech provides an important public service, protected by law. Yelp provides a valuable contribution to this dialogue by providing a two-way platform for consumers to share their experiences and for businesses to respond to their customers. Courts have consistently ruled that consumers have the right to share their truthful experiences. As a result, businesses that choose to sue their customers to silence them rather than address their comments, rarely prevail and often bring additional unwanted attention to the original criticism."

In my opinion the Yelp statement is a cover-your-butt attempt by Yelp.

The statement does not address the issue of reviewers posting outright lies about a business and causing unjust and often business killing consequences for that business.

Click here for links to updates and information regarding the Deitz lawsuit.


Topics: Dietz Lawsuit Related

Dietz Offers His Side of the Angie’s List and Yelp Reviews Lawsuit

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Dec 17,2012 @ 09:32 AM

Dietz Offers His Side of the Angie’s List and Yelp Reviews Lawsuit

Chris Dietz Sues Jane Perez



I spoke with Chris Dietz on Saturday December 15th 2012.  He seemed very upbeat about the attention he has been getting from the media as well as his peers in the construction and remodeling industries regarding his lawsuit against Jane Perez due to her reviews on Angie's List and Yelp. 

He had posted the comment below on line at Leah Thayer’s Daily 5 Remodel and gave me permission to post it here at the Design/Builders Blog.  I offered my support to Chris for what he is doing and complemented him on the professional approach he has demonstrated online and in the media.   He shared that he hoped his lawsuit would make a positive difference for other remodeling contractors as well as all business.


Chris Dietz's side of the story in his own words:

I am a member of NARI, NARI-Metro DC. Thanks to a vendor I use, one of their staff is on the recruitment committee, and suggested I join. One of the best business decisions I ever made. I love my chapter and all it does for me and my fellow contractors (trainings, product demos etc).

I will not make much in the way of comments, due to litigation still in progress. Her is a bit of my side:

The issue here is simple, the client crossed the line of opinion, and into the realm of defamation. I contacted Yelp and Angieslist, with documents (legal ones, countering the defendants postings), and they refused to remove or alter the postings. I was told I had two options, 1-poster removed their own post , or 2-a judge's order removing/altering the posts. My hand was forced in filing a lawsuit. It is a true shame, that myself, and other businesses, in our line of work and others, are forced to take defamatory type comments, and just live with them, based on what everyone says. The response usually is, hey just get more positive comments. Easily said, I usually do full renovation or larger type work. SO if Iose 1 customer, my revenue can drop dramatically and ruin my entire year.

I had nothing to do with the work that was showed in the pictures. Compare the pictures shown in the press, to my portfolio. Not even close.

We need to push for legislation to change provision 230 of the CDA-Communication Decency Act, and also hold Yelp and Angieslist accountable ( and all other ISPs) for the way they permit postings and review them. Yelp is more at fault, as they claim, algorithms are to blame for the negative posts being public, and your positives being filtered. YET, for a fee, Yelp miraculously offers to fix this(Yes, I did receive a sales pitch).....Angieslist, is far better in this area.

Yes, I can really use help in paying my legal bills, as the case is far from over. Feel free to contact me privately via my Facebook page, Dietz Development. Also, there you can see that my work portfolio, is so far higher in quality, than the pictures that have been shown to the public. I sincerely appreciate the moral support I have received, and I am very determined to work with NARI-local and national, and our industry to make changes so this cannot happen to someone else.

Chris Dietz, Dietz Development


(Click here to take the quick Dietz Lawsuit Survey)

Topics: Dietz Lawsuit Related, Marketing Considerations

Updates on the Dietz Lawsuit About Reviews On Angie's List and Yelp

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Fri, Dec 14,2012 @ 11:39 AM

Updates on the Dietz Lawsuit About Reviews On Angie's List and Yelp

Dietz Development Lawsuit




The recent lawsuit by Chris Dietz of Dietz Development against Jane Perez for her reviews posted to Angie's List and Yelp have captured a lot of attention.   If you are looking for a place to find updates about the Dietz lawsuit I have created a page on my web site to share links to related articles and information.


Go to Dietz Lawsuit Updates Page

 (Click here to take the quick Dietz Lawsuit Survey)


If you are aware of related and appropriate articles and/or information please email the links for them to me and I will add them to the list included on the page.

Many contractors have suffered unjust negative reviews by disgruntled clients and consumer. This lawsuit may prove to have long term effects for all contractors.  Stay informed so you can learn about and possibly effect the outcome of the lawsuit. 


Topics: Legal Related, Dietz Lawsuit Related, Customer Relations