Monthly Archives: October 2017

Home Improvement Marketing

Home improvement companies large and small know that getting their message heard by homeowners in need isn’t easy. Home improvement contractors are everywhere, and each is vying for attention. Open any given value pack mailer or local coupon publication and you will see page after page of home improvement ads. From lawn services, landscapers, deck, pool & patio contractors to roofing, siding and windows, carpet, bathroom, sun room and basement remodelers, the list goes on and on.

So as a contractor, how do you get your message heard? What marketing works, what doesn’t, and what aren’t we sure about? The answers depend somewhat on your local market and your budget, but here I provide some sure things that can be done no matter what your market or budget, and some tips on making the most of all of your efforts.

What Works

When I say ‘What Works’, I am talking about items that I have personally used to market my clients that I wouldn’t hesitate to employ for any home improvement company. These are methods that have proven time and time again to be worth the investment. There are very few ‘sure things’ in home improvement marketing, but I’ll bet on these methods every time.

Website – Now more than ever, the standout method of marketing that continues to show solid return on investment (ROI) is your website. Day after day, night after night, your website – if done right – can generate lead after lead. I’ve seen home improvement companies that do ZERO cold-calling and canvassing, and still generate millions of dollars in revenue due in part to their investment in a well-done, highly-optimized website. The key, however, is the ‘well-done’ part. Frankly, any jackleg contractor can get a website – maybe even an attractive one. But without the proper construction and search engine optimization techniques, it will serve as little more than an online brochure. Do yourself a favor and find a search engine pro that can analyze your site and help make changes that will get it working to generate quality leads.

Pay-per-click (Google) Advertising – Your website, as well-optimized as it may be – can’t possibly achieve top ranking for all of the key words and phrases that you need to reach your audience. Today’s searchers in many cases are using broad terms like ‘lawn service’ to find what they need. And at last check, on Google the term ‘lawn service’ yielded 9,400,000 results. If you’re part of one of the large franchises, you have a chance of being found. But if you’re Joe’s local lawn service, fagettaboutit. Your only hope in that broad search is to have your site pop up in the Sponsored Listings, or pay-per-clicks. Setting up Google pay-per-click advertising takes a little know-how, but is certainly available to anyone.

Signage – Contractors are on the road and in neighborhoods far more than they are in any office. They are out and about, all over their covered area day after day. Outfit those trucks – whether they are pick-up trucks, step vans or large vehicles – with nicely done signs, and you have yourself a rolling billboard. Forget the subtle vinyl lettering or magnetic sign – spend a little more on a colorful wrap (no need to wrap the whole thing – doors, the back window, and/or tailgate will do) and you will surely get noticed. In addition to vehicle signs, be sure to put a yard sign at every single installment. A yard sign is as good as a personal referral. And in today’s busy society when time spent talking to your neighbors can be few a far between, it allows the opportunity to broadcast to an entire neighborhood that one of their own has put their trust in you for their latest project. I’ve even seen home improvement companies provide incentives to homeowners for keeping the signs in their yard for extended periods of time. Well worth it.

Ratings-based Organizations – Organizations like the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List allow their members and/or the general public to rate their experiences with contractors. And while many contractors shy away from these organizations for fear of bad ratings, my experience has been positive with these services. That is, of course, if you are reputable contractor. If you’re a successful contractor who has built a business based on referrals and quality workmanship, these services will speak for themselves. And when you do get you’re A+ rating, use it. Post it on your website and in ads, and it too can serve as a virtual referral.

Social Media Marketing – While the jury is still out on exactly how to track the direct return on your social media marketing investment, I wouldn’t hesitate to set aside a small amount of time and marketing budget for social media marketing. Why? Well for one, it’s about as low-cost as you can get. It has the potential to be viral, and strong testimonial/referral benefits are there as well. It also tells the world that you are on top of things – you’re progressive and stand out as a leader in your field. I don’t recommend spending 2 hours a day tweeting, but spending 10 minutes a day to post an item or two to your Facebook business page and Twitter account can have great benefits.

PR – Getting into a regular routine of doing press releases about anything you can think of that might catch the attention of the local press is worthwhile. After a while, regular releases containing good information will catch the attention of the local media. You may even become their go-to people for home improvement information. Invest a little time in putting together a press-kit with your leaders’ biographies, a one-sheet about your company, and any articles, guides, or content you have is worth doing once a year. Then, be on the lookout for news worthy things to write about – significant new hires, a government regulation that affects your industry or homeowners, new products and services can all be spun into information that reporters will look out for.

Sales Support – One often overlooked area of home improvement marketing is sales support, however when done right, it can have an amazing return. Companies hire a guy, hand him some business card, send him on his way and expect great returns. Your sales team is the face of your business to customers, and you no doubt spend time agonizing over who to hire. So when you have a good team in place, do the right thing and arm them with the proper tools to make the sale quicker. Online presentations, e-mailable resource links, business cards, and leave-behinds should all be high on the list of items that your team has in their sales toolbox.

What Doesn’t Work

‘What Doesn’t Work’ is based on experience, and consists of items that you’d have to hold me down and force me to spend money on. That’s not to say that in some cases, some markets they don’t work, but at best, I consider these items to be hit or miss.

Large Phone Book Advertising – When I say ‘large phone book’ I am talking about the big yellow pages books. It’s no secret that these directories – in print – are dying. With internet availability everywhere and a strong push toward environmental responsibility, directory companies are scrambling to stay alive by offering online options. Unless you’re tracking your phone book response diligently and seeing a return, my advice would be to get out. Or at least reduce to in-column listings.

Pay-per-lead Services – For the contractor who has no other method of getting leads, this might be a source to get started, but in my experience, pay-per-lead services don’t work. Typically they are pricey, and they sell the leads they get to multiple contractors. Even the ones that promise exclusivity have turned out to be duds. Whether they are the major players or the smaller ones, all have had the same results. Very low quality leads and at a cost far too high.

Value Pack Mailers – Coupon-based value pack mailers are the definition of hit or miss. If you catch a home who opens the pack, and if he or she has an immediate need for what you’re selling and if he or she is attracted by the ad or offer, you might get some action. That’s a lot of if’s. In my experience, these packs are not cheap, and they are loaded with home improvement companies. In fact, during the writing of this article I received one in the mail. Out of the 45 ads in the pack, 22 of them – nearly 50% – were from home improvement companies. Can I possibly stand out in a crowd like this, and hit the homeowner at the exact right moment? Hmmmm…not really liking those odds.

Pricey Print Advertising – While some may argue that a flashy ad in a magazine has branding appeal, I have seen very little direct return on this type of investment. To get into the magazines, your money would be better spent doing PR that will get you a text mention or even an article.

What Might Work

The items that fall under the category of ‘What Might Work’ are items that are hit or miss, but have the added intangible value of branding. So while we can’t necessarily measure all of the effectiveness of these efforts, we have a sense that they do have some value. The recommendation on these would be to keep the dollars spent in check, but give the activities that fit your budget a shot.

Broadcast Advertising – Broadcast advertising is great for getting your name out there, but can be really expensive. A savvy marketer can find some diamonds in the rough – broadcast efforts that have a decent reach and a decent price tag – but they are hard to find. If broadcast is a part of your mix, try your best to track your efforts. Put landing page URL’s on your ads, whether they are radio or television ads, and a tracking phone number. Create an offer that is unique to the spot for additional tracking. And by all means, with this and every other marketing effort, talk to your customers about how they heard about you initially. If you hear ‘I heard/saw your commercial’ over and over, you will have a sense that it is working.

Event Marketing – Events range in size and price from affordable local events like street festivals and school-sponsored events to large home and garden shows, wine festivals, etc. The large shows can be tough to see a big return on – they are expensive to secure space, and expensive to haul your stuff and staff – and you can get lost in the noise of dozens of other companies just like yours. Smaller, more localized events, though, can have a nice return. While you won’t be getting a huge quantity of leads, you will likely have more time to spend with the people you do meet, and you won’t be competing with too many other companies like yours.

Direct Mail – The options for direct mail vary from mass mailers that can cost a fortune for printing and postage, to smaller, more cost-effective efforts. In my experience, stay away from mass mailings. The return is very low. However, neighborhood mailers from companies like Quantum Digital can have a decent return. When you are able to choose a select set of streets to mail to, you can keep your cost down by doing small runs, and you can piggyback on other efforts. For example, if Joe’s Roofing is doing a nice roof on Maple Street, Joe’s team knows when the install is happening. If they have their marketing efforts in sync, they can log into the mailer system, and choose Maple Street and its surrounding streets to mail to. Then, while his crew is there with their trucks (that have great signage) and there’s a nice job sign in the yard, the neighbors will receive a “We’re working in your neighborhood!” mailer. Bam! You have 3 solid hits to an entire neighborhood with very little cost.

Why Home Improvement Loans

Imagine the scenario: you’re ready to buy your first house. But you don’t have the cash lying around to buy your dream house, so you decide to settle on a fixer-upper that you’ll spend your free time turning into the perfect home. If you’ve been through the home buying process this already, then you probably remember this quite well. In fact, buying a fixer upper in need of major TLC is a rite of passage for many homeowners. Tons of first homes need work done like re-painting, deck repair, all new floors and wallpaper or an extra bathroom.

Of course the problem is that most first time home buyers simply don’t have the funds to pay for these home improvements after closing on their mortgage. So they go into a do-it-yourself mode. Sometimes they use home improvement loans to help pay for the work. Other times they do all the work on nights and weekends. Maybe the financing comes from credit cards. Sometimes, it’s all one terrible experience. This begs the question: Why do home improvement loans suck?

    1. They take too much time. From the bidding process for the work, to the actual upgrades and construction to moving day, it can be very time-consuming. Many borrowers say closing a home improvement loan takes more than 3 months, and might never even close. An efficient lender who understands the home improvement loan process should be able to get your loan closed in a little more than a month. Sometimes even less time than that.
    1. Renovation mortgages are too much work. Yes this option will take more paperwork. After all, the bid process alone can add a lot of extra work to the process. However, working with an experienced mortgage consultant will help you avoid the extra work, requiring mostly just extra signatures.
    1. No one understands programs like FHA 203k or HomePath Renovation. It’s true that many real estate agents haven’t heard about some of the options for financing upgrades. Many deals die because the buyer sees a house they like but there may be a few things they’d like to change. The challenge to home improvement loans lies with the effort to help educate real estate professionals and buyers alike.
    1. Do it yourself work is a real pain. Putting in a new kitchen takes time and skill, and doing all on your own isn’t likely something you want to do. Same with a bathroom, wider hallways for wheelchair access or painting the entire house. Again, it’s not something you may want to do, and that’s okay. Home improvement loans are generally for paying a professional to do the work. They’re not really for the DIY crowd.
    1. Buying a new home is easier than buying a fixer-upper. This is certainly true in many cases, but it’s not always feasible. And with so many homes on the market today under the foreclosure cloud, you can actually find a great deal on a fixer-upper and roll the cost of the repairs right into the monthly payment! Plus, older houses have more character than subdivision cookie-cutters.
    1. They are expensive. Home improvement loans generally come with a little higher interest rate, it’s true. Interest rates are based in part on risk. Paying for home improvements can be risky, as the after-improved value is used to predict the future worth of the house. But the difference between a home improvement loan and a regular mortgage is pretty low. It’s definitely lower than the cost of financing the work and materials on a credit card!
  1. Store credit is so much easier to get. Again, this may be true, but you’ll pay a much higher rate than a home improvement loan and you’ll have to do the work yourself. If that’s your goal, then a home improvement loan isn’t for you.

Home improvement loans are definitely not for everyone. There’s no doubt that they take a little extra time and work. Sometimes you can find a newer home that needs less work for a good price. And that’s okay. Go for it. But if you find a home that’s average and needs your personal touch with a few upgrades and renovations, then a home improvement loan just may be your next step. Good luck in the house hunting, and let us know if there’s some way we can help!

Enjoy These Home Improvement Ideas

Well, you’ve decided to improve your home. Good for you! However, there is so much information that you may not have a clue where to begin. Don’t worry, home improvement tips are here! Listed below are some tips that will help you get started and organized so that you can become a home improvement expert.

New wallpaper can transform a room. Before you add wallpaper, you need to find out what type of wall is under the existing wallpaper. Usually walls are either drywall or plaster smoothed over lath. You can figure out what kind of wall you are dealing with by feeling the wall, plaster is harder, smoother, and colder than drywall. You can also try tapping the wall, drywall sounds hollow while plaster does not.

If you are looking for home improvement, don’t forget the outside areas of your home too. If you love fish, you may want to consider putting in a Koi pond. They look beautiful, and they can be customized to match the look of your backyard or be made the focal point.

If you have a small bathroom and not enough space to store your items, you can easily create some space yourself. Buy some wooden shelves and install them on your bathroom wall. Display your lotions, perfumes and other beauty items on the shelves as well as your smaller towels or toilet paper rolls. This will not only give your bathroom a decorative boost, it will also organize it.

Before beginning a home improvement project, make a list of the actions you think will need to be taken from start to finish. Obtain a second opinion from a trusted source to see if there are any steps you missed or anything you didn’t take into account. Plan to set aside plenty of time for your project, as it might take longer than expected.

The shingles on your roof will at some point need to be replaced. As asphalt shingles get older, they start to lose the bound granules and curl up on the corners of the sheets. If you are experiencing leaks that have gone through the ceiling, then it is definitely time to lay down a new roof. Otherwise, if your roof has lost several shingles, this is a less drastic but firm indication that it’s time to replace the roof.

When you are getting ready to deep clean your deck, make sure you have all of your materials ready before hand. Some of the things you will need to get together are a pressure washer, a nice sturdy scrub brush, commercial deck cleaner, a hose, and a hefty broom you can use outdoors.

Before beginning home improvements apply for the appropriate building permits. Any home improvement that involves plumbing, electricity, or structural changes can require a permit. Check your local laws. If you proceed without a permit then you can be fined or it could make the house harder to sell in the future.

When it comes to home improvement, be sure that you are not causing your home to awkwardly stand out from the rest of the neighborhood. This will ensure you will be able to resell it and also, that you will not receive scorn from your neighbors. Be creative, but try to lean toward conservative with colors. With additions, keep your the total size of your home somewhat near that of your neighbors.

If you live in an older home with a wooden floor that is beyond sanding and staining, add a few coats of oil-based paint over the planks. Choose a paint that is intended for outdoor use on decks or porches; this ensures that it will be able to withstand the occasional wet spill and light traffic. It can also hold you over until you have the resources to replace the floor altogether.

If you want to make your house shine then look to the curb appeal. First impressions are important with people, and they are just as important to your home. Consider repainting if your color is fading or is dated, and choose colors and other details that fit into the era of your house.

You should feel better after reading those tips when it comes to home improvement. That was a lot to think and read through, but at least you should have an idea of what to do and where to begin with improving your home safer and smarter. In addition, you can always come back to this list.

Home Improvement Contractor

Many residents who live in the US find the need to make home improvements season by season. The main reason for doing these is to make their homes look newer, improve on the architecture, bring new technologies in the home and even increase the value of their homes. All the above services can be hired from different US contractors spread all over different cities.

Some home improvement jobs for hire:

Different clients who want to hire contractors have choices to make from the available services. Some of the jobs include treating the windows, roofs and doors. Other home owners will hire the contractors to remodel the homes while others will pay for the storm drain repair, insulation needs, plastering needs, glass work jobs and even carpentry services.

Factors to put in place when looking for a contractor:

It is obvious that different home owners have different needs when it comes to their home improvement. The first thing to consider is the type of home improvement. For example a person who requires roofing facelift must check on the different roofing experts in their locations. It will be awkward when looking for a roof fixing expert and you head to a company that has expertise in storm drain remodeling.

Secondly one has to consider the pricing. Many companies will charge different prices. This will depend on the services offered. When a client is looking for any of the services, then they must compare the prices to be paid. This can be done by checking various online sites for the services offered by each company and initial charges.

In addition, some of the US home improvement companies have been in the business for a number of years therefore they have a good reputation. When a home owner is getting the services, it is only ideal to consider the companies that have worked in various cities and many people are recommending them. These reputable companies have the latest technologies to deal with any jobs offered.

The technology used:

Due to the competition among various US service providers, the home owner must get some information about the technology used to finish the jobs given. For example, a home owner seeking to improve the insulation around the home can check the companies with the best materials and technology to help in insulation remodeling. Since they know the requirements, then they will have to choose the best.


In some parts, it is impossible to get specialists to solve a particular need. So this will mean importing the services from a neighboring state. This will translate to higher payments. To reduce the operation costs, they service provider needs to be contacted online to reduce the costs.

Offers made:

Some companies providing US home improvement services have various offers for different improvement jobs. In order to get the best at reduced prices, the home owner should ensure they take advantage of the discounts given on any service that will reduce the costs significantly.

The US home improvement has improved in the recent days as more people contact the experts to give a facelift to their homes. With these services available, home owners can pay smaller fees to ensure their homes look good every time.