News & Opinions
The latest news and insights from Hanley Wood’s outspoken experts and key thought-leaders throughout the residential and commercial design and construction industry.
Sites for Sore Eyes
Stacey Freed / REMODELING / April 23, 2013
Consumer-driven sites leave contractors no choice but to play the game
Simply put, online review sites ask consumers to rate businesses from which they have received services or purchased products. Other consumers read those reviews and use the information to make informed decisions — turning those sites into lead generators.
Angie’s List and Yelp are the two largest, most widely known sites, but there are others such as Manta, Google+, and Hotfrog (international); remodeling industry–specific sites such as HomeAdvisor (formerly ServiceMagic); local/regional sites such as Kudzu (South); “hyperlocal” sites such as Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Park Slope Parents; and sites that have a wider purview than just consumer reviews such as GuildQuality and Houzz Pro+.
In the review category, Angie’s List is the biggest player, but it’s anybody’s guess as to how these sites will shake out, with newcomers such as Porch and YouNeedMyGuy, which use a consumer’s own social networks to share business referrals. (See Friendly Recommendation.)
While consumers are looking for a good contractor, contractors are looking for good leads.
For some contractors, such as Dan Wolt, owner of Zen Windows, in Columbus, Ohio, Angie’s List offers leads that “are far and away the best. They are gold.” Because Zen Windows gets consistently high reviews, Wolt says that often, when he gets in touch with a prospect from Angie’s List, “they don’t question anything; it’s like they’re talking to the president of the United States.” They buy from him straight away based solely on his Angie’s ratings.