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  • 1.  Network

    Posted 01-03-2018 17:43
    Has anyone on this list have or had any good experiences with either HomeAdvisor or Porch for a acquiring projects?



    Kathy Prochnow, AIA

  • 2.  RE: Network

    Posted 01-04-2018 17:30
    Have not heard of Porch.
    Talked to HomeAdvisor and contractors who have used HomeAdvisor. They do not screen their leads like they say they do.

    John A. Feick, AIA, CSI, LEED AP
    224 East Water Street
    Sandusky, Ohio 44870
    419-625-2554 (w)
    419-656-3017 (c)

  • 3.  RE: Network

    Posted 01-05-2018 18:20

    Hi Kathy:

    I am a one person office and have been a member of Home Advisor (Formerly Service Magic) since 2009 and have tracked the returns up to the start of 2017 and it has provided almost 40% of my projects during that time.  Many of these clients have become return clients and my signs on the construction fence have brought in more clients and I have not factored those into my 40%. It took me a year after starting my own office during the great economy of 2008 and after doing several of my neighbor's small projects, I decided that I needed another form of connecting with potential clients.  While there are many forms of getting the word out, advertising (online advertising) was the one that seemed to be the most likely approach to cast the widest net for the fewest dollars.  My original feeling was that spending money without having a definite return was a difficult mental hurdle.  However, after I jumped in, it was a savior especially during those leaner years.  They have provided a 9:1 return on the advertising costs over that time.  I spend about $2500/year on lead generation and I can determine how many leads per month (lead budget) they will send to me.  I can also turn off the leads for two weeks at a time and I can do that easily online and consecutively. 

    Note - per the other responses, yes, there are bogus leads - shoppers just looking for free information, potential clients who are not aware of actual construction costs or reasonable design fees, no response to a return phone call or e-mail, etc and they are frustrating.  On many occasions, I have called Home Advisor and stated that the latest lead was not a valid lead (phone number doesn't work, an architect testing the system - yes - it has happened several times, etc.) and they have researched it and removed the charge or sent me a new replacement lead - not always but many times.  There are also claims by some of the potential clients that several (more than anticipated) architects responded to their request and so one wonders how many architects were sent the lead.  However, in the long run it has been well worth it. 

    The best way that I have found to at least get your foot in the door is to call the lead contact right back (within minutes - not hours) as soon as the lead comes through.  Many times, the first one who calls gets the project.  I also do not charge for an initial visit.   

    Right now, I have put my leads on hold as I am busy enough and do not wish to bring on employees just to bring in more work.   


    Bill Gregory, AIA


    Arcelab Inc. Architects

    7480 S. Osage Ave.

    Los Angeles, CA 90045

    Cell - 310-507-5434

    Fax - 310-910-0483

    Web Site - www.arcelab.com

  • 4.  RE: Network

    Posted 01-08-2018 17:45
    "Thumbtack" is another service.

    Service provider signs up, picks categories of work, selects a geographic radius, and gets notices.  If you choose to reply, and are one of the first 6 to do so, your reply of a few hundred words goes to the possible customer.  If they don't read it in a few days, your fee is refunded.

    Customer has a few bits of information to fill out - description of project, timetable, services they think they need.

    In its current mode, they charge you to reply to inquiries ($10-$15).  At least, potentially, you're only competing with 5 others.

    If you identify as an architect, you will get "leads" for everything from "need drawings for kitchen rebuild" to "structural review of house, we want to take out a wall that might be a bearing wall", and from time to time some decent projects, residential and commercial.

    Because of the service radius factor, I get inquiries that are within my circle, but in the wrong direction.  Those, and the ones with almost all information blank, or the ones with impossibly short timelines, I just ignore.

    I have used the service (free to customer, btw) to try to round up simple structural engineering resources (houses which don't quite meet IRC 'braced wall' criteria, typically) but that didn't pan out last year.

    As far as success - I've sought out a few jobs (maybe 1 a month) and snagged maybe 1/4 of those.  So, pretty cheap.

    Joel Niemi AIA
    Joel Niemi Architect
    Snohomish, WA

  • 5.  RE: Network

    Posted 01-04-2018 17:36
    I used to use Home Advisor for years (maybe 3-4) back when it was Service Magic. I believe it is still the same format. I used to keep records of every request that I purchased. It's been a while, but just guessing without digging out those records, I'll say I purchased maybe three dozen residential leads, and perhaps a half dozen commercial leads. In all that time, I only got one job which was fortunately a pretty decent one. In effect, the fee I received from that one job paid for all of the other leads I purchased! After trying to contact all of the other leads (immediately after purchasing), the majority never got back. Those that did I was generally able to meet with maybe half of those. They never led to anything either. I finally came to the conclusion that the greater majority of the applicants were simply window shoppers. It was as if someone got online after having a wild brainstorm one night, imagining that they could do some glorious addition to their home, and made a request. After all, it didn't cost them anything. Then they proceeded to tell their spouse what they'd done and their partner's response was "NO WAY!" So, the first thing next morning when I tried to contact them there was no chance they were going to respond. I've had phone conversations with (now) Home Advisor to express my concern about how they screen their applicants. They were very polite and diplomatic, but they weren't going to give up their model. I simply got tired of flushing my time and money down the toilet. Unless you're willing to work a lot of volume on a really cheap fee basis, I do not recommend using this service.

    Gregory McMenamin AIA
    McMenamin Design Associates, LLC
    Louisville CO

  • 6.  RE: Network

    Posted 01-05-2018 17:34
    I agree with Gregory's comments above.  I recently dropped Home Advisor - I've been getting much better results with Houzz.com where I'm paying a fixed sum each month to be promoted on their site.  I feel like I am getting better leads and I have more control over things.  I also like that I've been able to post what is essentially a virtual portfolio of my work on Houzz.com.

    Robert Larsen AIA
    Robert R. Larsen, A.I.A.
    Denver CO

  • 7.  RE: Network

    Posted 01-05-2018 17:41
    I too subscribe to Home Advisor, but after numerous dead end residential leads, have my leads only set to commercial - which did yield one good commission last fall.  I tested Home Advisor once.  I just wanted to browse other architects in my locale.  As soon as I clicked on "architects", my phone rang.  It was an architect (a friend of mine).  He called the blind number and was charged $42.  I told him I just wanted to see his site.  I didn't fill out any paper work, nor was their any financial committment by me. Just clicked out of curiosity and they immediatley contacted (and charged) an architect! 

    This seems to be the problem with HA - unqualified leads!  90% don't pick up the call or respond to an email.  Of the 1/3 that I have actually been able to talk to (after hounding them) most are baffled - indicating they were not "serious" about hiring an architect!  

    I am not sure what legally constitutes a "sales lead"?  If it is nothing more than a person showing mild interest, than these would be "leads".  But, from my experience, very few of them interested in actually hiring an architect for theor project. 

    Edward J. Shannon, Architect

  • 8.  RE: Network

    Posted 01-05-2018 10:55

    Can't say that I have. After hearing about clients' bad experiences with their contractors I wrote the site off.


    John Dugger, AIA




    J S Dugger, AIA & Associates

    Phone: 978-618-3391

    Member American Institute of Architects



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