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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I get this text from out of state number wants me to bid on a job near by with a link. I text back who are you what's this about. The say they are "Friend Trusted" a contractor referral service (already not interested) then describes a petty little job in the next town over. I ask how they found me. Found you thru a review company website (in other words we used our competitions service to find you) . I ask them to not contact me as I am not interested. This is all through texting.

I get home do a little research. So homeowner needs something done. Uploads this free app. Takes a picture of said project or video. Sends it to "friend trusted" through the app. And waits for bids to roll in all while not having to speak with anyone in person. And picks a contractor. They are/use-to offer 1% of project cost back to customer to drum up business.

I see train wreck written all over this for a contractor.

1 not being able to see the project in person.

2 not knowing what the customer is like (serious. High maintenance. Holding onto info that may cause friction later in project)

3 competition spying on you or pulling something

4 if they aren't charging customer and possibly giving customer money. Guess who has to pay the "trusted friend" company?

This is like sending a video of your tummy ache and having ten doctors diagnose you from the video and then you choose the doctor to treat you. (Could be indigestion or cancer)

Anyways has anyone used this company? The only thing I find not just looking at their website is other blogs and articles about it followed by tons of comments like "oh my gosh I love this idea.......I'm going to go load up the app to my smartphone right away" and my favorite 'gosh this is a great idea I should go get a smartphone so I can use this app" (really? Who doesn't have a smart phone unless your an old person that doesn't want one or a contractor that refuses to learn new tricks) and very few that have actually used it.

Thoughts? Advice?
 

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Earlier this year I got a text in the middle of the night from them about a job. It wanted me to price the project with just a small description and picture. I put 0 and commented that without looking at the job I couldn't give a price. The lady contacted me and we set up an appointment. I met with her, got an idea of what she wanted and told her I would get a basic price worked up, if she accepted that we would move onto to the sketching process.
After the company calling me many times to tell me I needed to set up an appointment with the lady (I don't need a secretary and I really don't need yet someone else calling me multiple times a week) I got aggravated and told them to stop calling me, that I didn't set up any profile on their site. The guy told me they pulled contractor information from the net and set up profiles, I told him to take me off his list and remove me from the site. They want a 10% cut of the job minus materials.
If I had signed up for the service that is one thing but I don't like all the unsolicited sales calls I get, Angies list is bad enough but I did sign up for the service so I deal with it.
After the call with the rep the lady contacted me a day or two later and said some financial stuff came up and they would be postponing the project. Really didn't want to do it anyway, house was plain gross. Whether it was related to me tell the company to pound sand or not I will never know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
10% ?!?!?! Frick'n crazy. It amazes me that these "connection" type companies think they are gods gift to contractors like we wouldn't be on this planet without them? Newsflash its the other way around.

Home owners will find someone to work on their properties. We have the tools and knowledge to do the work. I guess contractors didn't exist before the referral companies. Or before the internet. Or before the yellow pages. Or before the news paper.

As much as I am not a fan of Angie's lists marketing program that you can pay for to be "featured", I do really like their platform of reviewers pay to read reviews and to post reviews. Its weeds out the cheapo whiner that has a keyboard and a grudge against the world. The thing about the internet is that the world can now reach out with lightening speed and unlimited distance to insult tons of strangers that before the internet they would have never wasted a breath to complain about nor have the guts to say it to their face.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
jlsconstruction said:
What are you doing up at 3am taking a screenshot?

So if you build a house for someone spend more then a year dealing with a customer you pay them 5% of $200k for them to take 20 seconds to introduce you to someone? (no thanks....pass)

So 10 contractors chase their tail to bid on a job with a picture or video. One gets the job and 9 wasted their time and make no money. And the "Friendster" gets over paid every time.

I got a better idea charge the customer $200 to find contractors. get as many contractors to give bid. Give $50each to the top 3 most quality bids (not cheapest) under bidders and over bidders would rarely get the $50 thus weeding them out. The $200 would weed out customers that aren't serious about doing projects. Win win win
 

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I think that this is a good idea. It's not a good business practice but this is great for the "paper" contractors who are afraid of meeting customers face to face and it's even better for the HO's who believe everything that they see on TV.

I say let them fight it out between themselves while freeing up the rest of us who are serious HO's who want work done by serious contractors.
 

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What are you doing up at 3am taking a screenshot?

So if you build a house for someone spend more then a year dealing with a customer you pay them 5% of $200k for them to take 20 seconds to introduce you to someone? (no thanks....pass)

So 10 contractors chase their tail to bid on a job with a picture or video. One gets the job and 9 wasted their time and make no money. And the "Friendster" gets over paid every time.

I got a better idea charge the customer $200 to find contractors. get as many contractors to give bid. Give $50each to the top 3 most quality bids (not cheapest) under bidders and over bidders would rarely get the $50 thus weeding them out. The $200 would weed out customers that aren't serious about doing projects. Win win win
That's when I got up, and I don't think people are looking to get a house built of there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's when I got up, and I don't think people are looking to get a house built of there.
I was being cheeky about building a house. Probably biggest thing is addition or kitchen/bath remod. But 10% or even 5% is just too much. I have a feeling this model won't last long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think that this is a good idea. It's not a good business practice but this is great for the "paper" contractors who are afraid of meeting customers face to face and it's even better for the HO's who believe everything that they see on TV.

I say let them fight it out between themselves while freeing up the rest of us who are serious HO's who want work done by serious contractors.
Agreed! I hate wasting my time on people that are either overly under appreciable of a skilled person (it took them less then a half hour to remodel the kitchen on TV and that's including commercials).

I had a young couple call me over for some projects. We went into some sort of poorly converted porch into room conversion. She waved her hands out in front of her in several directions and asked "how much to remodel this room?" And then looked at me. I raised an eyebrow and asked how she wanted it remodeled. She says "I don't know.......I just want to know how much to remodel it?" Huh that's weird they never became a customer too bad they didn't have an iPhone app named "friend trusted" they can just waive the phone around and get answers.
 

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I've started researching these Lead Generating Services such as Friend Trusted, Bid Clerk and Home Adviser Pro.

One thing I like about Friend trusted is that it's APP driven. It's designed for people to find a quick quote over their phone or tablet. Like it or not it's how society is going, everything at a click of the button. I'm new to the business which is why I was researching these services so I don't know all of the ins and outs of building a business. Everything has a drawback I'm sure. It's no different than someone calling and saying "my spring is broken on my garage door, how much to fix it?". You still have to contact the customer and set up an appointment to visit and look at it.

I made an account on their website today and this is how it works from what I read. The customer puts in the request for the job they want and is encouraged to post a picture. The customer will only be given 3 quotes, I don't know how many contractors they notify. To reply to the customer it's $5 bucks, but there is no charge to get the lead, only to contact. They state on their website the fee is 5% capped at $500. So if it's a $100,000 project they only take $500. Though I doubt $100,000 projects will be common. This seems like something for the homeowner that wants things at the click of a button and quickly. I assume that someone who is wanting serious work done will go a more traditional route.

I agree the best way to build your business is with quality work and old school networking. But I think a service like this would be useful to pick up some extra jobs while we grow our customer base and land more subcontracting and commercial jobs. I just don't think you can fight the future. I'm sure in 1990's plenty of people were like "I don't need a website". Now everything is going toward mobile apps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've started researching these Lead Generating Services such as Friend Trusted, Bid Clerk and Home Adviser Pro.

One thing I like about Friend trusted is that it's APP driven. It's designed for people to find a quick quote over their phone or tablet. Like it or not it's how society is going, everything at a click of the button. I'm new to the business which is why I was researching these services so I don't know all of the ins and outs of building a business. Everything has a drawback I'm sure. It's no different than someone calling and saying "my spring is broken on my garage door, how much to fix it?". You still have to contact the customer and set up an appointment to visit and look at it.

I made an account on their website today and this is how it works from what I read. The customer puts in the request for the job they want and is encouraged to post a picture. The customer will only be given 3 quotes, I don't know how many contractors they notify. To reply to the customer it's $5 bucks, but there is no charge to get the lead, only to contact. They state on their website the fee is 5% capped at $500. So if it's a $100,000 project they only take $500. Though I doubt $100,000 projects will be common. This seems like something for the homeowner that wants things at the click of a button and quickly. I assume that someone who is wanting serious work done will go a more traditional route.

I agree the best way to build your business is with quality work and old school networking. But I think a service like this would be useful to pick up some extra jobs while we grow our customer base and land more subcontracting and commercial jobs. I just don't think you can fight the future. I'm sure in 1990's plenty of people were like "I don't need a website". Now everything is going toward mobile apps.
Ohhhhh.........."Take the stone from my hand grasshopper! " I am betting on one of two scenarios. ........

*You work for or own the app company.

Or

*You are super nieve on how to not waste your time as a small business owner.

If it's the latter then this would be good experience for you to run in circles and spend money that You don't have. More on that if that's the case.

My gut guess is that the first applies since a couple of things. This is your first post and if you were in biz for you self you seem too detailed about them and too fact answering rather then asking questions. Yet you mention several other lead services that "you've done your homework on" but didn't say anything about them! Yes yes I know I asked about them first so thus you only talked about them. And if you are associated with them then just come out and state it. I am much more open to talking with someone from the company that is up front with who they are. Thanks everyone for feed back and is trying to improve their service by working out the kinks with us rather then pretending to be one of us it is just belittling.

If the female model for Dewalt tools asks "what do you think of Dewalt tools?" You know she just wants attention for the event and cannot or will not fix the issues you may have with their tools. But if the guy next to her says he is the CEO of black and decker and asks "have you ever had problems with Dewalt tools?" Then you are about to have a deep discussion and here is the one shot that someone can do something about it and quick.
 

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I filled out one "rough estimate" for a kitchen in my area. The homeowner gave a fairly accurate description, as well as 4 pictures. You getto tell the homeowner a rough number, as well as an area to describe your company. They want 5 bucks to set up the appointment, then if you sell the job, 5 percent of the job up to 500 bucks. That was about a week ago, now I'm getting 1-2 texts a day with jobs containing a very vague description (I.e. Paint my house) which I'm not interested in at all.

I'm not really into the idea that much, but the nice thing is I can be selective and choose jobs that interest me. We'll see.
 

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I am an electrical contractor here in Western North Carolina, and I first encountered the Friend Trusted service when I got a text from them stating a “Free Lead” has come in for you. Although I did not subscribe or pay anything to receive this lead, I was intrigued so I responded. It was cool because the homeowner was looking for a complete kitchen remodel wiring ballpark estimate here in Arden NC. I was able to respond with a rough estimate and was given the flexibility to insert a bid note that said what and what not the estimate included ( I also gave a mini commercial pumping up my qualifications to the homeowner).
It worked out well because I was able to meet with the customer a couple of days later. They charged me a small fee to see the customer’s info, I think it was to make sure I was serious. Anyway, I met with customer, firmed up my bid, and got the job.
This was not bad for getting a lead out of the blue! I have now done 3 jobs for them and they all have been profitable motivated home owners.
All I can say is keep the jobs coming Friend Trusted because their service is a great way to supplement my other marketing efforts without any upfront cost or risk.
AAA Buncombe Electric
NC Electrical License #28304
 

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I filled out one "rough estimate" for a kitchen in my area. The homeowner gave a fairly accurate description, as well as 4 pictures. You getto tell the homeowner a rough number, as well as an area to describe your company. They want 5 bucks to set up the appointment, then if you sell the job, 5 percent of the job up to 500 bucks. That was about a week ago, now I'm getting 1-2 texts a day with jobs containing a very vague description (I.e. Paint my house) which I'm not interested in at all.

I'm not really into the idea that much, but the nice thing is I can be selective and choose jobs that interest me. We'll see.
The danger that I see with these types of sites is the total disconnect between contractor and client.
These leads you do not answer may well be viable leads but from an unexperienced homeowner.
In thier niavety they provided a poor description but in reality they called upon you and you failed to respond.
This type of situation could turn into a negative rumor regarding your company.
I have a few listings on some of the more popular sites such as Angies and Thumbtack. These listings state right in my description that we do not participate in this service and all inquiries should be directed to the number listed.
Many people have contacted me directly because of that statement.

All in all I think that these lead companies are just bad news for the industry. There is a lot of guys who spend alot of time and money for websites and these lead services score higher in teh spider results so they show up on the first few pages of most general construction queries rather than the contractor's website.
These services also completely remove your ability to control your own reputation and your sales pitch is gone, replaced by thier representation of you.

Before endorsing or participating in one of these sites please really comprehend all the ways this will afffect your business methods, and remember, if the web fails to return any results then they will resort back to the time tested old fashioned referral.
 

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Friend Trusted is Not Bad for the Industry

The danger that I see with these types of sites is the total disconnect between contractor and client.
These leads you do not answer may well be viable leads but from an unexperienced homeowner.
In thier niavety they provided a poor description but in reality they called upon you and you failed to respond.
This type of situation could turn into a negative rumor regarding your company.
I have a few listings on some of the more popular sites such as Angies and Thumbtack. These listings state right in my description that we do not participate in this service and all inquiries should be directed to the number listed.
Many people have contacted me directly because of that statement.

All in all I think that these lead companies are just bad news for the industry. There is a lot of guys who spend alot of time and money for websites and these lead services score higher in teh spider results so they show up on the first few pages of most general construction queries rather than the contractor's website.
These services also completely remove your ability to control your own reputation and your sales pitch is gone, replaced by thier representation of you.

Before endorsing or participating in one of these sites please really comprehend all the ways this will afffect your business methods, and remember, if the web fails to return any results then they will resort back to the time tested old fashioned referral.
I have been involved with Friend Trusted for 4 jobs now and I there is no disconnect because it is simply a way for the customers to put their job out there without having to deal with calling contractors that they may be intimidated to deal with or not having the time to call three or more. Once the contact it made, it is the responsibility of the pro to close the deal just like they would any other job! Who would not want a job that has no upfront cost or risk associated with it?
 
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