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Chief Reporter of Spam
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6,643 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve always enjoyed stopping in this end of the forum and reading up about different tips, conversations etc… on websites-design and marketing. Two years ago I started a thread that you may remember http://www.contractortalk.com/f101/wheres-computer-geeks-110288/ and lately I’ve put some thought to where I was with a cheap/free site and what I’ve gained after hiring a pro. I’m obviously no Donald Trump, however, I thought I’d share some of my experience and tips because there is always the same style traffic of contractors looking for a website… most want cheap or the next best thing to free so my advice on the front side is to treat this like one of your legitimate customers. Find out where the value lies vs. the dollars spent. You have to research a web designer just like a homeowner researches YOU.

My previous site was a free jobber from Microsoft and for what I paid… no real complaints because it was enough to get started with something. I had a couple leads and I think I sold 2 smaller bathroom jobs which totaled close to 10k. At that time, I was on the downside of acquiring many great customers from AL (meaning that after they started advertising every 3 minutes on tv and radio brought in a new crowd of window shoppers) and had a feeling that I needed to boost something on the marketing side.

After I started a thread on the matter created an explosion of conversation and I was frantically reading tons of PM’s from many members. Although I only received 2 quotes, I spent time looking around both member recommendations and local places. For my preference, I couldn’t find much that interested me and landed on some designer’s sites that had next to no information or examples. A huge part of my decision was solely on the person (Carl) who relates to me in many ways as a working class person from a blue collar family, down to earth, outdoors person etc…

Enough of that guy:laughing: but here are some things you need to know.
• Your site will not become successful overnight. It took a good 8 months to really bring the full experience with positive leads flowing from search.
• A good site will keep conversions on your page longer with greater chances of contact.
• If you don’t already have one… Get a good camera! You will need something decent (with a tripod) to capture nice, clear shots of your work.
• If you think that even though you are paying top dollar (whatever that amount is) for a site that it will run itself and be awesome… you may as well stop reading right now and get some crap from craigslist. You must have a large hand in things like blogs, listings, content, ideas for new pages etc…
• Although now is a good time to purchase a website. Don’t bank on boosting your spring season… just go with the flow and have patience.

For me, it took until the last quarter of the first year where I had a frenzy of good contact and sold 25k in a weeks time. This year (aside from referral business etc…) I sold 85k from inquiries looked at a total of 250k and lost about 85k over the phone based on being scheduled so far out. The work that I lost over the phone has been enough to expand a little and bring some new subs for 2014 which I’m working on because that was a stinger.
 

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Chief Reporter of Spam
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6,643 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have so much work out there even before I decided to take cell phone pictures:blink:
Right now I have a Samsung wb100. It's not the best but does a lot better than a celly:laughing:
 

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Non-conformist
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1,581 Posts
The number one issue I have with contractors is images. Get a high end camera and learn how to use it!!!! Better yet, hire a pro for high end projects and find a knowledgeable hobbyist for routine projects. If your photography skills are lacking, the most profitable thing you can do for your business is get someone else to take your photos. Take the time you would spend learning to be a better photographer and become a better contractor instead. Your bottom line will thank you for it.

Todd, your statement about how contractors want clients to pay their premium while they aren't willing to hire a web pro is nothing new but still funny. Your experience is consistent with what will happen in almost every case. By expecting HO's to hire you when your site screams "Look ma I did it myself" is ludicrous to the extreme. You get back what you put in and life will always work that way. A DIY or cheap site is more often a gift to your competition than much value to you.
 

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Chief Reporter of Spam
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6,643 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I like the analogy that a cheap site is a gift to competition. Very true.

I focus my photos at a medium to medium-high look. At some point there can be overkill but the quality of a camera is also specific to the work you do. Since I'm in a lot of small bathrooms, I feel my equipment is good and takes nice enough photos to get the point across. Now if I had a much larger job of a kitchen or finished basement... I know people:drink:
 
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