Solid advice about calling about residential jobs in the area. However, I would not use price alone as a litmus test. I do agree that subscriptions to lists of leads are probably overpriced for the amount of time they save, but I think $10 over 5 days is well worth it. I will use your advice, though.The truth? You get what you pay for.
Just like everything else, these leads companies are making a lot of cut backs. They think a computer program (spider) which crawls the net and grabs leads is good enough for their subscribers.
Feel free to try BidClerk, but see it for what it is... Take any project they have, and run it through Google and you'll begin to see how "valuable" they are.
The real test is this:
Call any lead company and ask about two or three private sector projects (make it tough by asking for residential projects which rarely get published anywhere). If they have living human beings reporting on genuine work, they should have at least two of the three jobs posted on their service. Yeah they're a lot more expensive, but worth every penny.
So if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
How often do you close with SM?I use Service Magic for a lead provider with a low budget, BUT I'd say only 30% of those leads are actually worth anything. Some are fake information, some are just browsing, and then you compete with up to 4 others from service magic for the project, not to mention if the homeowner calls around too. I don't make much overall at it, but it promotes my business and gives me repeat customers which is where I make money. I wouldnt expect lead generating companies to give you a get rich quick atmosphere. Maybe a few years ago it may have seemed like it. With my sub-contract work, Service Magic, and my own grass roots advertising, I do well. I could do without service magic, but I see it as another avenue for spreading the word. I wouldnt recommend it to someone starting out because with my criteria, I pay up to $50 for one lead. If you are new, you may not have the capital to make that type of investment.