Online Directories vs Traditional Online Marketing for General Contractors

The Fall of Third-Party Online Marketing Schemes? Why Sites like HomeAdvisor, Houzz & Angie’s List Might Not be the Right Online Marketing Approach for General Contractors

Home Advisor

HomeAdvisor is a website that allows homeowners to search for professionals, such as contractors, in the home services industry. It’s a relatively straightforward process, with homeowners submitting for a project they need completing directly on the HomeAdvisor website. HomeAdvisor has patented ProFinder technology that will identify almost instantly the relevant professionals for the job.

However, just like other third-party advertising (more below) channels for contractors, HomeAdvisor has pros and cons, which can be very challenging in determining if this particular channel is right for your marketing needs.

Angies List

Founded in 1995, Angie’s list is the oldest online directory for home services. This one is a bit like one of those success stories we love to hear about or read about on social media. It was created after Angie Hicks attempted to find a contractor online with little success.

So, at the end of the day this means Angie’s List has 20 years’ worth of reviews generated by their members. Angie’s list has been at it forever, and is by far one of the best for home contractors online. Again however, just like HomeAdvisor, there are pros and cons, and we’re going to explain later on about how lead generation, SEO and general online marketing might better serve you and your business.


Finally, in our last example of online directory sites for home services, we present Houzz. Houzz attracts over 25 million visitors to their website, so they have plenty of contractors listed. They also have content that provides design ideas and inspiration for your home renos or DIY ideas. Although they do offer free profiles, they are a lead generation website nonetheless. If you create an account or submit a request you will be contacted be several different contractors. Their business model is a bit different than the rest because they do not just sell leads, they also sell products on their site.

Okay, now you know! And we promise we are making some valid and good points here, so please keep reading to find out why you need traditional marketing to actually get quality leads and make loads of money!

Traditional Marketing – Lead Generation, SEO & Content…Oh My!

Let’s be completely honest here; we know the internet is a big place, we also won’t try to kid you that competing online is challenging. However, we are willing to bet Friday’s pizza that there are a few things you didn’t know about competing online, and that ranking top 10 on Google is well within your grasp!

Let’s quickly run through the pros and cons of third-party sites like the one’s above when it comes to promoting your general contracting business for home services.

HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List & Houzz – The Pros and Cons

Home Advisor

  • Requires a background check from the contractors.
  • Contractors must have financial house in order and good reviews
  • Service free to consumers

Angie's List

  • Over 20 years’ worth of reviews
  • Provide homeowners with support
  • Boasts 10 million verified users


  • Allows consumers to browse list of contractors first
  • Customers can post reviews
  • Completely free for consumer
  • Q&A forum for homeowners and contractors

The Big Cons all 3 Have in Common

For the consumer, when it comes to the cons of all three, one big one that stands out is how your contact information is being sold as a lead. HomeAdvisor even goes as far as forcing you through a series of qualifying questions to match with a local contractor, who isn’t actually local! Angie’s List allows contractors to buy their way to the top, so, if you are a contractor just getting started, that’s not very fair now is it? You are automatically being undercut as a contractor, unless you are willing to pay.

Most importantly, all three are super expensive to you as a General Contractor. According to one of our clients, it can cost upwards of $500 per lead. We all know that it can be a volume game. More leads can lead to more jobs. That can cost tens of thousands of dollars in advertising in one month!

The Rest of the Cons

Home Advisor

  • On full scale assault of phone calls over three days
  • Consumer cannot contact contractor directly

Angie's List

  • Contractors (your competitors) can buy their way to top of listings
  • No background checks to advertise with them
  • Contractors get undercut by possible fly-by-nights


  • They prioritize paid listings over high-ratings.
  • It is not visitor friendly.
  • You must sign up for membership prior to seeing their list of Pros.

For contractors in home services, if you honestly want to succeed and get homeowners to notice you then you need search engine optimization (SEO), lead generation and content. Basically, you need online marketing with specialists in Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is not dead, and Google even has an entire guide book dedicated to it. And we’re willing to guess you’ve been t

old you need Google Ads to even come close to the top? Guess what – that’s simply not true!

Organically ranking is possible – You, the business owner is under the impression you have to compete with millions of businesses online…are we right?

No, of course you don’t. You only need to compete locally. This means, you compete within your city or town. Localization and the keywords associated with it is much easier. With the right approach to SEO, lead generation, even email marketing, you can kick your competitors to the cyber curb.

Hey, here’s a good joke:

Where’s the best place to hide a body?

On the second page of Google!

Third Party Sites VS Traditional Online Marketing – The Truth Bomb You’ve Been Waiting For

Business is business as they say, and nothing is personal right? We hate that just as much as you do. Your online business matters just as much as your store front. If you honestly want to get quality leads, you have to work for it, but you shouldn’t have to go up against millions not even in your local are. That is just ridiculous.

SEO plays a huge part in this. SEO focuses on keywords and the research involved. You got your keyword phrases, voice search and more. But the best part is you can rank for these with the right marketing team behind you.

Here’s a few pros worth reading and rereading:

When you hire an expert online marketing and SEO team, you can complete 100% focus on YOU & YOUR BUISNESS. You get a manager who personally takes care of your account, you get attention to details, reporting and advice that matters.


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