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Pros and Cons of Buying Leads for HVAC Businesses (Podcast)

Most contractors have a love/hate relationship with their lead services. In this podcast, Jason and Nolen explore the potential perks of buying leads for HVAC contractors, along with the sometimes disastrous pitfalls. Whether you’ve purchased leads in the past or are considering a service soon, you’ll gain some essential insights into the pros and cons of lead gen companies.

Look Out for These Key Points

  • Does buying leads create long-term or short-term opportunities?
  • Do lead services contribute towards your brand development?
  • What expenses come out of buying leads?
  • How good is the lead quality?

What Does Buying Leads Mean?

Developing a client base takes time, money, and lots of effort. It may take years to establish a comfortable pool of loyal customers. But, for businesses longing for that initial growth, buying leads presents a desirable, fast solution. Here’s how it works:

How Lead Buying Works

  • Step #1: An HVAC contractor hires on a lead generation company.
  • Step #2: The lead gen company connects them with potential customers by phone or email.
  • Step #3: The contractor accepts or rejects the client, who may or may not decide to do business with the contractor.
  • Step #4: The contractor renders payment to the lead-generating company.

Lead Companies

What is the Most Popular Pay-Per-Lead Company?

Pay-Per-Lead (PPL) companies range from household names to somewhat sketchy businesses. While there are numerous PPL companies out in the market, you’d have difficulty finding a more recognizable name than HomeAdvisor. The directory promotes local lists for various niches and boasts a vast array of contractors.

  • HomeAdvisor
  • Houzz
  • Porch
  • Thumbtack
  • Yelp

Lead Costs

How Much Do Companies Pay for Leads?

That depends on the particular service you utilize for your leads. We’ll use HomeAdvisor as an example. According to the HomeAdvisor Pro How It Works page, HVAC contractors pay a mix of annual, monthly, and variable fees in exchange for leads. Keep in mind; the company does not guarantee any of these leads will convert into customers. To quote from their website, “You will be charged for each lead you receive, whether or not you ultimately win the job…”

What Costs Can I Expect?

  • Annual Subscription Fees
  • General Industry Leads Costs (“Market Match”)
  • Brand Specific Leads Costs (“Exact Match”)
  • Supporting Service Costs

When people request your company specifically through HomeAdvisor, your company may pay an even higher lead cost rate. You can set monthly target budgets, but lead costs may exceed that number.

Key Questions

Questions to Ask When Buying Leads

There are two primary concerns your HVAC business should consider when buying leads. First, you’ll need to consider the pricing structure of the service. Some companies quote a relatively low per lead cost but quietly zing you with additional fees. Others charge higher rates but do a much better job of outlining what that money buys.

The even more essential question you need to ask is: How does your company qualify these leads? Is your money going towards connecting with ready-to-buy consumers, or is the PPL company pushing window shoppers to meet their quota?

Of course, you should never subscribe to a PPL service without consulting existing clients of that company. If you find that all the people you consult are getting fantastic returns on their investment, this could be the opportunity you’ve been targeting. On the other hand, clients may warn you to steer clear of that prospective service. Either way, you’ll have better peace of mind about your decision!

Is Buying Leads Worth it For Contractors?

While many HVAC SEO companies would tell you otherwise, buying leads sometimes provides fantastic results for contractors. If you find a service that offers a fair costing rate and a dependable ROI, go for it. However, there are several factors you need to weigh before pulling the trigger on these annual subscriptions.

Crucial Factors to Consider

  • Will buying leads provide long-term growth?
  • Do buying leads gain exposure for your brand or their brand?
  • Could you earn these same leads (or better) through other means?
  • Do you want to be locked into a subscription?
  • Are the leads provided of sufficient quality?

Alternatives to Buying Leads

One of the selling points of companies like HomeAdvisor is that you have tight control over the location and types of people you gain leads for. You can also set spending targets that your PPL service may or may not exceed. Having control over your marketing is a serious advantage.

But what if you could get this control without paying a subscription fee?

Google Ads PPC (pay per click) campaigns also target specific markets within a geographical area. They automatically deactivate whenever they hit your predetermined budget, and your efforts determine the quality of the leads you receive. If you don’t like the results, you can quit anytime or refine your campaigns till they succeed. Many HVAC contractors experience a double return on their investment into Google Ads. During your paid search efforts, you can also spend valuable time working on your HVAC SEO through keyword research and engaging content.

Team Up With the HVAC Webmasters

Whatever course you ultimately choose to develop your leads, we hope you succeed. If you’re hunting for ways to grow your lead generation, our team at the HVAC Webmasters would love to help. We provide HVAC SEO solutions, PPC campaign management and analysis, custom website development, and numerous other services to advance your business.