Whether you're a general contractor, plumber, electrician, roofer, floorer, or any other type of contractor, online reviews are vital. Let's take a look at the best ways contractors get reviews.
Pat needs to hire someone to install new cabinets and build a kitchen addition. The job is going to cost Pat thousands of dollars, and he knows that he's going to have to spend weeks, maybe months, working with the person he hires. And whatever contractor he chooses is going to be in his home and around his family every day.
Pat can't trust just anyone with this responsibility. There are a ton of factors to consider here. He needs to know that he's hiring someone who does good-quality work, charges fair prices, adheres to a schedule and is trustworthy and respectful.
His coworker recommends someone, but with so much at stake, Pat wants to know that lots of people have had good experiences with whichever contractor he hires.
So Pat heads to his favorite review site. The contractor his coworker recommended has no reviews, but Contractor X has 15 reviews an overall rating of 4.4 stars. The crowd has spoken, and Contractor X gets a new customer in Pat.
The Review on Reviews
Contracting is one of the top industries for word-of-mouth referrals. Despite the fact that Pat decided against hiring the contractor his coworker recommended, the above example proves that this is still true.
It's just that today, word-of-mouth referrals happen online between strangers, not just between friends and neighbors.
Not convinced quite yet? Consider what a recent survey tells us about how American consumers use online reviews.
- 84 percent say they trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from people they know.
- 91 percent read online reviews at least occasionally.
- 74 percent say that positive online reviews make them trust a business more.
- Tradesmen are one of the business sectors in which consumers say that reputation matters most.
Getting lots of positive online reviews can also benefit your business in ways you might not expect. Having lots of people talking about you online helps your SEO (search engine optimization) rankings, which means you'll show up higher in search engine results.
And when people share the online reviews they write with their social networks, that increases your name recognition and - if their reviews are positive - can help you get new clients.
We get it: this may sound daunting, or even unfair. After all, sometimes clients have unrealistic expectations for contractors, and you could spend weeks working on a project only to have the client complain about the finished product.
But the bottom line is this: people are going to write reviews about you whether you want them to or not. You might as well make an effort to get every one of your satisfied clients to write them so that the occasional negative or lukewarm review will seem like an anomaly.
How to Do It
Some businesses deal with dozens or hundreds of customers every day, so they have a big pool of potential reviews. But as a contractor, you have a smaller client list. It's reasonable to ask your clients to write one or more reviews for you.
Before you say your final goodbyes, mention that you appreciate the client choosing you, and that you hope they'll recommend you to others. Then say something like, "If you would be willing to post a review on [site] and [site], I'd really appreciate it. Those reviews mean a lot to our business."
If you've done good work and made the client happy, he or she is more often than not willing to do this one small thing for you.
Now, as for the sites you mention to your clients: diversification is important. That's because some clients, when looking for a new contractor, will go straight to a favorite review site, so you want to have reviews posted on all the major sites. Ideally, you'll have a presence on around five or six sites.
- The Big Three are Yelp, Facebook and Google. They're general review sites where businesses of all types have pages.
- Niche sites include Angie's List, HomeAdvisor and Houzz among others. They're specific to contracting and home repair services.
Before you start asking clients to write reviews, visit all these sites. If your business doesn't already have a page on any site, create it. Some sites also allow you to claim your business page, which allows you to edit the information posted there and even respond publicly to reviews posted about you.
A Better Way
As a contractor, you know that working smart is better than working hard. So while it's easy enough to mention to a client that you would appreciate a review or two, you probably don't have the time or interest in chasing down clients who forget to post those reviews.
Use an automated system like ReputationStacker to do the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is enter a client's phone number or email address into the system, and ReputationStacker contacts the person with a single-question survey. When clients respond positively, they're directed to the review sites of your choice to post a review. When they respond negatively, they're directed back to you so you can address their concerns if you wish (before they have a chance to write a negative review).
Top Contractor Review Websites
When it comes to online reviews, you can’t possibly overlook Google. Besides being the most extensively used search engine, Google also doubles as a valuable review website.
Each time someone searches for your business, your website pops up on Google reviews - but only if it's listed. Therefore, it's imperative that you have positive Google reviews to win a positive reputation.
You should obviously prioritize organic traffic garnered through social media. While you engage with your followers on your business page on Facebook, you can utilize the platform to collect positive customer reviews.
With over two billion people using this platform, you can capitalize on the tremendous scope to leverage your brand image. However, keep in mind that Facebook doesn’t have a star-rating mechanism. Instead, your clients can ‘Recommend’ or ‘Not Recommend’ your business to others.
To establish yourself as a legitimate contractor, try HomeAdvisor. It prescreens contractors before it welcomes them on its marketplace, increasing your credibility. Moreover, it's free to use and has an app that runs just as well, if not better, than its website! All this contributes to more customers signing up for it.
Sure, Angi (formerly Angie's List) isn't free like HomeAdvisor and instead operates on a paid-membership basis, but it still has a large number of users (and premium ones since it's paid) for you to get reviews from.
If you're listed on Angi as a business, they'll provide you with an icon you can put on your website. When a user clicks on this icon, it'll redirect them to your Angi reviews, potentially helping you get more business — but only if you have influential and positive reviews on Angi.
However, if a user doesn't already have a paid Angi membership, they'll be taken to Angi’s payment page, not your reviews, which could actually result in you losing out on a potential customer.
Yelp used to be the biggest review portal in the online arena. Although other review aggregator websites have come up in recent years, Yelp enjoys over 91 million visitors every month. Impressive figures, right?
With your contracting business listed on Yelp, you'd be getting exposure to this massive number of potential clients. Local and home services continue to be the second-largest niche in this website, while restaurants happen to be the largest.
If you deal with local home services, make sure to create a profile on Porch. Businesses associated with maintenance, repairs, and similar projects are available on this website. The platform makes it super easy to reach out to customers and review the profiles of the listed businesses.
As a contractor, it’s difficult to ignore a potential review website like Thumbtack. Presently, the website has more than 2 million businesses and 10 million regular users. Request your happy clients to review your website in more than just one-liners on this platform.
Contractors specializing in remodeling and landscaping often look out for dedicated review websites. That said, a website like Houzz might just be the one!
The website has been designed with the objective to connect interested homeowners with experienced design contractors and professionals.
The Final Nail
Contracting is a competitive field and one of the best ways to inch ahead of the competition is to have a strong online presence. Consumers rely heavily on online reviews when deciding who to hire for a big and expensive job, so you can't afford for any of your satisfied clients to forego writing you a review.
Use an automated system like ReputationStacker to make sure that you're getting all the good reviews you deserve.
Ian Kirby has been working in digital marketing for over 15 years. Having worked both with and for digital marketing agencies and in-house with multiple companies, he has a specific interest and expertise in online reputation management, online reviews, and the implementation of business systems. Ian’s writing, videos, and interviews have garnered millions of reads, views, and listens.