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#41428 - 08/25/04 11:33 PM Yet another middle man
CalSparky Offline

Registered: 03/14/04
Posts: 32
Loc: Northern California
I'm self employed and working on my marketing. In the process I have been looking at online resources and have found two companies that are trying to make a living off our backs!!! ServiceMagic ( and NeedContractor ( are the names. Basically, when you go to look up electricians in yahoo yellow pages these 2 web sites are the first 2 entries that you see (credit them with marketing). Basically these web sites act as a single point of contact for customers and the contact info is purchased by the particpating contractors. I didn't see any published rates on needcontractor but ServiceMagic did publish their rates. It looks like you pay about (very approximate) $20 dollars a lead regardless of whether the deal gets closed. Even if you are at a %25 closure rate, that's $80 bucks a job for advertising. Considering I like to knock out a job a day on average, it doesn't take much to realize that this is sky high (50 weeks, 5 days, 80 bucks = 20k ouch!).
What really burns me is this -- what would stop an association of electricians from offering the same service for a very nominal fee to its members? Its a freakin web site for pete sake, ain't any rocket science there. Heck I run mine for $12.00 a month at yahoo. As far as prescreening goes, calfornia's department of consumer affairs keeps tabs on all contractors. Just seems like some slick business guy is trying to take a cut of this attic rat's living. When the slickster is suffering from 130 degree heat, then maybe he can take a cut of the profits!!!! If this model turns out to be the wave of the future and electricians don't develop their own site, then my rates will definitly go sky high.

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#41429 - 08/26/04 12:40 AM Re: Yet another middle man
e57 Offline

Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 2837
Loc: S.F.,CA USA
Ya know I have thought about this a few times. I start thinking up web names and other ideas. Then I'll get all excited, and research it. Like:
Paste that into your browser now....
I wonder........ How much that costs?

Then promoting it blah, blah ,blah

Look a little more and try this:

That's show I ended up on this forum!
Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason

#41430 - 08/26/04 08:59 AM Re: Yet another middle man
Active 1 Offline

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 684
Loc: Grayslake IL, USA
Cal has a point.

Maybe start with the site. Collect some money by being listed and or having a perfered listing. Put that money into internet advertising. A lot of customers use service majic.

I used service majic many times in the past. Their rates are about $5-45 depending on the job. They were trinig to sell some package where you would pay for every local lead they get. I think some leads don't get any responce because it looks like a dead end. A number of times the customer can not be reached. In my area the winner is the cheapest company. Some hardly speek english. They propose no permit expensive patches not allouded instead of doing the job right for more money. They are 1 handy man and a van that drive from far away. I think they must be getting about $25 an hour. I can't compeate with these people.

I see a lot of advertising not just with our trade for marketing companies. They say give us your info and we'll give you 3-5 free quotes. I see ads on TV for mortages where lenders compeate for your business. They serve the customer breakfast in bed, and go cheaper and cheaper with their prices to try to get a customer. I think it is changing what people expect for the worse. I seen a local newspapper is getting into this bisness. They "prescreen the contractor". The customer gives them the info and the newspaper make big money. Meanwhile the EC are tring to be the cheapest.

I get phone calls sometimes with someone wanting to sell me insurance. Come to find out they are just a third party wanting my information so they can sell my name as a lead.

Their was another company out there maybe I'm not positive because I only used them once. I think they wanted somthing like 20% of the job. On a $2000
service they would get $400.
I would like to see Service Majic and the others go out of business like all the other big E companies.


#41431 - 08/26/04 09:13 AM Re: Yet another middle man
Pat@Amber Offline

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 107
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD USA
I was just contacted a few weeks ago by Service Magic and I'm glad I opted not to sign up. They quoted me a price of $12.50 per lead. They said they would also send that same lead to 5 other contractors. That adds up to some serious money for them, while we would be busy slashing each other's throats to get a lousy phone jack install for a price shopping cheapskate! Just say no!

[This message has been edited by Pat@Amber (edited 08-26-2004).]
Power to the people

#41432 - 09/04/04 09:59 AM Re: Yet another middle man
Dave55 Offline

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
Wouldn't it be nice to be a general contractor or middle-man and get $25 from 40 or 50 sub-contractors for the honor of working up a free bid on your project?


#41433 - 09/04/04 10:17 AM Re: Yet another middle man
e57 Offline

Registered: 05/27/03
Posts: 2837
Loc: S.F.,CA USA
Many will mark-up your labor, and other costs, so why not the estimate too?
Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason


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