Contractor Lead Generation: How I Get Customers for My Construction Business


Many contractors wonder how to find new customers and get more jobs. The truth is you usually don’t find jobs unless you respond to big commercial project bids. For most contractors like remodelers, electricians, and plumbers, customers find you when searching for local services.

In the past, this was all through word-of-mouth referrals. A homeowner would ask around for contractor recommendations and get either a good referral or a horror story warning. Referrals still work today but are slowing as more people search online. If you aren’t getting referrals, you likely aren’t doing quality work since happy customers tell friends about good contractors.

10-15 years ago, services like HomeAdvisor were great for finding leads. We paid $5-10 per lead and got tons of contacts weekly. But over time more leads were bad numbers or people who already had bids. It wasted our time and money. So around 2013-2014 when things were slow, we built a website to find customers.

Back then we were one of the only contractors in our area online, so the ugly site still brought in business. But like HomeAdvisor, over time our results dropped as more competitors made better sites. I had to learn about search engine optimization to get our site showing up on page one of Google for our service keywords.

I spent hundreds of hours learning this and after some work, our site was bringing in phone calls again. Now we’re booked out two years in advance and only get new jobs through the site and Google searches. Over time I built a team to handle this marketing so I could focus on contracting work.

With the marketing running smoothly, my team started helping other contractors optimize their online presence. We build professional websites, improve Google rankings, and get reviews to stand out. The goal is to get contractors showing up above referral sites on Google searches.

When you look at page one for most contractor searches, it’s dominated by HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, and more. These are lead reselling middlemen harvesting people’s contact info to sell as leads. They hide this fact and make it seem like you’ll get to browse contractors when really your info gets sold the second you submit the form.

If contractors had strong websites and Google listings themselves, they could get calls directly without paying for leads. You have a huge advantage over referral sites by being an actual local business. You just need a professional online presence to showcase it.

Getting your own leads this way has many benefits compared to buying from sites like HomeAdvisor. The leads are much higher quality since they already found and vetted you, so they’re almost ready to hire. With referral site leads, you’re one of 5 quotes they’re getting and the customers often aren’t even ready to talk to contractors yet.

You also control the lead flow with your own site and listings. You can use ads to get more calls, improve your site to get more organic traffic and more. With third-party referral companies, you get what they give you and are at their mercy.

So in summary, stop relying so heavily on HomeAdvisor and similar sites. Use them as supplements but focus on building your own online presence through a professional website, Google My Business listing, and reviews. This will provide a steady stream of quality leads without expensive middlemen.

What do you have to say about this?

Charles Kile

General Contractor at Kile Construction LLC
in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Owner of Adapt Digital Solutions.

Charles Kile

Director of Marketing and Lead Gen at Adapt Digital Solutions.

Partner at NL Kile Construction LLC 

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