August 24

How To Compete As Big Names Commoditize Home Services


  • How you can market and brand your business effectively in ways that are untouchable and how to align your business with the major brands to use the home service commoditization to your advantage…

         and at the same time, generate your own leads.


In a recent video I did, I recently spoke about how big names are commoditizing the home service space.

And while a lot of people are resistant to it and a lot of people are saying, “No, I’m not going to sign up”, “I’m not going to be part of it”, and hoping these thing are going to go away so far, these big names — the Amazon, The Google, the HomeAdvisor —

they’re showing a lot of staying power and they’re building an incredible user base and getting positive feedback from their user base while onboarding new contractors.

So, it seems like they are here to stay. So, in this video what I want to cover is how you can compete as these big names commoditize home services.


First things first.  

Make your website the go-to resource for all the services you’re offering.

Publish the content, the information that customers are going to want to find when they are in the research phase.

So, when they’re out there, they got this idea they want to get some more ideas or think about or if this is a good idea or what materials they need to use, make your website the place where they can go to find that so that it’s found in Google or you can distribute your content in another method.

This is going to let you start having the conversation with the customer earlier on when they’re the research phase before they’re actually taking action and seeking out a contractor on a third party platform.

Now, the other thing.

Don’t forget about your vehicles.

Changing gears here.

Go to the vehicles — we’re going to go through this kind of step by step.

So, starting with your website make your website content rich that’s going to put you ahead of any of these lead generation or service marketplaces that are coming up but don’t forget about your vehicles.

What we’re going to do is we’re going to kind of step offline here, cover some offline things that you can do because as these service providers or lead generations marketplaces, whatever you want to call them, as these big start capturing business and getting in front of the consumer and in between us and the consumer, they’re going to be doing so online.

So, I think there’s going to be a lot of opportunities to take things back offline.

So, do that — one of the ways is with a vehicle.

Vehicle wrapping in particular.

We got a lot of vehicles and we just actually wrapped one.

Before they were white trucks with lettering on them.

At my company, we wrapped the first one.

Put a very noticeable bright almost a neon blue wrap on it with a font and the text and all that stuff out there.

And if you look at any of the big franchise companies or big trades companies that are national level brands or even good-sized regional brands, they’ve always got a very illuminescent style wrap on their vehicle.

I’ve seen some yellow that tends to work well.

Bright green.

Even a pink but they’re fairly simple with very noticeable color with the key factors key elements: a phone number and the basics on there.

They don’t get a too complicated but the big thing is, big bright bold color you see from everywhere.

Anyways, we just did one of our trucks in a total blue wrap.

And what’s been so funny about it is we get people calling in and they’re like: “I see your truck’s everywhere.

The blue ones!”.

It’s like, “well, we only got one blue one out there.”

But they see that blue truck and they see it from all over several hundred feet away.

They notice it this is different from all the plain white lettered work trucks that are out there.

They notice it and it just keeps multiplying in their mind.

There must be so many of them they don’t think they’re running across the same one all the time.

So, I can only imagine what the effect is going to be when we have more of them wrapped and that is something that’s on the front burner at this point.

Getting more of them wrapped.

All the new ones that go into circulation certainly going to be wrapped so use those vehicles as a billboard.

Don’t overlook that.

That will be crucial and then if you are doing the website thing put the vehicles on the websites.

It’s a little trick I like to do because if they’ve seen the vehicles now they’re going to recognize it on the website.

It adds some social proof.

Adds some credibility.

It shows your resources.

Shows you’re a local company.  

And then, of course, brand recognition, matching that vehicle with the company that they just found online.

Another thing you can do offline – Get involved locally.

If you have local organizations, I know in my area, we’ve got a local organization that provides home improvements through contractor donated time and resources for disabled veterans.

Look for something in your area.

Be a part of that.

That’s going to pay dividends that you really cannot measure.

Being connected with the community, doing positive things and being associated with these positive outreach events and giving back to the community.

Your consumers are going to want to see that and they’re going to remember it.

They’re going to want to be a part of the company that’s always helping others.

From there, connect with your stories.

So many people don’t use story in the sales process.

They don’t use it in their marketing process.

I published a big article on the website, maybe I’ll link to it below this where you can go through and read it and get some examples and ideas of exactly how you can use story in the sales process.

Every business has a story and its awesome.

It differentiates you.

So often I hear customers say: “Oh we got the painting guy here today, got the plumbing guy here today, got the air guy here today or in my case we got the screen guy here.”

You don’t want to be “that guy”.

You don’t want to be the AC guy, you don’t want to be the plumbing.

I don’t want to be the screen guy.

When customers say that to me or you know I hear them, or it usually happens like this…I’ll be in their house and they’ll just pick up the phone and be like “I can’t talk right now. I got the screen guy here.” It’s like: “Gosh…I’m not doing my job. I’m not telling these people the story good enough.”

Let me drill into their head who I am and what the company story is, so I’m not referred to as “the guy” whatever trade you maybe “guy”.

You don’t want to be the trade guy.

You want them to know who you are.

And the powerful to do that is through a story.

Look for that blog post on my website.

It’s like 5000 words.

It’s 6-30 minutes but it’s packed with valuable insights into how you can use your story and even how your employees can use a story.

That’s key 2 ‘cause a lot of people think that story, using a story to differentiate yourself is just for the owners.

But employees can use the story as well.

From there, always show appreciation.

So many trades business don’t do this.

Make your customers feel appreciated.

Everyone always asks what’s the best referral program I can set up.

Do referral programs work?

I tried giving out steak dinners.

That didn’t work.

I tried 10% kickback on project.

That turned into a nightmare ‘cause everyone’s trying to claim a 10%.

And then you got to figure out which referrer gets the 10%.

And then you got a John Doe that calls in every other day to check and see how many referral commissions he’s getting.

Those things just don’t work out so well, at least in my experience.

What does work?


Make your customers feel appreciated.

And this will be crucial if you are taking customers off of a third party platform because you don’t want your customer to go to the third-party platform.

The customer finds you on Home Advisor, you don’t want that customer to go to Home Advisor the next time they need work.

You want them to come back to you.

And how’s that going to happen is making them feel appreciated.

So, think about that.

Just think about that.

What business do you refer? The ones that you know who you are and they make you feel like you’re part of the business, too.

They made you feel appreciated.

Most home service providers are just too concerned with getting the sale.

Running it through, completing the job, and collecting and moving on.

And I’m even guilty of this myself.

You might be as well. It’s not hard to fall into this trap of just do more work, do more work, do more work.

Sell. Sell. Sell.

Collect. Collect. Collect.

But we have to remember is we need to make these customers feel appreciated.

It’s going to earn the referrals and earn the repeat business.

And with that let’s go into exactly what you can do if you are working these third-party platforms. I said in my last video there where I spoke about how the big names are commoditizing it.

How it’s the trend.

Doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere, going away anytime soon and they’re increasing their user base which means that we might need to start working with them.

I’m certainly a fan of building your own marketing content, generating your own leads.

But what we’re seeing with Google is, now Google is putting Google lead ads on top of their AdWords.

And certainly on top of the organic and SEO.

So, it’s not far-fetched to say that in the coming years we are going to have to adapt to working with these third-party platforms that are generating leads or selling our services on our behalf, stepping in between us and the customer and selling them back to us.

I don’t like it.

I’ll be the first to say it sucks.

I don’t want it to happen and I hope that my concern in this matter is totally far-fetched and it’s not going to happen but we’ve seen it.

We’ve seen it play out with hotels and Travelocity and Orbitz and then again with hotels with Airbnb coming in there and throwing them a curveball and then you’ve got taxis.

These companies are trying to commoditize home services.

So, if you don’t want to go under, might need to start playing by their rules and playing their games.

So, how can we play their game better?

Well, one thing we all know is if you’re buying leads from Home Advisor right now or any method right now, the quick best thing you can do is reply quickly.

So, automate that responses.

I know one concrete contractor out there he’s got it set up so that when he gets his leads from Home Advisor, he basically sends him an automated text message saying, “Hey, thank you for requesting your estimate.

I’m out on a project right now. I’ll contact you as soon as I can.”

And naturally, the customer’s reply is so good.

The customer replies, “okay”.

So, he started that conversation which is pretty interesting because if you’ve ever bought leads, and what I hear from people who buy leads, mind you I’ve never bought leads from a lead generation service, but I’ve spoken with and worked with a lot of people that have, what they all tend to say is that these customers don’t remember contacting them.

You know, where they call them and follow up with them, the customer just kind of like ignores him like though they’re already taken care of.

So, by doing this, by sending out this text message, he’s getting a conversation going.

Whereas in other scenarios, when these customers submit a lead they totally oblivious or refuted to opening a conversation.

This automated text message gets the line okay and although very small, that opens the conversation.

So, responding quickly –automate them if you can.

From there, remarket to the whole buying process.

Set it up so that once they submit the lead, you’re automatically putting them into your marketing funnel.

Now, my favorite way of doing this at this point, I do this for any lead that comes into my company, in our website or phone call, at that point they’re getting into our Facebook or marketing funnel.

If they didn’t already come from our Facebook marketing funnel.

So, now they’ve requested an estimate.

At this point, we’ve qualified them.

They’re getting put into our campaigns for prospects and they’re going to be served content that’s specific for people that are qualified.

And you can also at this point start doing it with email marketing.

So, many contractors aren’t doing it.

I don’t know any contractors that are, besides myself and besides the ones that have taken my courses.

So, you’re staying in front of them with Facebook.

So, they are remembering you.

Now, what’s that going to do is that’s going to turn them from you just being the plumbing, HVAC, concrete, whatever guy you happen to be, and they’re going to know who you are.

You’re going to run ads to them that talk about your company and have your bio and have your picture in there.

I can’t tell you how many times after doing this, I get out there, and mind new, these aren’t coming from big names.

They ’re not coming from any Google leads or HomeAdvisor or Thumbtack type of things.

There are just my general customers but I get out there and you know they say,

“Cory! Nice to meet with you. Finally, I feel like I already know you.”

And when they say that, that’s so powerful because you have such a huge leg up on your competitors when you’ve already made them know, like, and trust you.

And they recognize you before you got out there.

So, they’re waiting on five other screen guys, in my case.

And they’re also waiting on Cory.

That’s powerful.

Gives you a huge one up in sales.

If you can do that, you customers –it’ll really work well with your customers that are coming from these lead generation services where you are truly commoditized and they don’t know who you are.

At least, in my case where my leads aren’t coming from these types of services.

They have some idea.

They’ve probably poked around at our website or seen some advertisement where they’re exposed to the people behind the brand.

In the case of the lead generation services or marketplaces, they have no clue who’s coming out there, in some cases.

They don’t even know the name of the company, or they don’t know the name of the company until they’ve bought or paid something.

We don’t know where it’s going but they don’t know the company, they don’t know who’s coming out.

That’s the bottom line with some type of marketing like this, you’re going to get in front of them so you want to remarket to them and do that through the whole buying process which I’ll come back to.

Big thing, make them know, like, and trust you before you even show them your estimate or to do your loss leader type of service.

And I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s go on from there.

I’ve already mentioned some of these platforms are more like a marketplace than a lead generation service.

If that’s the case, which they are, you should already start thinking about what you can offer on this marketplace that will be your loss leader.

And from there, you need to have a product ladder.

So many contractors and I shouldn’t say, contractors, even though I am speaking to you guys as contractors, that’s who listens to my content and I’m a contractor, but business people go out there, amateur business people –and they try to participate in these group on Marketplace style things, but they don’t have a product ladder.

They don’t realize they have one or they have no process for taking somebody from this intro product, the loss leader often, up the ladder.

You need to have that in place.

They just figure, “Well, I’m going to offer this, loss leader type of service and then, it’s just going to happen. People are just going to find more of that.”

That’s not how it happens.

That’s a quick way out of business.

Loss leaders and intro products can and do work if you’ve got the strategy to move them up the product ladder.

So, you might not know gung-ho into this, but keep that in mind and don’t forget that you may need to offer an intro product .

We’re already seeing a lot with the HVAC and the plumbing industry’s already and that’s kind of what’s working on Amazon and home service.

I shouldn’t say that’s what’s working.

Amazon and Home Services are really focused right now on landscape, moving, and cleaning. Those are there three big areas but they’re also selling some plumbing and HVAC.

And what’s selling in there, because as you really can’t sell a big project.

You can’t sell something too customized.

Our services are highly customized but what people are selling on there is like a faucet installer, A/C system cleaning, or AC system coil replacement up to a three-ton system or whatever. But they’re selling a single-fixed item on there and those are selling.

So, you might need to do that to get some exposure and you might you might want to do that to get some exposure.

But you have to have a plan in place when you sell them this, what are you going to sell them next. And then how are you going to get them there.

So, don’t go out and don’t just do that, offer that type of service without having that plan in place. Then that comes back to how do you get them there.


          A) Facebook Ads are one way.

          B) Email marketing is another way.

From there, that goes into the next real talking point.

What those two are doing is maintaining an open line of communication.

We’re going to tie this all back to appreciation.

You need to establish that line of communication from the time you connect with these customers to prevent them from going to another third-party marketplace.

You want to retain them.

Historically, you’ve been doing a good job.

You keep the customer and generally, they’re going to come back to you.

But these third-party marketplaces are making it much, much, more efficient and effective for them to come back.

They’ll come back and see who’s got the next deal.

Who’s got the next offering.

So, you have to work harder to retain the customer.

So, Facebook Ads are a great way to do that because after your service, you can continue service them ads and you can serve them ads and content that are just intended to build a relationship and keep them there.

Or you can serve them ads that are going to take them to the next level of the product ladder. And of course, there’s appreciation in this whole game as well.

Customers really need to feel appreciated and you need to focus on that because just doing a good service isn’t enough.

They need to remember you, and they need to feel personally connected to you because if they’re not personally to you, they are going to feel personally connected to that Amazon account that they log into and buy from every day.

So, let’s go through a quick recap because we’ve covered a lot here.

Website – keep it a good resource.

Make that website the resource.

Don’t forget about the vehicles.

So often contractors overlook wrapping those vehicles.

Get involved locally.

This one is huge.

Contribute some time.

Consider a part of your marketing budget.

Contribute some and resources to, maybe doing some charity projects, and if you’re doing Facebook Ads, that would be great to drop that,

“Hey, we contributed this. We did this for the community.”

Drop that in your Facebook Ads phone if you’re doing it.

Use your story in your sales process.

Differentiate yourself.

You don’t want to be just the screen guy, in my case.

You don’t want just the plumbing guy.

You don’t want to be the concrete guy.

You don’t want to be the roofing guy.

You want to be your company and you make the customers feel appreciated.

That’s powerful right there. I’m guilty of it.

You’re probably guilty of it.

Need to make these customers feel appreciated so they feel that connection and they come back to you.

We all want to buy from our friends and we want to keep going back to them.

I go back to businesses and I refer to businesses that make me feel appreciated like I was an actual person, not just ran through the wringer.

Even if they didn’t necessarily do the good job.

That’s the funny thing.

There have been cases where I feel like, “Yeah they didn’t do the best job in the world but damn, I feel like they really like me.” Make your customers feel appreciated, like you really, really, like them.

And then going back to working directly with these types of services.

Possibly identifying services that can be a loss leader and have a product ladder know how to move customers up.

Automate your responses when these people come in from a lead generation services.

Get them quick and respond quickly right when you’re on the forefront of your mind.

Remarket to the full buying process.

So, if you’re using a product ladder, that’s going to kind of complicate the full buying process because now, you’ve got awareness, interest, action, so maybe the action leads to a small purchase.

Now, you can add a few steps to take them up that product ladder.

You’re really going to need to remarket them and stay with them.

It’s all about keeping the customer.

You need to use these platforms to get a customer and then you need to stay with them through the entire customers’ life cycle.

That’s how you’re going to be able to compete.

Treat these services not as a business generator but as a new customer-generator.

Did that make sense?

Don’t treat these things as an engine for your business that’s going to keep giving you new customers.

Need to let them generate the customers and then you keep the customers and generate business from your existing customers.

So, those are some tips – how you can compete as these big names commoditize home services.

At this point, don’t be worried.

You know, we still have several years before anything major happens, I think, but you need to be conscious of this.

I think, the product ladder and retaining the customers are the two key elements.

Be conscious of this.

Look to ways that you can improve and already start kind of putting this stuff in place.

So, if and when you there’s really game-changing event, you’re ready and you can compete, still function and still have a thriving business even when new customers are using these platforms so readily available.


The Definitive Guide to Using Your Story to Attract Customers & Build Loyalty



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