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Phyxter vs HomeAdvisor vs Thumbtack vs Porch vs Houzz vs Angi vs Yelp vs Bark vs Homestars

July 20, 2024

This Phyxter vs HomeAdvisor vs Thumbtack vs Porch vs Houzz vs Angi vs Yelp vs Bark vs Homestars feature can give home improvement contractors a snapshot of their options.

Phyxter

Phyxter markets itself as a “nationally recognized yet locally focused home service company.” 

The company connects homeowners with local contractors specializing in specific services, such as:

  • HVAC
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Smart home automation

Phyxter assures customers that by using their site, they get to “support local businesses and enjoy top-notch service.” In addition, Phyxter also offers digital marketing services, such as:

  • Website design
  • SEO strategy
  • Content marketing
  • PPC advertising
  • Google Business Profile

HomeAdvisor

HomeAdvisor is known as a pioneering digital marketplace for finding local service professionals. 

The site is particularly popular among homeowners. On TrustPilot, customer Rose Gazarek says HomeAdvisor helped her find the right service “the same day at a reasonable price.”

However, the platform also gets negative feedback for selling the same leads to multiple contractors.

Popular categories in HomeAdvisor include:

  • Bathroom remodeling
  • Basement remodeling
  • Central air conditioning (installation and repair)
  • Home energy auditing
  • Home insulation & weatherstripping
  • Kitchen remodeling
  • Professional moving services
  • Wood fence installation

Thumbtack

Thumbtack is a technology company that helps customers “confidently care for and improve their homes.”

The company boasts of having “over 10 million 5-star projects and counting.”

Thumbtack connects homeowners to service professionals who provide:

  • Small fixes
  • Routine home maintenance
  • Major house improvements

In addition, Thumbtack also covers other niches including:

  • Life coaching
  • Personal training
  • Yoga instruction
  • Pet sitting
  • Aquarium services
  • Accounting
  • Business tax preparation
  • Event catering
  • Photo booth rental
  • Singing lessons
  • Self defense lessons

Porch

Porch is a home improvement network that promises to deliver “quality leads on your terms.” 

According to their website, professionals can choose:

  • The type of projects they offer
  • The locations they want to work in
  • How they want to pay for the leads (buying leads individually or receiving leads automatically based on a budget)

Some of the services offered by professionals on Porch are:

  • Air duct cleaning
  • Appliance repair
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Deck builders
  • Handyman services
  • Lawn mowing services
  • Pest control & exterminators
  • Roof installation, repair, and replacement
  • Water damage restoration
  • Window installation, repair, and replacement

Houzz

Houzz is a marketplace, online community, and software provider. 

The company offers tools and resources for homeowners and professionals to have “the best experience for home renovation and design.”

Their website and app has a Facebook vibe as it relies on the use of home photos. The platform also works as a marketing solution for tradespeople in the home improvement industry.

Popular professional services on Houzz include:

  • Architects and building designers
  • Design-build firms
  • Interior designers and decorators
  • General contractors
  • Kitchen and bathroom designers

Houzz has a worldwide reach that includes Asia, Australia, Europe, and more.

Angi

Angi is one of the oldest home service websites in the US. It initially started as an online directory listing reviews of local contractors. Today, Angi connects homeowners with service professionals in the country and internationally.

The company initially started as an online directory listing reviews of local contractors. Today, Angi connects homeowners with service professionals in the country and internationally.

Over the years, the brand emphasizes that their focus has always been on “helping people love where they live.”

Among Angi's top home improvement categories are: 

  • Air duct cleaning
  • Basement waterproofing
  • Cabinet makers
  • Central vacuum cleaning
  • Chimney repairing
  • Gas leak repair
  • Gutter repair
  • Home automation
  • Plumbing
  • Roof cleaning
  • Septic tank service

Yelp

Yelp is an online directory for finding local businesses.

Top services listed on their website and app include:

  • Car repair
  • Dentists
  • Doctors
  • Hair salons
  • Home repair and service
  • Hotels
  • Nightlife
    … and more.

According to Statista, Yelp attracts over 60 million mobile web visitors and 36 million desktop visitors per month. 

Meanwhile, Enterprise App Today also mentions that 4 of 5 Yelp users “are ready to buy” when browsing the page. 

Bark

Bark homeowners that they’ll easily find the best local service providers “fast and free.”

The platform offers access to different business niches, such as:

  • Bookkeepers
  • Graphic designers
  • House cleaners
  • House builders
  • Personal trainers
  • Photographers
  • Web designers

By using Bark, contractors can get local or nationwide leads, depending on their preferences.

HomeStars

HomeStars describes itself as the largest online marketplace in Canada. 

Some consider it as Canada’s equivalent of Angi.

The site has an active online community of consumers who publish reviews about various home improvement professionals.

HomeStars features various home improvement categories such as:

  • Basement renovation
  • Carpentry and woodworking
  • Cleaning services
  • Landscape and garden
  • Moving and storage
  • Plumbing
  • Roofing

In this feature, we compare options so business owners can decide which third-party platforms are best for generating leads. We look into what these sites offer, plus we also share why local lead generation is a superior strategy that brings better results.

1. Phyxter

Phyxter was founded in Vernon, British Columbia by Jake Gibson in 2017. Today, the tech company aims to “provide top-tier home service solutions with a focus on community and integrity.”

Phyxter Pros & Cons

Pros

Modern quoting technology

User-friendly mobile app

Free quoting and invoicing system for contractors

Risk-free (contractors only pay a fee after completing a job)

Backgrounds and credentials of technicians are checked by third-party security agency

Cons

Not as popular as competitor platforms

Reach is limited to US and Canada

Why Do Homeowners Like Phyxter?

✅ Multiple contractors and quotes
✅ Hassle-free payments (no hidden fees)
✅ Easy to use
✅ A referral program that also donates to charity
✅ 24/7 service and support

Is Phyxter Worth It For Contractors?

Phyxter is worth it, according to reviews on Google. People praise the company for its professional service and affordable costs. Currently, Phyxter has 65 reviews and a 5-star rating on Google.

2. HomeAdvisor

HomeAdvisor was initially known as ServiceMagic when it was founded in 1998. Angie’s List eventually acquired the company. HomeAdvisor has since expanded to having over 500 home improvement categories.

HomeAdvisor Pros & Cons

Pros

Can be a good way to establish your business presence online

Gets your company in front of a wide target market

Option to pause listings

Receive credits for cancellations or duplicate leads

Cons

Cutthroat competition, unless you are a sole service provider

Leads are sold to multiple contractors

You have to pay for leads even if you don’t get the job

Why Do Homeowners Like HomeAdvisor?

✅ Free to use
✅ Multiple contractors to choose from (all with background checks)
✅ Online booking

However, homeowners should also be aware of a few less than stellar traits. For example, a client’s contact information is sold to multiple service providers. This means homeowners are likely to receive a lot of calls from different businesses.

Is HomeAdvisor Worth It For Contractors?

HomeAdvisor is worth it for contractors. The site generally has positive reviews from users online. In fact, it has a high 4.1 star-rating and over 22k reviews on TrustPilot. WebFX also says HomeAdvisor can help businesses find paying customers, although it can be potentially costly. 

Meanwhile, some contractors also criticize HomeAdvisor for fake reviews and fake leads. On SiteJabber, Joshua K describes HomeAdvisor’s practices as fraudulent and unethical.

It is also worth noting that in January 2023, the US Federal Trade Commission ordered HomeAdvisor to pay up to $7.2 million. The said amount serves as a compensation for “defrauded home service providers.”

3. Thumbtack

Thumbtack was founded in 2008 by Marco Zappacosta, Jeremy Tunnell, Jonathan Swanson, and Sander Daniels. Today, Thumbtack has over 10 million users.

Thumbtack Pros & Cons

Pros

Favored by homeowners

Free to join and no monthly subscription

Only pay for leads when customers contact you

Option to upgrade to a paid subscription (buy leads automatically at a 20% discount)

Cons

Competitive because leads are sent to 5 contractors

Records of poor customer service

You don't know what a lead will cost you until you're charged

You pay for communicating with potential customers - not leads

Unexplained fees and rise in rates

Why Do Homeowners Like Thumbtack?

✅ Free to use
✅ Variety of service providers

In some cases, Thumbtack offers a money-back guarantee amounting up to $1,000.

Thumbtack has 6.1k reviews and a 4.1-star rating on TrustPilot. However, some customers are also claiming they’ve had unsatisfactory experiences. For example, JM writes that Thumbtack does not do thorough background checks for contractors. 

Is Thumbtack Worth It For Contractors?

Thumbtack is worth it for contractors, according to its positive online reviews. Reddit user Jay_Thompson11 says he spends around $100 and earns $400 to $1,100 per week using Thumbtack. 

He also encourages other contractors to set up their “targeting preferences right” and to be strategic in naming their businesses.

Meanwhile, some Redditors dislike the platform’s lead quality. For example, royal_friendly says Facebook or Google Ads are better. DeadMansPizzaParty stopped using Thumbtack after encountering “too many lowballers and tire kickers.”

Thumbtack Pros & Cons

Pros

Favored by homeowners

Free to join and no monthly subscription

Only pay for leads when customers contact you

Option to upgrade to a paid subscription (buy leads automatically at a 20% discount)

Cons

Competitive because leads are sent to 5 contractors

Records of poor customer service

You don't know what a lead will cost you until you're charged

You pay for communicating with potential customers - not leads

Unexplained fees and rise in rates

Why Do Homeowners Like Thumbtack?

✅ Free to use
✅ Variety of service providers

In some cases, Thumbtack offers a money-back guarantee amounting up to $1,000.

Thumbtack has 6.1k reviews and a 4.1-star rating on TrustPilot. However, some customers are also claiming they’ve had unsatisfactory experiences. For example, JM writes that Thumbtack does not do thorough background checks for contractors. 

Is Thumbtack Worth It For Contractors?

Thumbtack is worth it for contractors, according to its positive online reviews. Reddit user Jay_Thompson11 says he spends around $100 and earns $400 to $1,100 per week using Thumbtack. 

He also encourages other contractors to set up their “targeting preferences right” and to be strategic in naming their businesses.

Meanwhile, some Redditors dislike the platform’s lead quality. For example, royal_friendly says Facebook or Google Ads are better. DeadMansPizzaParty stopped using Thumbtack after encountering “too many lowballers and tire kickers.”

4. Porch

Matt Ehrlichman established porch in 2012. The platform currently hosts over 300,000 professionals in more than 160 niches. 

Porch Pros & Cons

Pros

Contractors only pay for the type of leads they prefer

Has a massive database of contractors and service niches

Reward system for contractors

Cons

Customer service isn’t the best

Aggressive upselling from sales reps

Has low ratings online

Why Do Homeowners Like Porch?

✅ Free to use
✅ Provides professional services for moving, insurance, and home improvement

✅ An excellent place to find local contractors for small-scale home improvement jobs.

That said, Porch has plenty of negative feedback online. On TrustPilot, Porch is rated poor with only 2.7 stars out of 1.4k reviews. Mary Beltran, for example, said the company “won’t help you” if you encounter any issues with your chosen pros.

Is Porch Worth It For Contractors?

Porch is not worth it for contractors, based on its low ratings on several online platforms. On Better Business Bureau, the company has a low 1.03 star rating out of 40 customer reviews.

For instance, a business owner who goes by Nick S shares their experience with Porch “has been far from satisfactory.” Their main problem with the platform is the “vague and inaccurate lead information.”

Porch also has a rating of 2.7 stars out of 837 reviews on Consumer Affairs.

5. Houzz

Houzz was founded in Palo Alto, California by Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen in 2009. The couple faced challenges while remodeling their home and decided to build Houzz as a solution. Their website places emphasis on the use of beautiful home photos.

Houzz has a worldwide reach that includes Asia, Australia, Europe, and more.

Houzz Pros & Cons

Pros

Profiles are free to set up

Online exposure & access to an extensive audience

Option to pay to rank higher on the site

Cons

Getting listed at the top will cost you additional money

Without advertising, your listings may not be seen by homeowners

Images need to be high quality and professional

Why Do Homeowners Like Houzz?

✅ Free to use
✅ Access to a ton of images and information

✅ A place to ask professionals questions

✅ You can check out Houzz’ Inspiration Boards to get ideas for your next home improvement project

Houzz has over 15k reviews and a rating of 3.9 stars on TrustPilot. Customer Lynda Lynn praises the platform for the user-friendly experience. According to her, the products are “easy to sort”, plus the site shows “similar items that could be of interest.”

Is Houzz Worth It For Contractors?

Houzz is worth it for contractors because of its flexible payment structure. You don't pay per lead like you do with HomeAdvisor. Also, the service has been around longer than platforms like Phyxter and Porch. However, competition can be a challenge. This is because Houzz has a network of over 2.5 million professionals in almost every home improvement niche imaginable.

6. Angi

Angi was founded by Angie Hicks and William S. Oesterle in 1995. It was initially known as Angie’s List back then. So far, the platform has helped over 150 million homeowners in their home improvement projects.

Angi Pros & Cons

Pros

They have a massive online following

Option to pay for additional visibility

Cons

Low conversion rates

Can be extra competitive because of the massive contractor database

Same lead pool as HomeAdvisor (so if you utilize both platforms you could pay for the same lead twice) often means low conversion rates

Why Do Homeowners Like Angi?

✅ Free to sign up
✅ Background checks are performed on business owners

Is Angi Worth It For Contractors?

Angi may not be worth it for contractors, especially if you’re already using HomeAdvisor or other effective lead generation strategies. YouTuber Chuck The Contractor cites the decline in lead quality and increase in costs as the main reasons for him to stop using the platform. Today, he mainly relies on attracting organic traffic on Google by way of website and Google Maps optimization.

Angi may not be worth it for contractors, especially if you’re already using HomeAdvisor or other effective lead generation strategies. YouTuber Chuck The Contractor cites the decline in lead quality and increase in costs as the main reasons for him to stop using the platform. Today, he mainly relies on attracting organic traffic on Google by way of website and Google Maps optimization.

Angi also has an average TrustPilot rating, with 3.2 stars and 5.4k reviews.

A common issue is that some contractors spend money that may not result in actual leads. Case in point, a former customer complains about receiving “bogus leads,” adding that their customer service “is a joke.”

7. Yelp

Yelp was founded in 2004 by former PayPal employees Russel Simmons and Jeremy Stoppleman.

Yelp Pros & Cons

Pros

Yelp’s massive range can lead to online exposure

Can be a way to establish credibility

Free to create a profile

Pay to advertise = your company at the top of the list of service providers

Cons

You pay per view - not per click

Self-service advertising means minimal control over spending/no way to track metrics

Yelp has plenty of fake reviews. According to WiserNotify, Yelp blocks about 25% of them.

Sales associates often try to encourage contractors to spend on paid ads

Why Do Homeowners Like Yelp?

✅ Yelp is a free-to-use platform where homeowners can directly contact contractors
✅ Reviews, images, and listings can help guide the decision-making process

Is Yelp Worth It For Contractors?

Yelp is worth it for contractors looking to establish their presence online for free. You can claim your business and get reviews from customers. In short, it can be a tool for marketing your brand.

However, using Yelp also has its drawbacks. Yelp has an overwhelmingly negative review. 84% of users gave it a 1-star rating. Business owner Marion Bradley complains that Yelp removes real reviews from customers.

On Reddit, AdmiralFractionalCFO also rants that Yelp’s business model “presents a conflict of interest.”

Meanwhile, other contractors say Yelp’s pay-per-click is misleading. Business owners may have to pay people to view their information - and not all of them turn into leads. Also, using paid ads can get pricey really fast.

8. Bark

Bark was founded in 2014 by Andrew Michael and Kai Feller. Today, Bark has offices in the UK, USA, Australia, France, Germany, and India. Today, Bark has a network of “180k active suppliers across 8 sectors.” Each year, they bring together over 4.5 million consumers and service professionals.

Bark Pros & Cons

Pros

Bark is reliable and has been around since 2014

The site offers lead opportunities for professionals from different niches

Prompt customer support

Cons

Some customers complain about receiving too many calls and emails from the Bark team

Lead quality may not be consistently satisfactory

Why Do Homeowners Like Bark?

✅ A fast way to find local contractors
✅ Bark has high ratings online (TrustPilot, Better Business Bureau)

✅ A massive database of contractors from different business niches and categories

Is Bark Worth It For Contractors?

Bark is worth it for contractors looking to expand their reach. The platform has 94.9k reviews and a 4.2 star rating on TrustPilot. For example, CHROmosome Consulting & IT Sol writes that Bark’s lead quality has “substantially improved.” The user also praises the Bark Team for their fast response time..

Meanwhile, Martin James gave Bark 3 stars saying their experience with the brand “has been average.” According to the business owner, the low conversion rate can be a challenge. “We have had hires but at £25 per lead on average, it’s not really a long-term solution for getting new customers,” he adds.

9. HomeStars

HomeStars was founded in 2006 by Nancy Peterson. The company serves the Canadian market and has its head office in Toronto, Ontario. In 2017, HomeStars was acquired by HomeAdvisor in a bid to “build a dominant global business and brand.”

HomeStars Pros & Cons

Pros

8 million users visit HomeStars per year

Free basic listing can lead to more online exposure

User-friendly mobile app

Professionals can earn the 'Best of Awards' label

Can upgrade to paid listing & advertising

Earn 'Star Scores' (based on review rating-reputation-and responsiveness)

Can respond to quotes using any device

Cons

HomeStars can downgrade/terminate memberships at their discretion

Basic listing limits you to one service area/one category

Upgrading your profile can be costly

Requesting a membership refund may be hard if you decide to cancel

Why Do Homeowners Like HomeStars?

✅ Free to join & setting up an account is easy
✅ The platform connects you with numerous service providers

✅ View images of contactors’ past projects
✅ Users can read & write reviews

✅ Criminal & credit checks performed on business owners

Is HomeStars Worth It For Contractors?

HomeStars is worth it for contractors looking forward to building an online presence. You can attract interest and exposure for your business by listing it on the platform. However, you’d have to be prepared to put some effort into creating your profile and listings. Plus, you’d have to deal with some potential disadvantages.

On Google, Gavin White says HomeStars offers expensive leads and poor customer support. According to his review, they only closed 12 qualified leads in a year’s time. Canceling an account was also a hassle. 

Can Leveraging Google Get You Better Leads?

Leveraging Google can help your home improvement business get better leads. Google users have high search intent. This means they’re often actively looking for solutions when they go online. Implementing the right strategies can bring a higher ROI than paying third-party platforms. You won’t have to spend so much on leads before you can make any money when you have a prominent Google presence.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With SEO, you can optimize your business website and enjoy higher online visibility. You can boost your rank in Google Search results and therefore, attract more traffic. These visitors can then turn into leads and paying clients.    
  • Google Ads (PPC). Investing in Google Ads (PPC) allows you to target a specific audience and get faster results. This can be done by using keywords and locations unique to your niche. The Google Economic Impact Report says businesses earn an average revenue of $2 for every $1 they spend on Google Ads.  
  • Google My Business. Building a Google My Business profile can enhance your local search visibility. GMB's customer reviews can help you establish credibility and gain more potential leads. According to Google, customers are 2.7x more likely to trust a business with “a complete Business Profile on Google Search and Maps.” 
  • Google Analytics. With this tool, you can understand user behavior better and improve your lead generation strategies. Google Analytics also allows you to identify which campaigns or channels are most effective for your brand.

Why Local Lead Generation Is Better Than Using Third Party Lead Gen Platforms

While using third party platforms has its benefits, local lead generation can take your game to the next level. Generally, most service providers just want to work so they sign up on Yelp, Porch, and other similar sites. With this, you’ll have to pay monthly fees to have a chance against your competition. Unfortunately, spending on these platforms does not always guarantee paying jobs.  When you depend on third party platforms for leads you're potentially setting yourself up for things like:

  • Substantial monthly costs for an unknown amount of leads.
  • Platforms that own your profile-pictures and details of your business.
  • The threat of termination or bad reviews.
  • Upsells for advertising to gain better visibility.
  • Homeowners shopping around for the cheapest deals.

In comparison, local lead generation gets you on top of Google search results. You can attract organic traffic as you target specific niche keywords and locations. This can lead to high-quality leads and better ROI. You can connect with purchase-ready consumers without spending on ads or using HomeAdvisor.

conclusion-lead-gen-maps

Our local lead generation coaching program teaches how you can build and rank your own business websites. We teach you how to dominate your niche without breaking the bank. Some of our students even use our repeatable 3-step process to create lead gen sites and sell leads to local business owners. This approach can allow you to earn an average of $500 to $3,000 for every website you own.

This is also what I’ve been doing since 2015. Today, I make around $52,000 in passive income by owning multiple websites. With lead gen, you have hundreds of niches to choose from. There are no limits on how many websites you can build and no restrictions on selling your leads.

Local lead generation is highly recommended for business owners looking for a way out of third-party traps. Also, it’s ideal for individuals looking for a profitable online business model. We’ve had over 7,000 students and counting, so contact us if this sparks your interest.

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Ippei Kanehara
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$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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