New for 2013 is the Official Contractors Club Directory. I get several requests a month from homeowners using the "Contact Us" site looking for a contractor. I typically don't respond to them unless I know someone in the area off hand. I figured by introducing the Contractor Directory section to the site it will give us all an opportunity not only to make ourselves available to the homeowners browsing the site but internally as a list of who's doing what and where.
I have not made an official set of requirements and won't until we find a bad apple. So as of know it's safe to assume that those listed in this directory are ethical and have nothing but the best intentions when it comes to serving the public.
Angie's list has been getting a lot of attention lately. From its IPO last year to the massive advertising campaign it has launched. Even posting a loss recently their membership has grown nearly 66% based on their reports. For a long time I liked how their system worked. Customer's paid to have access to a business listing as opposed to most of the sites where the service provider buys leads. It was free for my business and while I didn't get lots of high value projects, I got several small service type jobs that where good and profitable.
Everything seemed well until I got a sales call last week from my "Ad Sales Representative". She starts on what appears to be a call about making sure all my information is accurate and then switches straight to selling me advertising. She asks me how I'm liking angieslist and I tell her "I like it because I don't have to pay for leads and it's much more ethical than most lead generation sites". No sooner than I state that she cut into how would you like to increase your exposure. Right now you're in a bucket of contractors and for a fee you can make your listing rank higher up the list.
Most contractors have little knowledge on how to properly estimate a job. How many of these "What's the going rate" or "How much should I charge" questions have you came across on the internet? Now some things are hard to estimate especially if you have no previous data to use or doing something that truly is unique. If you are specialty contractor that does something like windows, roofing, siding, decks or some other sort of repetitive trade estimating is easy and can be nearly effortless.
Let face it. Estimating accurately is defiantly one of the most important aspects of contracting. If your bids are to low you're going to get lots of low profit work and have a high liability to profit ratio. If your numbers are to high, you going to barely get any work at all. If you are accurately bidding your jobs and keeping your costs down by negotiating with vendors you should hit that sweet spot where you are getting plenty of good profitable work.