Professional Painter Pricing Tools and HomeAdvisor

Goals

To identify apps (or other software tools) that assist professional painters in job pricing estimation as well as understand their perceptions of HomeAdvisor. This information will be used to help support the development of a pricing tool that would be used by consumers to connect them with a professional painter.

Early Findings

Pricing Apps Used By Professional Painters

Painting Job Estimator Pro

  • This app supports the pricing of interior rooms and exterior painting jobs for professional painters.
  • Inputs include square footage, room perimeter, and item prices which allow a painting contractor to accurately bid on painting or wallpaper jobs as well as accurately estimate quantities of products needed for a job.
  • Painting Job Estimator_10 can price up to 10 rooms simultaneously.
  • This is not considered to be a particularly aesthetically pleasing app.

JobFLEX Estimating and Billing App

Painting Contractor Estimates

  • This is an app positioned as a "leading app for painters" that provides "fast, accurate, professional estimates", customizes invoices, and shows labor and material costs for a job.
  • Developed by JZ Mobile LLC, this app is available for $7.99 on the app store.
  • The app also includes "add-ons" such as cloud sync ($6.99), monthly statements ($11.99), and spreadsheet export ($1.99).

JOIST

  • Joist was cited within Painttalk.com, a forum for professional painters, in response to a request for a relatively simple app that offers the ability to develop estimates, billing, pictures, notes and other functionality.
  • Developed by Joist Software, the estimation feature of the app is positioned as offering the ability to "win more clients on-the-spot with quick and professional estimates."
  • Key benefits include time-saving ("create estimates in minutes"), visual simplicity ("Win more jobs with fast, easy-to-read, detailed estimates"), a digital signature feature, and additional features specifically designed for contractors ("take advantage of cost markups, deposit requests, payment schedules, and job photos to estimate like a pro").
  • The app also offers the ability to create templates and customize contracts.

HomeAdvisor

  • The advantages of HomeAdvisor for contractors include its business effectiveness, the ability to reach a wider range of clients, and its ease of use.
  • Contractors give up certain rights to their business via HomeAdvisor Terms of Service, which allows HomeAdvisor to link information in a contractor profile to back to their site.
  • Additional disadvantages include the inefficiency of following up with non-productive leads and the cost of leads.
  • This article discussing the use of HomeAdvisor for painting contractors notes a problem with bad leads (and that HomeAdvisor demonstrates a lack of concern for "bad leads", charging regardless of the lead quality).
  • Other concerns include poor descriptions of leads (leading to mismatches) and concerns that leads were offered to more than 4 contractors (leading to too much competition for each lead). Some specific comments among painting contractors include "The service charges a high price for leads. Nobody charges more for leads than HomeAdvisor. This isn’t a problem necessarily, but…" and "They are terrible about granting refunds on bad leads. You really have to fight and battle them to get credited for bad leads."
  • One commenter on the PaintTalk forum notes they "steer clear" of HomeAdvisor as it is a lead generation service, which generally provides lower quality leads.
  • In fact, a class-action lawsuit was filed against HomeAdvisor Pro in 2016 by a number of contractors, alleging "that the supplied leads are not from targeted, serious, qualified and/or project-ready homeowners.
  • A 2019 thread on "lead generation" among professional painters on Painttalk, which asked about the value of various lead generation services (including HomeAdvisor), included commentary that highlighted the value of local services versus the larger platforms (such as HomeAdvisor). Comments included, "Best results I've had have been with a local marketing business rather than the big guys. Big difference in what I'm paying compared to what I get, and the leads don't go to a bunch of other contractors - only to me," and "I agree, typically get much better results from the local marketing businesses than the big dogs. And you can typically have much better communication with the company, rather than having to submit generic ticket requests for support that take days to get a response."
  • Using HomeAdvisor successfully involves setting a budget with the company, being extremely clear about the types of leads that will be acceptable, being selective with leads, and using the service only for large jobs.

Summary of Early Findings

  • We were able to uncover four apps used by professional painters for bidding jobs. Many of these apps also offer additional features such as invoicing or the ability to take photos. There was no clear "winner" or "top" list of pricing apps for painters, and the painting professional forum we consulted confirmed that many painters are using different pricing apps and websites for job bidding.
  • While we focused on painting job bid apps, it appears that general contracting apps are used by painters for pricing as well.
  • We uncovered mostly negative impressions about HomeAdvisor among painting professionals, though this may be because frustrated painting professionals may be more likely to express their concerns (versus noting when the service is working well). Several of those on the professional painter forum noted more success with local marketing efforts.
  • Recommendations are based on the results of early research.

Proposed next steps:

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