By Dean Landers, Landers Appliance, DLanders@LandersAppliance.com
Thanks to UASA member Tom Kissane, Tiger Mechanical Services, for alerting us to SERVIZ. As stated by Tom: “My marketing company SERVICERS WEB (http://servicersweb.com/) caught this. My PPC was averaging $9 per click and this company is driving up over $30. “
Warning! Pay Per Click (PPC) costs are going to rise dramatically in some markets, especially in the “Appliance Repair” heading. There is a new company that is coming into selected markets and intentionally pushing the PPC costs to the exorbitant level with the desire to price the market so that only the big players can be in the game, effectively squashing the competition, especially the little guys! This new company is well funded and has had great success in disrupting the few markets they have entered in the 10 months (12/14) they have been in existence.
The company behind this effort is SERVIZ. They have raised over $20 million in funding and have targeted 20 home repair/service categories, including drain cleaning, electrical, handyman, carpet cleaning, garage door repair, window cleaning, HVAC, and others. SERVIZ is currently infiltrating four markets, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Phoenix. They are expected to enter an additional 20 markets by December of 2016. Their founder, Zorik Gordon is also the Co-Founder and CEO of ReachLocal, a firm known to many in the appliance service industry.
According to Mr. Gordon, SERVIZ allows consumers to shop on line from a selected group of service providers for a specific price that has been named and agreed to up front. Consumers pay after the work is completed. Gordon was cited in an article from Wired.com as saying contractors will make slightly less on jobs provided through SERVIZ but that the service company would still make money. “We offer them volume, and a job they might not otherwise have gotten.”
One of United Servicers Association members, Tom Kissane, Tiger Mechanical Services just outside Phoenix brought this company to our attention. Tom has serious concerns about this company’s impact on his own marketing program and posted on ChatUSA that “My PPC costs are going to double at a minimum because of this.”
Where does this leave us? What can we do to prepare for such an onslaught against our small businesses? For starters, don’t rush out and do anything foolish, expensive or dramatic. And don’t sit idly by doing nothing! Measure your response. Remember, these types of companies that auction off service to the lowest bidder usually end up with the bottom of the barrel service providers lining up to do the work. The work is mediocre at best. If you continue to deliver excellent service in every way you can, you will always have a dedicated customer base in your market. Customers want quality service from professionals who have their best interest at heart. And whatever you do, don’t enter into a bidding war in the PPC game. Yes, they will have a negative impact initially. Hold on! Weather the storm. Revert to old tried and true methods of marketing your business including sending post cards to your existing customers reminding them you are ready to serve their needs. Work on improving your web site content. Go door to door in targeted housing developments with fliers that tout your company’s expertise, professionalism and familiarity of the community. Improve your FaceBook page. Think, strategize, and implement. This is the not the first time this sort of company has tried to capture the appliance service market and it certainly won’t be the last.