Monday, January 25, 2010 and

Lead generation services may not end up delivering useful leads to your business. Here's why. Often times they just don't get the traffic to make it happen.

Above Graphic Courtesy of They will tell you that the results may not be perfectly accurate, however we use google analytics and I can assure you that our numbers are roughly 400% of what they indicate. Even at 25% of the actual numbers you can see how we dominate these directory sites for traffic.

Here at we build Decks, Pergolas, Fences and Outdoor Woodwork. We are Niche Specialists and also innovators of unique looking things. Therefore people link to our designs and single us out as "Leaders in our Field"-- Outdoor Woodwork Experts.

These directory sites like and specialize in HUNDREDS of different trades with a fraction of our traffic.

We've been tracking Carpentry Trade leads through and we set it up for a 500 mile radius... just to know how many leads they get. For December there were less than 10. For June (peak exterior season), there was about 35.

These are not guaranteed jobs, these are simply leads, which can be anything from another contractor doing price research to potential customers that don't have a clue and are looking at feasibility of the project. This is post hole auguring, to fence repairs, to chain link to decks and deck repairs all the way up to additions and new constructions.

These are leads which each contractor bidding will pay a fee to the lead generation site.

"installation of a fence, 5 feet plus lattice, roughly 100 feet total.
online estiamtes only please"

"New home requiring second level deck. Approximately 30' X 12'"

"Add a 2nd storey addition on a 750 sq. ft bungalow"

"I need the fence between my neighbour's and my yard replaced...
It is roughly 35' in length and it shall have gates for entrance to my and or his yard. "

Some of the leads look legitimate, but you have to remember that some are small jobs that they can't find anyone to do locally for cheap--and all are in competition with other builders.

This is the difference between and these Directory / Lead Generation Sites.... Our builders tell us that in an area of 500,000+ low rise population, on sunny days they may get more than 5 leads in a day--directly to their phone--without a price tag.

We don't sell the leads. You get set up, we help you with design by giving you background and specifications from past projects, a portfolio, a very functional website showcase and you get the leads directly to your phone and email... without competing with other builders in our group. One builder per area.

We just don't believe our builders should have to compete with lesser contractors. They should be building beautiful things for customers that expect something better!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Planning Decks Fences and Pergolas for Spring 2010

This looks to be the Busiest Spring Season in Many Years.

Most people that could afford to build a deck or pergola last year held off. This is turning into a glut of work and the phones are lit up with designs for spring projects. I have personally not seen so many calls this early in the season ever.

Our deck designers and builders are busy, as are our landscape designers. The ground is open in many areas that is often covered in deep snow, and after last year we are happy to see it.

For spring service you would be well served to get in touch with your local builder before they are booked well into summer. I would expect that most of our people will be booking mid summer by some time in early March.

If it is a complicated pergola or deck with curves and multiple levels you need to at least get on the design aspect within the next couple of weeks or you may be waiting for the fall in many areas.

To Develop plans for decks and pergolas often takes a week or two

To find your local Deck Builders (click)

To speak to a Representative Call (888) 293-8938

Monday, January 18, 2010

Outlook for the Deck and Fence Business 2010

To learn about Starting a Deck Company click here

A better year for Quality Deck and Fence Builders

I hope everyone had a great Christmas season.
Are you ready for the next challenging year? Last year I am sure you noticed things were a little slower for most deck builders. People were holding off on those big purchases due to uncertainty. In the US house prices were falling and folks just didn't want to take the risk in many cases. Locally our trade association saw a 20% decrease in landscape trades, though consensus from our builders was that they were par with 2008 for 2009. The government stimulus had little to no positive effect in Canada that we witnessed.

Since then the stock market has recovered substantially, and some people even made large profits from the rebound. These are all high end clients that may be doing outdoor woodwork.


10% unemployment in the US, 9% Unemployment in Canada,(these numbers don't include those that have given up on looking or whose unemployment benefits have finished.)

What does this mean to deck builders? That all depends where you live. Local unemployment can range between 6-15%, so some areas are better than others.

It means that the less expensive the project--the more competition there will be for every job. Under $5k decks will see deck builders competing heavily for every job.
Fences will be built for low wages typically. I've seen $18/lf in the Toronto area, where the average 2 years ago was $25/lf. When people lose their jobs there are always hundreds of little deck and fence companies starting up--though they rarely last more than a season.

As the job scope increases in complexity and budget you will find more
savvy customers that will insist on paying a little more for talent and
design. There is a glut of work in the high end that didn't get done last year.

Builders expecting to transition into the "high end deck market" will need to bring their "A Game".

Composite Decking

Composite Decking Producers still have not created an honorable warranty that will
include labor and disposal as part of their product warranties, so is on a strict "Signed Waiver" policy. A waiver is signed acknowledging that should the product be defective they will have to pursue the composite company to recoup their labor and disposal
costs, and that presently their composite decking warranty excludes that.

New Taxes for Ontario- Additional 8% PST on
Decks and Fences

In Ontario, with an unemployment rate of near 9% we are heading for a tax
increase May 1/2010. While most governments are thinking stimulus, our
provincial government is afflicting us with an extra 8% to the cost of
what deck and fence builders do. This means that the majority of our
work in the province will likely be booked before May 1, and finished
by July 1 to avoid the tax. After that a large percentage of that
business will be driven underground. Look for more old minivans
building bad fences for $20.00 cash! Obviously there will be more
pressure on the low end, with the high end projects happening as usual.
Like many other places in North America, there is a large glut of high
end work poised to be done in the coming year that people held off on last year.


The internet is getting busier as all businesses try to capitalize on the benefits of traffic, which in turn makes it more difficult to get traffic. Your average 1 year old small
company website will see 30-100 visitors a month if you do everything
right. Make mistakes and you may get no visits.
gets well over 100,000 unique visits a month to our sites most months.

Traffic to our sites increased 20% during 2009. We are forecasting an increase
of 20-30% in 2010 as well.

Phone book advertising and home shows are getting less effective leaving internet and direct
mail as the dominant methods for lead generation.

The phone book crowd is getting a little older, they have nested and
beautified their residences many years ago and their view of the value
of decks and fences is all about price. 30-50 year olds are more likely
to walk to the computer and type what they are looking for into Google.
Google is improving their game as well, penalizing directories and
cheaters using SEO to manipulate their results.

This is one of the advantages. We can cut through the
directories, pay for lead services, and spammy sites and get you into
the listings with your local phone number right on the page.

In Summary

Semi skilled deck builders building for the lowest price will have a very tough time in 2010 with increased competition for fewer dollars. A glut of high end work will help companies like increase total sales and increase pricing slightly because many of our competitors are weakened or out of the business. In Ontario we have never seen so many leads so early in the year from any area, let alone a frozen solid, snow covered Ontario. After July there may be a drought for a couple of months while people grow to accept the new PST tax on decks and fences. All in all it looks like a promising year for Builders.
To find out more about the Builder Group by calling
888 293 8938 or visit this page first. Builder Group