By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
Ten months after BBB revamped its Request A Quote program, it’s bringing BBB Accredited Businesses and consumers together across Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois almost every day.
Consumers have submitted more than 6,000 requests since February 2015. Those requests have been distributed more than 31,000 times to Accredited Businesses throughout your BBB’s service area.
Accredited Businesses tell us these are extremely valuable leads, most of them coming from consumers who’ve done their homework and are ready to buy. And consumers say they appreciate the quick response they get from businesses they can trust. Over-all, 75 percent of Accredited Businesses rated the program as good or exceptional.
Rob Kukuljan, owner of Kirkwood Painting, said Request A Quote has helped him expand his painting business from central St. Louis County to South and North County. He’s also developed relationships with new customers.
“I love it,” Kukuljan said. “This year alone it’s grown my business a lot. From one lead, I got an $80,000 improvement in my business.”
“You really have to jump on it,” Kulkuljan said. “These customers want the work done now.”
Paulo Lee, principal at The One by Maximus, a remodeling, restoration and design/build firm in Creve Coeur, Mo., called BBB leads “definitely helpful.” Lee likes to keep his employees and subcontractors busy every day, and BBB’s leads have helped him do that. “BBB definitely gave us a pretty fair number of leads.” Lee prefers getting the leads as texts to his cell phone so he can respond to them promptly.
Valerie Camden, service department manager at Schaeffer Electric in south St. Louis County, agreed that a quick response is key: “As soon as I see them, I respond to them,” she said. Most of the leads have been for residential or smaller jobs, she said, but with 70 to 80 employees and 80 years in business, Schaeffer also does commercial and industrial work.
John Peters, owner of Alliance Contracting Solutions in Columbia, Ill., called BBB leads among “the strongest referral sources next to a straight-up referral from an existing customer.” He said 90 percent of BBB leads are strong to begin with, and about half of them turn into contracts for remodeling, room additions or other jobs.
“That’s pretty strong,” Peters said. “It’s usually a thoughtful person who’s doing their homework.”
James Lowhorn of Handyman Haulers and Movers in Columbia, Mo., said he appreciates BBB sending him referrals directly. “It means a lot,” especially as a long-term BBB Accredited Business.
Robert Hoffmann, president of Hoffmann Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical Contracting, said his company attributes $43,453 in revenue this year to 52 Request A Quote leads.
Will Reed, owner of Covenant Contracting in Fenton, Mo., said one customer signed up for an $80,000 job after submitting a request through BBB.
Alan Benes, owner of A1 Concrete Leveling in Chesterfield, Mo., said he views Request A Quote as an added bonus for his BBB Accreditation. “You have the opportunity to get additional leads and additional customers that you wouldn’t necessarily have gotten connected with without this system. It’s people who have a need and are researching it. Typically it’s almost quality good quality leads and jobs that need to be done.”
Customers are equally enthusiastic, with 76 percent rating the program good or exceptional, including 44.5 percent who rated it exceptional. Sixty-eight percent said they are likely to use Request A Quote again, and another 23 percent said they might use it again.
Their comments are even more telling.
“It’s a good service – very helpful in finding contractors,” said one man.
“I have a sense of safety with the contractors that have responded,” said another.
“Freaking loved it,” said a new homeowner. “I will use this feature all the time going forward.”
Many consumers said they felt confident requesting responses from BBB Accredited Businesses because they have been checked out by BBB and have an easily understandable rating. BBB Accredited Businesses must have at least a B rating on a scale of A+ to F, the lowest rating.
“I was very happy how quickly the business got in touch with me,” one man said. “This is a very good program! You can see if the business has any complaints and their rating. I will definitely use this again.”
“I was very pleased with the companies that you referred to me,” said a woman who was looking for contractors. “They were all very professional and contacted me almost immediately after you posted my request. Thank you so much for this service.”
A man in the St. Louis areas said, “Getting a lead and a quote via the BBB program tells the vendor I am concerned about quality of service and, in my opinion, holds the vendor to a higher standard.”
“It was a good way to get reputable contractors that are approved from the BBB to give you a quote, said another man. “It feels reassuring to know you have someone honest.”
BBB expects to keep refining Request A Quote and other benefits based on feedback from businesses and consumers. Look for updates in the biweekly BBB Accreditation Update emails and other BBB communications.
This article first appeared in BBB’s Torchlight magazine Winter issue.