The idea behind a lead generation service is simple: it allows customers and professionals to connect. The customers won’t need to do hours of research, and the professionals won’t need to spend excess time and money trying to reach potential customers. Today we’re going to take a close look at a commonly used service, Porch, and then compare it with Pro In Your Pocket to see how each measures up.

Porch: The Essentials

Porch is a lead generation site that’s designed for home projects. It’s is unique in that it has two professional networks. The first is composed of Porch Service Pros—professionals who work directly for Porch. The second is a separate Porch Pro Network—professionals who work for their own companies, but are contracted to find customers through Porch.

The Customer’s Perspective

Customers who go through Porch will need to answer a few questions about their project in order to determine pricing and find the right Pro for the job. Once this is completed, Porch sends out the project proposal to the relevant Porch Service Pros nearby. Up to four of these Pros are allowed to respond with a bid. If there isn’t one available in the area, Porch will recommend nearby professionals in the Porch Pro Network.

From the customer’s perspective, Porch’s system seems pretty flawless. It’s easier than many other services because the Pros come to the customer, instead of the customer needing to sort through a long list of Pros to find the right one. However, there is one problem: because there’s a limit of four Pro responses, the options are extremely limited. From the customer’s point of view, you might be getting four responses from mediocre or overpriced Pros because the best Pros just weren’t fast enough in their response. Other services like Pro In Your Pocket are much better equipped to help customers find the Pros with the right skills and prices. With Pro In Your Pocket, there’s no limit to the number of Pros who can bid for each project.

The Pro’s Perspective

When it comes to the Pro’s side of things, Porch is by far one of the most expensive and least beneficial options for lead generation services. To be a Porch Service Pro, there’s a yearly subscription of $359 (the first year is discounted to $259. And remember, the only way you can bid on a project is to become a Porch Service Pro). On top of that, each lead will cost between $10 and $30 to respond to, depending on the scope of the project. 

With that in mind, a professional would be much better off picking a lead generation service that doesn’t cost so much. Even if you can afford the subscription and lead fees, you’re guaranteed to be paying for several leads that won’t work out. Instead, look for a service that either doesn’t charge for leads or has a low subscription fee—or both! (Hint, hint: Pro In Your Pocket hits both of those points.)

Stifling the Market

As if Porch’s fees weren’t bad enough, there’s a huge issue with the system of only allowing four Pros to respond to a project. It’s designed to not overwhelm the customer with responses, but it seriously limits the amount of bids you as a Pro will even be allowed to place.

Not only that, but this system inherently favors the bigger businesses with more overhead funds. Only four Pros are allowed to respond, which means that the fastest businesses will win out over the slower ones—and the fastest ones are generally bigger businesses that can afford to keep a person or two specifically on the task of responding to leads. It’s the smaller businesses that suffer with Porch’s system, since they don’t tend to have enough funds to keep a person on staff to hunt down leads and will instead need to respond at their leisure. Ironically, supporting these smaller businesses is the reason why services like Porch were created in the first place. But with Porch’s market-stifling system, the big businesses will grow while the smaller ones are pushed out. Professionals would do much better to find a lead generation service that doesn’t limit the number of bids on a project.

The Bottom Line

As a service for customers, Porch isn’t too bad. Its system definitely makes the process of finding a professional much easier than other sites like Takl or Thumbtack. As a lead generator for professionals, though, Porch is definitely not a good option. The subscription rate is extremely inflated, the pay-per-lead system is inferior, and the limit of four Pros’ responses to a lead suffocates the market.

Unless you’re part of a business that can afford to throw thousands of dollars at a service without a guarantee of even making that money back, Porch is not the site for you. Instead, try out a service that improves on Porch’s weaknesses. Take a look at a lead generation site like Pro In Your Pocket, which has only a $24 monthly fee, no pay-per-lead system, and places no limit on the number of bids per project request.