To Pay or Not to Pay? Paid vs. Free Home Remodeling Leads 

To Pay or Not to Pay? Paid vs. Free Home Remodeling Leads 

By Jocelyn Van Saun

March 3, 2024

Attracting home remodeling leads is key to keeping your business busy and growing. But what’s the best way to go about finding them?  

This article discusses why finding leads is a must, the difference between paid and free leads, and how to choose what’s best for you. 

We’ll also share some easy steps to start getting both kinds of leads today. 

Ready? Let’s get you set up for more projects and long-term success. 

The Importance of Home Remodeling Leads 

In the home remodeling world, a “lead” is someone who shows interest in your service. 

However, not all leads are the same. 

A low-quality lead might be someone who’s just looking around. They’re not ready to start a project yet. 

A high-quality lead is someone ready to remodel and interested in your services. These leads are more desirable because they are more likely to become paid projects. 

Why Leads Matter 

Leads are important because they’re the first step in booking new jobs. 

Each lead is a chance to talk to a potential customer about what you can do for them. If you do it right, that lead can turn into a project. Each project increases revenue for your business, of course, but it’s also an opportunity to earn a loyal customer who will refer you to others. 

So, if leads are so important, how can you generate more? There are two main ways to get leads in the home remodeling industry: paid and free. 

Man clicking on tablet with paid ad icons

Paid vs. Free Home Remodeling Leads 

The two approaches to home remodeling lead generation can both be effective. Each has its own set of pros and cons. Your choice comes down to knowing what they are and how they apply to your business. 

Let’s look at paid leads first. 

Paid Leads 

Paid leads are when you spend money to get the attention of potential customers. 

Here are some ways you can do this: 

  • Buying leads lists: This involves paying a lead generation company to give you a list of people who have expressed interest in remodeling their homes. 
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: With PPC, you place ads online and pay a fee each time someone clicks on your ad. 
  • Social media ads: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor allow you to run targeted ad campaigns. You can tailor these ads based on user interests, behaviors, and demographics. 
  • Display advertising: Display ads are banner, image, or text ads that appear on websites. They’re not limited to search engine results. They can help increase visibility on websites your target audience might visit. 
  • Email marketing campaigns: You can buy or rent email lists from service providers and send targeted campaigns. This direct approach can be effective if the message resonates. In the home and garden industry, the average email open rate is 35.68%. More than one in three recipients will read your email. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: The 8 Best Lead Generation Companies for Contractors 

So, now that you know what paid leads are, what are the pros and cons of using these methods? 


Paid strategies can generate leads quickly, filling your pipeline in a short amount of time. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend chasing leads on your own but you do have flexibility in your budget, this can work to your advantage. 

Paying for leads simplifies targeting. You can pinpoint specific demographics, locations, or interests using existing data rather than gathering that data yourself. Your ads reach the most relevant audience right away. This helps attract leads who are more likely to convert into projects. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: Managing Expectations: What to Expect When Buying Leads 


Paid lead generation can be costly, especially in competitive markets. High click rates don’t always translate to high conversion rates. You might pay for clicks that don’t lead to actual business. 

Once you stop funding your paid campaigns, the influx of leads also stops. This reliance on continuous investment can be a big con for businesses looking for more sustainable growth options. 

Now, let’s see what free leads are all about. 

Free Leads 

Free leads are those you get without spending money on advertising. 

Here’s how you can attract these leads: 

  • Word-of-mouth: This is one of the most powerful forms of free advertising—88% of people believe their friends over advertising when deciding what to buy. When your clients are thrilled with your work, they’re likely to recommend you. This personal endorsement acts as a trust signal for potential customers. 
  • Organic search engine traffic: Organic traffic happens when people find your website by typing queries into search engines. 
  • Social media engagement: Posting engaging content on social media platforms can help you build a following. Sharing before-and-after photos, DIY tips, or design trends can draw attention to your services. 
  • Content marketing: Creating valuable content, such as blog posts, how-to guides, and videos, can establish your expertise and attract people interested in remodeling. 
  • Online reviews and testimonials: Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Houzz can enhance your credibility and attract new leads. 
  • Networking and partnerships: Relationships with related businesses can result in referrals. Attending local networking events or joining business groups can also expand your network. 

Now, let’s weigh the pros and cons of free leads. 


Free leads don’t require a direct financial investment. This makes them a cost-effective way to build your client base over time. 

Free lead sources like word-of-mouth referrals and organic search rankings can provide a steady stream of leads long after the initial effort has been made. They tend to grow over time as your business reputation builds. 

Leads from referrals or organic searches often have a higher intent to engage your services. Why? Because they’re based on trust or a specific search need. 

Doing your own legwork to generate leads gives you a better understanding of your customers and how they evolve. 


Building a strong referral network or ranking well in search engines demands time and consistent effort. They can be cumbersome tasks if you don’t have time or resources to dedicate to lead generation. 

You may not see results right away. It takes between four months and one year to see results from search engine optimization (SEO). This can be challenging for businesses needing quick growth. 

With free lead generation, you have less control over the volume and pace at which leads come in. It’s more about nurturing and waiting for leads to come to you, which can be unpredictable. 

RELATED ARTICLE: 4 SEO Tips Contractors Can Use for Online Lead Generation 

Remodeling contractor talking to client couple in home

To Pay or Not to Pay? Making the Choice 

If seeing the pros and cons of paid vs. free leads isn’t swaying you one way or the other, there are some individual considerations to factor in. When it comes to getting home remodeling leads, here are three things to think about: 

  1. Budget 

Look over your current budget. Think about how much money you can spend on lead generation. 

If you have enough money set aside for marketing, you might want to try paid leads. 

Focusing on free leads through efforts like social media and networking might be better if your budget is tight. 

  1. Goals 

What are you trying to achieve? 

If you want to get a lot of leads quickly, paid leads might be the way to go. 

If you’re looking to slowly build a strong reputation in your community, focusing on getting free leads might work better. 

  1. Target Audience 

Consider who you want to reach. Look at your current customers and see what they have in common and how they chose you. Those traits might be your audience profile. 

If your ideal customers are very active on social media, paid ads on these platforms could be effective. 

If your best clients come from referrals, nurturing relationships for more word-of-mouth leads might be best. 

What About a Hybrid Approach? 

Sometimes, combining paid and free leads can give you the best of both worlds. Here are a couple of scenarios where a hybrid approach might be beneficial: 

New Business Launch 

If you’re just starting out, you might use paid ads to get your name out there quickly. At the same time, you could work on building a strong online presence with great content that draws in free leads. 

Entering a New Market 

If you’re expanding into a new service area or offering new service options, paid leads can help you get noticed fast. But to really establish yourself, combining this with efforts to get free leads—like engaging with the local community and getting involved in local events—can help solidify your presence. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Boost Your Success With High-Quality Home Improvement Leads 

How to Get Started with Home Remodeling Leads 

Here are some steps you can take right away to start bringing in both paid and unpaid leads: 

Set Up Your Online Profiles.  

Make sure your business is listed on Google Business and other online directories. Create business accounts on your preferred social media platforms as well. Consistent profiles and contact information help people find you when they search online. 

Ask for Reviews.  

After you finish a project, ask your happy customers to leave a review online. Good reviews make you appear more trustworthy, and more people will want to work with you. 

Try Social Media Ads.  

Pick a social media platform where your potential customers spend a lot of time. Start with a small ad to see how it goes. 

Network Locally.  

Never underestimate the power of face-to-face interaction. Get involved in your community or join local business groups. Developing personal relationships can lead to more familiarity with your business and recommendations from your contacts. 

The Takeaway

Interested in attracting home remodeling leads?

Here at Socius Marketing, we’re experts in helping home remodeling contractors generate leads through both paid and free initiatives and decipher which avenue is best for them.

Click here to learn more.