In this article, we attempt to clear up a few unknowns about the design platform known as Houzz. This company has several offerings that work together, culminating in a massive marketplace that brings together Architects, professional contractors, remodelers, interior designers and other AEC Professionals... and their customers.
From a layman standpoint, this is a social platform That you can use to browse interesting home designs and interior decoration inspiration.
For professionals, this is a platform that can be used to manage your business, gain digital visibility, get in front of potential clients, and even pay for leads.
The selling proposition is very simple, all you need to do is create a free Pro profile, and you'll be listed on the directory that local clients use when searching for home building/remodeling services.
Many professionals are tempted by the paid services that this platform has to offer, which promise lead generation, and increased visibility to potential clients. The end result for you would be all the leads that you can handle - you just need to close and profit.
It's made to sound very simple, and in this article we wanted to take a look at if that is the real case. We also wanted to add a bit more transparency to the services offered, pricing of the Houzz Lead Generation offering and if it actually works.
A major question that many professionals have is how much does this cost, and is it worth it to me. Unfortunately, to answer the question of cost, you'll need to speak with Houzz directly as this varies widely depending on your geographical location (we discuss the pricing structure and set up in depth in later sections of this article). To answer the question of value, you most likely will need to understand how the service works, what it offers you, and the general costs you can expect.
When it comes to Houzz, there are two major plans, pro and pro ultimate. Both are different (but similar) offerings, so you should understand what you're looking at before diving into the pricing and value of the service.
This article is primarily discussing the Houzz Premium (AKA Houzz Pro Ultimate) service.
This may also be referred to as Houzz Pro+ or Houzz Pro Ultimate. With this service, the Pro features like invoicing and time tracking (discussed below) come bundled.
Houzz Premium Is a marketing and lead generation service. It offers several core features, but pricing varies depending on the county that you operate in/target, as do the services. This isn't something that you end up buying completely autonomously, instead, you speak to a sales representative of the company, and a custom plan is created for you.
The main offering is local advertising, which includes sponsored placements in the photo stream. When homeowners go on the platform, this is the main feature that they use. You work will be added to the photo stream in a more visible location (paid ads). The idea behind this is that more local visitors will see your work, fall in love with it, and then explore your company, culminating in them reaching out to you through Houzz.
“Every photo on Houzz gives credit to the pro who did the work. Photos directly link to the right pro’s profile on Houzz, so that homeowners can view more of that pro’s work, learn about their business, view their videos, and reach out by phone or email - all just a click away from each and every photo. Sponsored placements boost a pro’s visibility on Houzz in the photo stream, and surface their photos to targeted homeowners who live in their area.”Houzz KB Article
There are also a couple of additional features, including project match, which matches homebuilding professionals with homeowners based on a questionnaire that actionable leads complete, live connections which facilitates real time connections over this phone, and the chance to be written about via the editorial team.
Sounds great, right? If you're thinking this, I highly recommend continuing to read this article, specifically the pricing and value sections.
Pricing, which we discuss in the next section, is variable, and ranges anywhere from $150 per month to $999+.
This is another plan of the company offers, and with this comes transparent pricing, which isn't the case with the premium plan. Keep in mind, this is included if you choose to opt for the Premium service. Quoted from the company, here’s a succinct description:
“Houzz Pro is the only all-in-one business software that designers can use to manage the full project life cycle, including attracting and converting new clients, communicating with clients about their projects and handling billing and payments all in one place.”
This service offers a set of business tools created specifically for housing professionals like designers and architects. Think back office, administrative tools, like the ability to except online payments, invoicing and change orders, lead management, proposals and estimates, and more. This also integrates with the social aspect of the platform, allowing you to have more control over your directory listing (which can be put up for free), and see who is looking at your profile.
Houzz Pro Is more of a software as a service offering for design professionals, which allows you to easily invoice clients, track of time, manager leads, and have more control over your directory listing on the Houzz platform.
Houzz Premium Is an all in one lead generation service that includes targeted local advertising, online presence help (website + optimization), and premium placement on the consumer facing Houzz platform. It comes with the Pro features bundled, whether you use them or not.
Again, this article is about Houzz Premium, the lead generation tool which includes website help, placement on the directory (premium profile) and local advertising.
There's no visible pricing table on the Houzz website, and this is by design. For many architects and designers, it is difficult to gauge the value of a platform if you don't even know what you will be paying per month. There are two major reasons why Houzz does not display upfront pricing: sales and variability.
First, Let's talk about the variability of Houzz pricing. Depending on the county that you want to target, the pricing will be vastly different.
For example, a low competition county, in a low population density area could cost you anywhere between $100 and $300 per month. In a more competitive market, with more leads being generated, you may end up paying $400-$600 a month.
From user reports, you can pay monthly or annually, with an annual price being a little bit more valuable (ie get 1 month free, when compared to the total monthly cost). Interestingly enough, we saw tons of different figures for monthly pricing depending on the county, but the annual figure of $4,000 popped up a ton of times (regardless of county).
With this comes one small benefit. You are able to negotiate with the company, in regards to your monthly pricing and the packaged services that it includes. How much you can whittle it down is up to you, and there is probably a company policy in regards to this, but if you are seriously considering the service, keep this in your back pocket.
This non-transparent pricing is also so the representatives of the company can attempt to sell you on the plan. From clients that we have worked with in the past, we know that this company will pursue you for a sale. What that means is that you'll be getting many sales calls, advertising the pros of this service.
Overwhelmingly, the reports that we have seen from clients, and in professional groups of architects and contractors are negative.
There are a few major themes. First, many think that organic posting on the free version of the platform is good enough, and paying anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to over 1000 per month for placement isn't really worth it.
The second major opinion is that the leads aren't actionable or valuable. I've seen this opinion many times in Facebook groups and through the clients that I have worked with in the past, and all believe that if you are looking to spend money on advertising, they are better places to do it.
From what we have seen, and the pricing of the service, we have to say that this is not worth it. Of course, this is just an opinion, and it may be completely different for you. If you're able to get a one-month subscription, it may be worth checking it out and seeing if the leads that it generates are of any value to your business.
However, if you are considering spending $400 a month on location specific leads, there are probably better ways to use that money.
Nothing beats local SEO and an incredibly well designed website in the design industry.
This may be a bit biased, as we are a web design agency that specializes in the AEC industry, But having a digital portfolio that looks professionally done, inspires Design confidence, and showcases your work to local audiences (for “free” if you get SEO right), Is a much better ass add to invest your money in, rather than paying for a (any) service.
With our existing clients, we have seen this time and time again. After specifically focusing on their website, and the local Search engine ranking placement, their leads skyrocketed, the cost per lead collapsed, and their digital presence become something they were proud of.
Of course, this advice is specific to your digital presence. You probably already know this, but referrals are the best source of business (same for us). A personal recommendation to a potential client from an existing one is the best way to generate a lead that will most likely end up as a paying client.
Specific to architects and contractors, we have seen monetary incentives for referrals, Which result in higher quality leads that are more personalized to your company.
We would love to hear your thoughts about this article, and if you have any experience with the Houzz platform (good or bad). Feel free to leave them in the comments below!