Housepainter doubled his business using Thumbtack: 'I'm making 5 times the dollar amount that I put in'

Da Cruz's first year on the platform alone brought in around 200 leads.

Juliano Da Cruz.
Courtesy Juliano Da Cruz

In 2019, Juliano Da Cruz was looking for a way to expand his housepainting business, Paint Lab Painting. Da Cruz, 47 and based in Westchester, New York, is originally from Brazil, and had begun painting homes through his father's business when he arrived in the U.S. in 1997. He'd been working as an independent contractor for a few years and "was thinking I should diversify and look for other sources of income," he says, when a friend told him about Thumbtack.

Thumbtack is an online marketplace for local service businesses or professionals ranging from personal trainers to snow plowers. "I was trying to get maybe 10% to 15% of my leads" from the site, says Da Cruz. His first year on the platform alone brought in around 200 leads. His second, last year, he doubled his business.

Here's how Da Cruz has been able to steadily grow his revenue and business, and his advice for anyone looking for ways to do the same.

He makes '5 times the dollar amount' on leads

Small-biz owners can use a number of different tools to get their names out there to paying customers. Da Cruz focused his efforts on Thumbtack and the investment has paid off.

While he might pay anywhere from $15 to $58 for a lead he gets on Thumbtack, "my records for 2020 show that I'm making five times the dollar amount that I put into the platform," he says. "So, for example, if by the end of the year I've put $5,000 into Thumbtack, I'll have made $25,000 on that investment."

For those who chose to invest in leads on the site, it will promote them to clients looking for relevant work, notify the entrepreneur when they've been messaged, and charge the latter for the lead when the conversation between client and worker begins.

He takes 'smaller jobs' in the slow months

"Construction in New York, it goes from January and February, very low. But then it explodes in the summertime," says Da Cruz. "We go from not having enough work to keep our guys busy to having more work than we have guys to do."

As such, in the slower months, Da Cruz is more open to taking on "smaller projects," ones that last as little as one day, "to keep my guys working," he says, and to keep revenue coming in.

3 tips for starting a business during coronavirus

Video by Jason Armesto

His advice: Remember 'it's customer service'

"There's one thing that contractors don't pay enough attention to," he says. "At least a couple of times a month, I will knock on someone's door and they will have this surprised look on their face and say, 'Oh, you're on time!'" It's these little details that make clients feel they're being taken care of.

Remember that "it's customer service" that will often help you expand your business, he says.

Consider all of the different ways that could make your interaction with clients better ― like answering emails promptly and being patient with their inquiries ― and make sure to apply them.

"If you are on time for an appointment," says Da Cruz, "you are already ahead of the game."

More from Grow: