How one young entrepreneur streamlined leads, built a stellar team and crafted a winning reputation.

Peter Stadeli, Owner of STA-Built Construction, LLC in Rochester, Wash., discovered his passion for hardscaping while he was still in high school, working for a landscaper as a summer job. When Stadeli graduated, he bought tools from his old boss, got a business license and started off on his own.

Four years later, Stadeli has over 10 employees. And his company is on track to make 1.5 million dollars. As a young entrepreneur, Stadeli attributes his success to a strong company image, a team-oriented culture and the use of the HomeAdvisor app in managing his business.

Joining HomeAdvisor and Mastering the App

When he first started out, Stadeli was hesitant to jump on board with HomeAdvisor. A friend convinced him to join — and it’s a decision he doesn’t regret.
“HomeAdvisor really kicked it up to the next level for me,” says Stadeli. “I struggled with getting enough work and we picked up a lot more work with them. That first year, probably 70 percent of our work came from HomeAdvisor.”

Stadeli’s Favorite App Feature? Color Coding

“The thing I use a lot is the color coding of leads. I have my own color coding, and I use the colors they give to help me know which leads are which, which I need to follow up with and which are sold. From day one, if I would’ve done the color coding, it would’ve saved me lots of trying to figure that out. That would’ve been a really big help for me.”

With a modest lead spend and coverage area, Stadeli started out getting simple text messages with lead information. But now, using the HomeAdvisor app, he’s able to categorize his leads to scale and run his business more efficiently.

“I didn’t use the app right away,” Stadeli says. “But as I kept doing more and more work, I had to figure out ways to streamline it and make it easier. The app is very, very straightforward to use. It definitely makes it easier. You can access the address away from your desk. Everything is right there in front of you.”

Maintaining a Strong Company Image

Stadeli believes that treating his company as a brand has helped him build the kind of image that stands out and wins jobs. He credits three key elements for his success in rising above the competition:

1. Building Trust: “A lot of people are nervous about construction,” he says. “Their impression is that they have to have a lawyer ready to back them up on the contract. We write everything up professionally and clean up every day before we leave. We change that construction attitude to a higher-end type of work.”

2. Taking Time: “When we do our estimates, we’re very polite with people. They’re spending a lot of money. So, we try to answer all of their questions. That’s one way we’ve won jobs. Instead of spending 30 minutes there, we are there for two hours talking about the project. I highly recommend to anybody: spend your time, do your homework with the leads. It will pay off.”

3. Connecting: “One thing we do that people really, really like – and this isn’t just with follow-up; it’s with leads that we set – is we have a template email. It has references, a bit about our company and information about financing. I send that off to people. It really opens the door. I don’t know how many people we’ve won simply because they said, ‘Nobody ever sent us information about themselves.’”

Building a Team-Oriented Culture

You may not know it by his success, but Stadeli is actually the youngest member of his own staff. He’s been able to build his team from one employee to over 10, he says, through a culture of passion and collaboration.

“What’s really key for me is: I like what I do,” Stadeli says. And it’s important to him that his employees feel the same. He makes an effort to keep morale high and to ensure that that his team enjoys the work. “All of the employees we have, it’s not all because of the pay,” he says. “I would say it’s because of the atmosphere. They like feeling like a part of the company, they like having responsibility and they like to be trusted.”

To create and maintain that positive and supportive environment, Stadeli holds weekly meetings in which the team addresses issues and shares ideas. “We talk about where we are, where we’re going and what our next goal is,” Stadeli says. “It gets everybody started off on the right foot.”

Takeaways for Pros

Speaking from his own experience, Stadeli says, “If anybody wants my opinion on whether to join or not, or whether to do some other type of marketing: Forget any other type of marketing. Start out with HomeAdvisor. You can always add on something else. You’re going to do just fine with HomeAdvisor.”

If it seems like a big leap to take, Stadeli understands the hesitation. “Sometimes, the biggest fear is going ahead and trying it,” he says. “But HomeAdvisor is going to be there to help you through if you have any problems.”

Stadeli also advocates for using HomeAdvisor as a full-time resource for leads. “Don’t think HomeAdvisor should just be supplement work,” he says. “Treat it as live work. They (homeowners) are looking to hire somebody. Call them up right away. If you can, in the first five minutes. Get out there, get your estimate or appointment. Don’t be scared of using HomeAdvisor as a main source of leads because they’ll give you as much as you can carry. And you can always put it on pause if you get too many for that week.”