Do you have an ad in the Yellow Pages? Many home improvement contractors do. Yellow Pages use declined 7.6% in 2006, reflecting a widespread shift to the Internet for consumers researching products and services. But recently, use of the Yellow Pages print edition has been more stable. This year people went to the Yellow Pages print version 13.4 billion times ? about the same as 2007 ? and the book of advertisements and listings remains a favorite place for homeowners to find local home improvement contractors.

How popular are home improvement listings? A 2008 national study conducted by Knowledge Networks/SRI, in Cranford, N.J., based on more than 9,000 phone interviews with Yellow Pages users shows that out of roughly 4,000 Yellow Pages headings, major home improvement categories such as roofing, windows, gutters/downspouts, and siding are among the most frequently referenced.

Need a Roofer?

"Roofing contractor," not surprisingly, tops the list, being the 30th most frequently referenced heading by Yellow Pages users. (The top 10 are, in this order: restaurants, physicians, auto parts, auto repair, pizza, auto dealers, attorneys, dentists, plumbers, and beauty salons.)

Based on more than 9,000 telephone interviews, the survey results project that U.S. consumers go to the Yellow Pages seeking a roofing contractor 67 million times in a year. The two months when users are more likely to call listed roofing companies are September and December. Those looking for a roofing contractor in the Yellow Pages are looking for a new roof 46% of the time, and roof repair 30% of the time.

Those using the Yellow Pages to find a roofer are likely to be college-educated, over 50 years old, have an income of at least $60,000, and to have lived at their current address for 10 years or more.

Citing a separate report, Yellow Pages Association director of research Larry Small says 27% of those who are actively shopping for a roofing contractor consult the Yellow Pages.

When They'll Call

Other home improvement headings rank high in popularity with Yellow Pages users as well. Survey results show that seasonality is a big predictor of just when Yellow Pages users will pick up the phone and call.

  • Windows are number 85 on the list, with 26 million references annually.
  • October and June are the biggest months for use of the Yellow Pages to find a window company.
  • Regionalism is a factor. Homeowners in the West and Midwest are 30% more likely than average to use the Yellow Pages to call a window company. Least likely are homeowners in the South, which lacks extremes of heat and cold that make the energy savings of modern windows compelling for cold-climate consumers.
  • Gutters and downspouts rank number 126 in Yellow Pages usage. Gutter installation/repair was the reason for the call 30% of the time, followed by gutter cleaning (16%) and leaf guards/gutter shields (10%). Like those seeking roofing contractors, gutter and downspout callers tend to be over 50 and to have resided in the house for 10 years or more.
  • Siding is the 286th most frequently referenced heading. The study shows that 67% of those who went to the Yellow Pages to look up siding were interested in siding installation, and that the "siding" heading experienced above average usage levels in April through August.