While Downing got lucky initially, his continued success hasn't been a cake walk. "In anything that you're going to be successful in, it's going to take time," he says. "I put in the time and effort, and now it's really starting to pay off."
The Jacksonville-based company, which now employs 24 subcontractors and recently launched a new division in Orlando, earned $2.3 million in sales in 2015. Downing projects $5 million in sales for 2016. While he gets most of his leads from Thumbtack, he uses other lead generation websites such as HomeAdvisor.
The key to succeeding in his business boils down to highlighting what work you've done in the past, Downing explains: "People want to know what you did last, when you did it, and where it was. Provide validation that the work you've done is high-end."
As for succeeding in the entrepreneurial world, Downing has two pieces of advice. One, "you should be taking someone to lunch every day." The more people who know you and what you're doing, the more opportunities you'll create, he says.
Secondly, "figure out what it is that you love, and try to form a business around it. You'll put so much into it that it'll be hard to fail."