Truth be told, I’m not much of a handyman (apparently, this is the first time this family gene has ever skipped a generation). Sure, I can handle some basic repairs around the house and change the oil in my car, but when it comes to major fixes, I reach for the only tool that will help get the job done: the telephone. Fortunately, thanks to a new app from the Seattle-startup Porch.com, I may no longer need to scroll through the listings in the phone book or search for reviews on the Internet to find the perfect professional contractor.
The new app, released earlier this month for iPhone users, enables people to search for home improvement service providers on their device, extending the Porch website. Additionally, according to an article at The Seattle Times, the app also features a “concierge service that will directly connect homeowners with contractors to arrange projects, with a pledge to get a contractor on the phone in less than 60 seconds.” This matchmaking service is coordinated by Porch representative who provide live customer service during each session.
With the basic app, contractors are notified of a project request via Caller ID on their mobile phone or a text message. With the advanced version of the app, Porch offers instant booking. To enable this feature, Porch “screens a roster of service providers and pre-negotiates prices for a fixed number of small home improvement projects.” Larger jobs such as replacing a roof “still require research and an old fashioned conversion.”
The idea, according to the chief executive of Porch, is to make the service like “Uber for home.” The company’s concierge and booking services are free to homeowners. Porch generates revenue by collecting a transaction fee from service providers and by selling them premium services on its actual website. Versions for Windows and Android devices are in the works.
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