Home improvement data startup Porch is launching its first app today, promising homeowners across the country the ability to connect quickly with Porch representatives and independent home improvement professionals to get guidance on projects and arrange to have work done on their homes.
The Seattle-based company is also launching a beta of a feature called “Porch Booking” — available only in Seattle for now — which lets customers schedule and pay for small repairs and maintenance projects through the app, at pre-negotiated hourly rates.
Examples of services available through the Porch Booking feature include carpet cleaning, plumbing, electrical work, gutter cleaning, landscaping and painting. The feature leverages Porch’s network of certified professionals, vetted by the company.
“Think about it like Uber for home maintenance,” said Porch CEO Matt Ehrlichman in an interview. “That honey-do list that you have, we make those projects now just go away.”
Porch’s app is available on iOS only at launch, but the company says an Android version is in the pipeline.
The app is free for the consumer to use. Porch makes money on the Porch Booking feature through a transaction fee from the professionals in its network when they complete a job.
After the initial test in Seattle, Porch says it will release Porch Booking in additional cities in the coming months.
Mobile features available across the country include a “Concierge” feature that lets users talk live with a Porch representative and receive information over a data connection; and a “Pro Dial” feature that simultaneously dials multiple professionals, promising to connect the user with one in less than a minute.
The app also offers the ability to search for home improvement professionals, and see who has worked on your home in the past, even before you owned the house in some cases.
Porch — which faces competition from sites including Pro.com, Houzz, and Zillow Digs — has raised $33 million to date, including a $27.6 million Series A funding round led by the Lowe’s home-improvement chain. Porch earlier this year announced a partnership with Lowe’s in which store employees use Porch to help customers find contractors and remodelers.
The company, based in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood, says it now employs more than 300 people, up from 30 in September 2013.