HomeAdvisor, a Colorado-based home services company, today launched Instant Booking, which allows homeowners to schedule up to 500 different tasks online without ever making a single phone call.
The announcement heats up the competition in the online home improvement space for companies that help you discover plumbers, handyman and remodeling pros. Other companies trying to own this market include Pro.com, Porch and Amazon in Seattle, as well as significant competition from outside of the area, including well-funded startups like Thumbtack in the Bay Area and more established brands, such as Angie’s List and Yelp.
HomeAdvisor, which is owned by IAC, the Barry Diller-backed media company that owns Match.com, Tinder and other media companies, said today it is allowing professionals on its network integrate their Google Calendar appointments on to the platform, making it easier for customers to see their availability. The so-called Instant Booking technology goes nationwide today for more than 500 tasks, from plumping to remodeling.
Additionally, HomeAdvisor says it will provide a “on-time appointment score” for each pro, allowing homeowners to get a sense for a company’s punctuality.
The announcement’s goal is to eliminate phone tag between the provider and the homeowner, which is how the service worked before. A price is provided by the professional online, but the companies are likely to call you before your appointment to discuss, and final prices are agreed upon in person. HomeAdvisor says you can change or cancel an appointment at any time.
HomeAdvisor charges a membership fee to be on its network and an additional fee per lead. It does not take a percentage of the revenue generated from each job, like others sites, like Pro.com and Amazon.
Other sites don’t necessarily offer instant booking, but they do allow customers to pick a handful of open windows to narrow down a time that works for them. For instance, on Amazon, a customer can request three preferences for arrival times on three different days, ranging between the morning, afternoon and evening. A pro will reach out to you to confirm a final date and time. It works similarly on Pro.com, which allows you to pick three or more times.
HomeAdvisor said it rolled out the ability to instantly book in select markets back in January, and that it is forecasting the service will ultimately generate up to $100 million in project revenue by October of this year (based on the company’s expectation of receiving 64,000 service requests, with an average of 72 percent of the projects being completed at an average price of $2,140).
Further, HomeAdvisor said it found that more than a quarter of its professionals on its network uses Google Calendar to manage their business.