Seattle-based startup HelpHive lets consumers find rated and reviewed home service professionals, such as plumbers, landscapers, handymen and more. Exclusive to the greater Seattle area, HelpHive integrates with social networks, like Facebook, to help homeowners to find reviews from friends, colleagues and neighbors.
Today, the site is launching a monetization strategy called “Referral Pro” Plans which charges businesses in exchange for promotion and advertising. Businesses pay $99 per year to receive increased promotion on HelpHive.com with increased promotion in search for keywords related to the service businesses provide, on the home page, on their specific service page (e.g. for an Electrician, on the Electricians page etc.) and on unclaimed business pages in their service category (i.e. a business in the paid plan would appear on pages of other unclaimed businesses that provide the same service). Businesses who are participating in this program are also required to pay 5 percent of any total transactions for booked jobs to HelpHive (if the job was through HelpHive’s platform).
HelpHive of course doesn’t charge the businesses who don’t participate in the program, but the startup’s CEO Karim Meghji claims that the promotion is a pretty big incentive for businesses to pay out. I’m not so sure about that, but HelpHive does have over 7600 vendors listed on the site from the Puget Sound area. While the site is currently limited to Seattle, Meghji says that they plan to unroll HelpHive to other metropolitan areas in the near future. The startup faces competition from Angie’s List, Merchant Circle, and Service Magic. There’s also TechCrunch 50 winner RedBeacon, which not only lets you find providers, but also enables pricing and booking of services.