Uber pioneered the market for on-demand, one-click rides from your mobile phone, and over the past few years we’ve seen a ton of ‘Uber for X’ startups pop up in different categories. One of the newest is ClubLocal, which provides on-demand access to home service professionals. The service is launching in the San Francisco Bay Area today, after a successful trial in Dallas.
ClubLocal works by connecting users with qualified, pre-vetted home service professionals, without having to search Yelp or the phone book or whatever people use these days when they need a plumber or an HVAC technician. It’s already signed up professionals from several different segments of the market, including Plumbing, Handyman, Electrical, Heating and Air Conditioning, Appliance Repair, and Mobile Auto Detailing.
Users can request someone from any of those segments, specify the job that they need done, the time that they’ll be available, and ClubLocal will send a qualified professional to take care of things. Even better than providing instant access to those services without having to worry about doing their own search or scouring ratings, ClubLocal has done the work of negotiating rates with those professionals — so there will never be any sticker schock when a job gets done.
Customers pay ClubLocal for the services rendered, and then it passed on money to the service providers, who are technically sub-contractors for it. The hope is that by simplifying the process of connecting users with service providers, it’ll be able to provide them with more work than they would have had on their own.
ClubLocal has also built the back end of the service to make it easy for service providers, giving them an online calendar to note upcoming jobs and availability. It also provides all service providers with an iPad, with which they can accept jobs, let customers know they’re en route, and even process payments.
While ClubLocal has already pre-vetted its service providers, both with a background check and individual interviews, the company has a rating system and will continually evaluate service providers based on customer feedback. All service providers are checked for the appropriate licenses, and insured.
There are a number of services which already exist to try to connect customers with service providers — likesay Angie’s List, Red Beacon, and even, in some cases, TaskRabbit. But none of them provide the drop-dead simple order flow or pre-negotiated prices for services. It also handles all customer service with customers, who can rate the service providers who worked with them.
Launched originally in Dallas in July 2012, the service has had more than 3,000 jobs completed in that market. ClubLocal is a division of ReachLocal, a nationwide (and public) marketing and lead-gen firm which specializes in helping local businesses find new customers. In that way, ClubLocal is kind of the flip side of its legacy business, helping consumers to quickly and easily book home services without having to do a ton of research.