If you’re planning to get work done on your house in the near future, you’ll probably be interested in HouseFix, one of the latest companies to launch this afternoon at the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield.
The goal of the service is to the take offline social recommendations — in other words, the advice friends and neighbors often give each other about improving their houses — and bring them online. It’s also looking to become a comprehensive directory of contractors, complete with reviews and profiles of each. And, finally, it wants to help contractors keep track of their own projects and create an online presence.
After logging into the site, you’ll be able to see which of your neighbors are also users, and the contractors they’ve recently used on their own projects. To help you choose one, the site generates a score for each contractor — the idea is to help users compare contractors using a single score (the company says it’s analogous to the credit score used by banks, in that multiple factors a boiled down to a single number).
On the contractor-facing portion of the site, professionals can manage their jobs, viewing which ones are on time and within the quoted budget. They can also store their notes and before and after photos. The site also addresses another issue that commonly faces contractors: in this era of Googling for everything, it’s essential for these professionals to have online presences. HouseFix helps them build one very quickly.
The site is currently available for free, with plans to offer a freemium model down the line.
Brad Garlinghouse: How do you charge?
A: We envision a subscription revenue model, we’re currently free.
Wendy Lea: How is this different from Service Magic?
A: ServiceMagic helps contractors, it charges contractors for the leads it brings them. There’s very little contexual info to learn from — you get 3 phone numbers. When I’m getting work done on my house I want to find a contractor who has worked on a home that’s similar to mine, in my neighborhood. Context is important. Also, contractors we spoke to as part of building the product told us they weren’t getting their needs met — and oftentimes homeowners wind up getting 10 phone calls from contractors, to the point they stop picking up the phone.
Stephen Messer: It’s a huge, fragmented market with no accountability.If you can bring both listing and accountability, and allow them to create value, I think you’ve hit on a big market.
A: Frankly we didn’t originally intend to start a company, we bought a house and were frustrated by the whole experience. Something like this should have existed already.