Can ClubLocal become the "Amazon of home repair"?
Club Local is funded by wealthy publicly-traded owners, and the website promises homeowners needing repairs that they can track the whereabouts of their tradespeople "in real time." And that the trades hired online will do their work for "below market" prices. Good luck with that.
By Steve Payne
There used to be a time when, as a plumber or a painter, all you needed in the way of marketing was (a) references and (b) possibly a Yellow Pages ad.
Now, web referral services are taking over the home renovation and repair business. If it’s not HomeStars, it’s Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, or any number of other “find a tradesman” web portals.
Now, deep-pocketed California-based Reach Local (one of the fastest-growing companies on the NASDAQ stock exchange) has launched ClubLocal, (www.clublocal.com) which it recently tested in Dallas. Successful there ($455-million in renovation and repair business went through it’s portal, it claims), it is now rolling out in San Francisco. If it continues to grow, can North America’s 4th largest urban market (Toronto) be far behind for this company which would like to become the “Amazon of home repair”? The parent company, Reach Local, is already established in Canada.
ClubLocal promises homeowners “below market” quotes from licensed and reputable plumbers, electricians, painters, repair people, etc. Not only that, it promises that customers can track the location of these happy contractors “in real time.”
How can a web portal like this offer “below market” prices? Well, ClubLocal has a fixed roster of prices for various household repairs. Presumably if you don’t like the prices, you won’t, as a tradesperson, deal with ClubLocal. But when a NASDAQ stock exchange funded company accumulates half a billion dollars worth of business from prospective customers, they have clout.
Thanks to Steve Heidebrecht, owner of Greenside Renovations in Toronto, for pointing us to this story about ClubLocal in Wired magazine.
Editor’s note: I’m not sure this is great news for contractors. The prices are pre-set at “below market” as part of the selling proposition to the public. And what’s all this about tracking the whereabouts of the contractor? Are they going to put microchips in their participating contractors earlobes? Hello, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Let me know what you think.