From established brands to noteworthy upstarts; from design-focused idea boards to quick booking centers, there are a lot of different services out there vying for your business. Here's a quick rundown of some of the most prominent.
Porch.comFounded in 2012, Porch states that its mission is to help you love your home. Porch acts as a search hub for professionals in your area and lists everything from licensed general contractors to unlicensed lawn care companies. Porch encourages contractors to create a profile on its site and populate it with pictures of completed projects. Porch is also experimenting with Porch-backed professionals that will be able to be booked through the site. Porch offers a $1,000 guarantee for projects completed by its vetted and suggested professionals.
Amazon ServicesJust over a year old, Amazon Services is the online shopping giant’s attempt to break into the services market. Professionals from contractors to tech repair and support can apply to be listed on Amazon. All professionals must pass a background check that checks state and local registrations, liens, bankruptcy statements, social security number searches, and more. Amazon takes a percentage cut of each job completed and also offers a happiness guarantee which could reimburse the homeowner up to $2,500 of the original price.
Founded in 2013 by former Amazon executives, Pro.com’s latest offering is “text-a-pro”. Homeowners can text the information about their job to the team at pro.com and receive a pre-estimate for the job. The professionals contacted for these jobs are all vetted by Pro.com with a background check, and thier insurance and local licenses are verified. Contractors must apply to become Pro.com certified. Pro.com takes a percentage of the price of each job completed by contractors found through its site.
HouzzFounded in 2009, Houzz is a “platform for home remodeling and design.” The site utilizes a very visual layout with lots of pictures of homes, products, and completed projects. Contractors are encouraged to create a profile and fill it with photos of their completed projects. Homeowners can go on and rate contractors, and contractors are able to respond to reviews on the site itself.
Angie’s ListOne of the most famous, and possibly infamous, of all the contractor referral sites. Angie’s List has been around since 1995 and is a publicly traded company. Contractors can pay to become advertisers on Angie’s List, and when a homeowner searches for contractors in that area, the paid contractor will appear more frequently than non-paying customers. There is a sign-up fee for homeowners to join and use the site. But the company has been losing money in recent financial reports. Update Nov. 17: Angie's List recently posted its third quarter earnings where it earned a net profit for the first time ever during that period. Read more here.
HomeAdvisorOriginally launched as Wisen.com and later ServiceMagic.com, HomeAdvisor is owned by IAC. The site offers a “True Cost Guide” that is compiled from the job information from each of the jobs completed by contractors through the site and connects homeowners with contractors through an Instant Booking service. Update Nov. 20: HomeAdvisor's parent company IAC, recently launched a bid to purchase Angie's List. The offer was rejected by the Angie's List board. Read the initial offer here. HomeAdvisor also recently launched a partnership with Google through its Google Places service.
All of these sites connect homeowners to contractors, but aren’t as visible in the marketplace. TaskRabbit is available in 19 cities and connects homeowners with handymen and other around-the-home services, including carpentry and electrical work. BobVila.com is backed by the This Old House star and allows homeowners to submit a job and search for pros around the country. Thumbtack is available in all 50 states and allows homeowners to submit a job and receive quotes from contractors in the area before choosing one for the project.