A significant new online competitor seeking to become a middleman in the remodeler-client relationship took flight today with the launch of Porch.com.
Fueled by $6.25 million in seed money, Porch bills itself as “the first and only home improvement network that connects homeowners and renters with the right professionals based on who neighbors have used, project and cost history, and friend and neighbors’ endorsements.” It claims to have at its outset information on 1.5 million professionals in more than 250 repair, maintenance, and improvement categories as well as “specific data on more than $2 trillion worth of home improvement projects from the past 15 years.” It makes extensive use of maps showing areas where work has taken place. A Porch spokesperson declined to specify the sources of that data, saying only that it comes from a variety of databases and online sources.
The Seattle-based company is inviting pros to join and write their own business profile for free and get referred to friends and neighbors of past clients. For $35 per month, pros can get featured on the home pages of neighborhoods where they’ve worked as well as featured in weekly newsletters, blogs, and social media mentions. In addition, that charge gives pros access to who has viewed the pro’s profile, reports on what competitors are charging, and notices of new projects that have been completed. (See http://pro.porch.com/ for details.)
In general, Porch combines elements of already established sites such as Angie’s List, Houzz, Zillow, and Pinterest. It claims that more than 100,000 people have visited its site to find professionals, but only on Sept. 17 can people officially sign up to use the service. —Webb is editor-in-chief of REMODELING. Follow him on Twitter at @craiglwebb or @RemodelingMag.