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How to Build a Tradesmen Website Like HomeAdvisor

by Anna Klimenko
How to Build a Tradesmen Website Like HomeAdvisor

In our daily life, we inevitably bump into the necessity to repair, fix or rebuild something in our home, garden, or office. Mostly, we try to search for technicians recommended by our friends but not always it is possible to find the exact specialist only by word of mouth.

As a rule, individual technicians cannot afford to have a separate website, but still, need to be represented on the web. That’s why they may find it very comfortable to register on one of the “Human As A Service” (“HaaS”) platforms to generate leads for them. Some of the representatives of such platforms are Homeadvisor, Mybuilder, Airtasker, Amazon Home Services, NoCowboys, to name a few.

HomeAdvisor built the largest tradesmen international employee website that connects homeowners with specialists in home repair, remodeling, and home improvement. That is why we selected this platform for today’s overview to look at its functionalities and unveil the secret of their success.

Hoping you’ll find it useful to learn how to build a HomeAdvisor type website!

How to build a website like HomeAdvisor
[In Steps]

Now, let’s look closely at the business model and scope of features characterizing tradesmen marketplaces. Our major subject will be HomeAdvisor, but at the same time, we will show examples of our projects. We’ll dissect how it makes money and what features make it so awesome.

Step 1: Decide on Your Business Model to Create a Website for Local Tradesmen

Now that finding professionals on aggregators has become popular and trustworthy, there are minimal risks that such entrepreneurship will be unprofitable. HomeAdvisor is focused on the US market, MyBuilder on German, 123devis on French, and NoCowboys on New-Zealandian, but all of them use one or several of the following ways of business monetization:

Business Model Description Examples  
Membership/Subscription Membership can give service professionals different privileges for which they pay a subscription fee. Platforms can take fees from professionals, consumers, or both. Bloomchase takes from $9.99 to $24.95 per month from professionals
Transaction fee The platform takes the percent from the payment for the job completed. In this case, you should transfer all transactions through your platform to withhold your commission. Amazon Home Services takes a 10-20% cut of the final purchase price
Consumer connection revenue The system takes a commision fee for each lead regardless of whether the job will be provided or not. Homeadvisor takes about $10-$30 for each lead whether it was converted or not.
 Advertisements Ad banners on the website to promote the services of registered tradesmen or partners that sell equipment for technicians and material that can be used for repair. HomeAdvisor revenue from advertisements and some other revenue channels made around $97,000 in 2017

 

HomeAdvisor’s Business Model

Everybody likes counting other people’s money! Let’s do it as well!
The statistics on HomeAdvisor is impressive:
statistics on HomeAdvosor
HomeAdvisor joins Angi HomeServices Inc. together with some other leading brands in home services sphere. The company has representations in France (123devis), Germany (MyHammer), Canada (Homestars) and some other countries. With more than 2,000 employees and several offices in the US, HomeAdvisor strives to provide the best working conditions for their workers and was named 2017 Denver Post Top Workplace.

As a rule, platforms combine several channels of revenue and HomeAdvisor is no exception, receiving revenue from several sources:

  • Primarily, from commissions paid by registered businesses for consumer matches (in spite of whether the service was completed or paid). If only a consumer match was delivered to a professional, the system takes its consumer connection revenue.
  • Secondly, from a membership subscription for one month, three months, or one year.
  • Thirdly, from advertisements.

Step 2: Create a List of Consumer’s Features

1. Search

Even before they create a profile on your website, people need to get information to better understand if it is worth their precious time dealing with you. That is why when you are planning to create a website for finding tradesmen, you need to create a robust and swift search to show them that you have exactly what they want to find. You should provide your clients with the possibility to filter by type of service, area, rating, pro’s name, price, etc. to simplify the search.

At Greenice, we use the most cutting-edge technology for search functionality. Elasticsearch is considered the quickest and most flexible search engine for now. We implemented it for many of our projects and our clients are satisfied with the speed and matching abilities that it provides. In Elasticsearch, the data is instantly indexed in the DB and retrieves results to the user.

 

In NoCowboys, a tradesman platform that we worked on, we made the automatic filter the default option for the search. Its optimal formula matches consumers to service professionals taking into account the proximity to the client, ratings of businesses, and recency of reviews.

Also, users can apply other searching parameters to search by category or different combinations of filters:
search

2. Matching

For a more precise searching, you can equip the system with a matching algorithm that will use a combination of search attributes to narrow down the results list. Make it interactive and interesting as nobody likes to fill in long listed forms. As the client filled the “Match” form, the contractor receives sufficient data to quote the potential project.

matching

3. Pre-qualification

To reduce the number of calls from fake clients and competitors who just want to know tradesmen prices, and thus save time and the nerve of specialists, websites like HomeAdvisor provide pre-qualification checks for clients. They are required to provide such preliminary information as a phone number, email, physical address, photos and sketches, description of the required job, and some other data. If the system cannot identify the client as reliable, it does not proceed with the request to the Pros.

id check

4. Client’s Profile

At HomeAdvisor, after a user has successfully passed the pre-qualification process, the system automatically creates their Profile; where all contact information and requests for jobs are stored.

5. Booking and Payment

Some websites allow clients to only see the database of technicians and connect with them using their contact info. Other websites, like HomeAdvisor, allow booking of professionals directly from the website. On receiving the request for an appointment, the pro can either confirm, cancel, or send back up to three options of available time to choose from.

One more useful option that you can reward your clients with is the Same Day Service through which homeowners can schedule an appointment for the same day without delay.

booking

As a rule, direct payments for the completed services are not allowed. A marketplace usually takes a commission, and because of this, all the transactions between consumer and specialist pass through their system.

6. Calculator

In most cases, the client’s price expectation for home repair is far from reality, and the actual cost is two or more times more expensive. To reduce the shock, it is a good idea to provide the clients with an opportunity to calculate the costs in advance to prevent frustration.

For example, on HomeAdvisor you will find the feature True Cost Guide that allows viewing of the actual price for different regions. This feature is supported by a loan company Prosper that provides personal loans for home repairs. A very comfortable union of two services that perfectly add to each other.

True Cost Guide

7. Ratings and Review

There is nothing that compares with a positive review to influence a purchase. Consumers are able to select a technician by the rating and reviews of other clients. A good reputation means traffic growth as reviews are indexed by Google and other search engines and attract more consumers to your site.

reviews

It is very important to filter the reviews by passing them through a moderator to prevent fake, offensive, spam, or paid reviews from being submitted.

For example, in NoCowboys, the system does not force people to register to write a feedback. The only condition is to leave their email so that we can check if the review was written by a real person (not bots) as well as provide the reviewed company a chance to reply and connect with the consumer in case of a negative review to ask questions, or require the proof.

To prevent spam reviews we use a third-party service that scans the system for spam patterns to flag and delete fake reviews. Also, we have blacklists to filter bot-emails, phone numbers, and content.

spam review
HomeStars

8. Inspiration Features

To warm up interest in your website and increase customer loyalty, you can add interactivity and gamification features that will involve and inspire the users’ activity. For example, you can provide some creativity with online design constructor or inspiration board for pinning favorite photos to better visualization future projects and the possibility of sharing this vision with contractors.

design board

9. Rewards for Clients

You can increase the loyalty of your homeowners by rewarding them with cashback, discounts, badges, and other goodies for completing projects or writing reviews on HomeAdvisor specialists.

10. Blog

Entertain and educate your website guests with useful information on topics related to the services provided in your website. Good content increases the traffic on your website and uplifts your position in the browser searching engines.

Blog

11. UI and UX

Tradesmen website design means a lot. It should be modern, user-friendly, and attractive. However, even more, important are the functionalities that underlay the stylish design. So think over design and functionalities in parallel to keep the balance between usable and beautiful.

Step 3: Create a List of Professional’s Features

1. Tradesman Profile and Portfolio

When a new user wants to create a business profile, HomeAdvisor redirects them to the Pro directory dedicated to tradesmen. There a user can complete a profile and add in all the required information. For example, when creating a website like HomeAdvisor, in the profile section you may use a wizard to ask a business owner to complete their profile, step by step.

pro profile

In NoCowboys, there are two types of accounts for businesses: registered and unregistered. Registered businesses (which means they’re serious about their intentions and reputation) are paid by subscriptions. Subscription provides different possibilities to customize their profile with a logo, photos, Google Map, etc.

To be able to apply for posted jobs, accounts need to be “customer preferred”; i.e., have at least 10 reviews from clients, with the last review no older than 120 days, and an overall rating of more than 85%. Also, businesses may add badges to their account showing their belonging to different trade associations.

As all formalities are completed at the consumer’s site, the professional’s profile will be displayed like this:

NoCowboys

2. ID and Background Verification

To ensure the overall security of users, the tradesmen platform should provide a pre-check of companies that register to offer their services. The pre-check will help prevent fraud cases that can spoil the reputation of your platform in an instant. The easiest way to fulfill any kind of background check is to use third-party resources. The following types of checking can be done:

  • ID Verification: confirm specialists’ identity.
  • Licensing and State Business Filings: tradesmen should provide the license that they are eligible to perform their services and their business in registration. This also can be used by the system to match their key specializations with the clients’ requests.
  • Sex Offender and Criminal Records Search: as most of the services are provided at home it is extremely important to screen that tradesman have not been prosecuted for any sexual offenses or other crimes using a national criminal database.
  • Legal Search for Civil Judgements: verify that a business owner has no previous bankruptcy filings, liens, and significant state-level civil legal judgments to escape fraud through your platform.

verification

3. Rewards for Professionals

Motivate your registered Pros to enhance their services and their account and reward them with badges that will influence their reputation and rating.

badges

4. Lead Center

It is not a secret that any tradesmen platform is a lead generation marketplace in its essence. So, tradesmen need the same tools as other salespeople. One of these tools is Pipeline, that allows to see the stage of lead qualifying and view the revenues from any completed deal. Tradesmen can categorize and organize the leads, keep track of communications, manage appointments, and generate reports.

Lead Center

5. Mobile Field Service Application

Working most of the time in the “field”, technicians often suffer from an absence of online communication that would notify them of a new, urgent, or canceled order, as well as show the optimal scheduling and routing. Luckily, all these and many other useful functions can be combined in a mobile application. The system may automatically re-address job requests and messages from the customers to the tradesman’s mobile device and get a response back to the system.

Step 4: Create a List of Admin Features

Besides the user functionalities, you need to look after how things are going from the side-scenes. First, both professionals and consumers may need Admin support. Second, it is extremely vital to collect useful data to know your audience better, create invoices, upload content, and analyze reports.

To manage all interactions from the back office, you may use the following functionalities:

  • Customer Relationship Management: to manage users information – both consumers and businesses
  • Accounting and Invoicing: to track all transactions and create invoices
  • Automatic Emails: CMS for newsletters, confirmations, alerts
  • Content Management System: to create and manage content for your blog
  • Reports: overview and analyze your business by different measures
    and other features.

You may need several different roles of user like Super Admin, Sales, Support, Manager, and some others with different levels of access and responsibilities.

Step 5: Thinking over the Website Architecture

As you completed the list of desired features and their interactions, it’s time to consider how this all will be implemented from the technical side. Of course, as a website owner, you have no necessity to dig down too much into technical details. But still, some basic understanding of what is going on under the hood is useful.

The architecture type technologies are selected individually for each project taking in to account: functionalities scope, supposed loads, and expected tempos of scaling up in the future. This influences how flexible the software architecture should be from the start.

Talking about HomeAdvisor, its team says that when they were starting 15 years ago, they created a monolithic structure for everything. And it served well until the application began rapidly growing and reaching up to 50,000 “matching” requests per day. As the loads were increasing and new features were emerging, the app was getting more and more maze-like. To improve scalability and become more flexible, the HomeAdvisor tech team decided to decouple the functionalities into separate microservices.

Thus, they created the following microservices, each responsible for exact features but still easily interacting with each other. For example:

  • Tasks: manages all tasks in the system on the fly.
  • Service Professionals: deals with a specialist’s profiles.
  • Appointments: allows for finding and booking appointments.
  • Accounts: manages consumer accounts.
  • Login and authentication: keeps and manage credentials
  • Notifications: sends out emails and other notifications to consumers and professionals.

In their case, the benefits of such an architectural solution are:

  • Less code and library dependencies for easier changes. You can make changes and updates for each microservice independently on the whole system.
  • Easier and quicker regression testing in case of some changes without the necessity to test the whole system.
  • Introduction of new technologies and updating of the architecture with fewer risks.
  • Each developer can code their part of the application independently which allows for new developers to quickly enter the processes without a necessity to dig down into the labyrinths of a huge system.

But still, this example does not mean that using microservices is a silver bullet. The monolithic apps are often an ideal choice for startups when there are not many features.
It is more comfortable to keep everything in one code base. Thus, each project should be regarded individually to understand its necessities.

How to Apply This to Your Business

So, you have in mind an idea to make a website like HomeAdvisor?
Sounds great! The intention is halfway to success!

All you need for now is to collect the requirements of a minimal viable product and then add details that will make your service usable, comfortable, individual, and competitive.

Hopefully, the 4-step guide has clarified your understanding of the basic structure of such systems. Let’s review once again of the features for different types of users:

 Consumer Professional  Admin 
  • User Profile
  • Search
  • Matching
  • Pre-qualification (verification of phone, email, zip code)
  • Booking/Scheduling
  • Online Payments
  • Reviews and Ratings
  • Price Calculator
  • Inspiration Board
  • Blog
  • User Profile
  • Lead Center
  • ID verification (check with criminal DB,  check of license)
  • Badges
  • Roles
  • CRM
  • Reports
  • Accounting
  • CMS
  • Newsletters Management

 

At Greenice, we will take care of analyzing your project and choosing the best architecture and technology stack.

We will create or renovate already existing tradesmen websites using the most cutting-edge technologies and our more than 10-years of experience!

kirillCo-author: Kirill Litvinenko, Project Manager of NoCowboys and many other of our projects. As a former QA Engineer, Kirill is very attentive to detail, responsible, technically competent and just a nice person to talk to.

To continue a discussion, please contact us and we’ll be glad to provide an estimate for your project.

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