BetaKit last covered Handybook, the online home services booking platform, when it raised $2 million in seed funding, recently the startup debuted a new iPhone app that lets its users book services on the go. The mobile app comes off the heels of greater market penetration in the New York region and a complete overhaul of its website to make it responsive and accessible on any device, in addition to adding plumbing as a new vertical for its users.
CEO Oisin Hanrahan spoke with BetaKit about the company’s progress over the course of the past few months and though he did not disclose the exact number of customers that had used the service, he did say the startup was experiencing steady growth and had since moved to New York and used the funding to build out a solid engineering team. “We have a similar approach to this as Uber is taking, which is if you make it really easy, people will buy more services, we make it incredibly easy to check-out,” said Hanrahan in an interview. “We wanted to make the experience to be really seamless across multiple devices, we pushed out a new website, fully responsive…and recently we pushed out a mobile app to coincide with that.”
The startup’s net provider score according to ratings from its customers average above 80 percent with upwards of 45 percent of customers coming from referrals. With the mobile app, users start off by selecting a service which now includes home cleaning, handyman, and plumbing. They then pick a time and date, upon which it starts sending push notifications to its network of service providers, and confirms one in under a minute, processes the payment, and an hour before the job allows users to see where the provider is on a map as they come toward them. Afterwards, they can rate the service provider and have them saved on the app to quickly reschedule whenever they need them next.
After recognizing that more than 60 percent of its users were booking for the next day, Handybook now offers 100 percent next day availability between the hours of 8 AM to 9 PM, and has other guarantees, such as 100 percent money back guarantee if a customer is not satisfied and a timeliness guarantee. With that, if a service provider is more than 15 minutes late, customers get the job done for free. It still has a variable transaction fee of 15-25 percent depending both on the service and whether it’s a first-time or repeat booking.
Only recently BetaKit also covered the launch of Exec’s iPhone app that lets users book its network of home cleaners, while other activity in the space includes the likes of Kutoto’s iPhone app that looks to tackle the same challenge for the Canadian market. And while there are several peer-to-peer marketplaces that also let users book providers for home cleaning or small home repairs like Skillpages, TaskRabbit, and Zaarly, Hanrahan outlined how the startup positions itself and its services.
“We think of it more of an on-demand professional home services. These are all professionals, these are all people who’ve been vetted, their work is surrounded by guarantees,” Hanrahan added. “We target to make our customer’s lives easier, so you’re telling us when you’d like the service and we’re going to make it happen, as opposed to saying here’s a calendar of times that may or may not suit you, you pick the one that’s closest.”
For 2013, the startup is eying going into additional verticals like allowing customers to book movers, something it has already made available at a smaller scale, which could have it going up against other startups like Moveline or Unpakt, in addition to outdoor jobs like lawn and garden care. It will also be looking to launch an app for Android and continue to add functionality to its current iPhone app. With that, Handybook will have to continue making booking a provider as seamless as possible to compete based on quality in the crowded space where users have multiple options available and often lower price points they can access the services for.