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The site launches in the U.S. with a six-year history in Europe
Job seekers have more resources available at their fingertips than at any other point in history. Craigslist and Monster have provided platforms where applicants can connect with potential employers, while niche sites for virtually every other profession have sprung up over the years to cover the gamut of vocational fields. A new site, MyHammer.com, launched Tuesday to connect contractors with homeowners who need work done on their houses.
Founded in 2005 in Germany, MyHammer was created to be the eBay for contractors and currently operates in Austria, Germany, and the UK. The site operates less as a directory or a Craigslist and more as an auction platform where any homeowner can post a job on the site—be it landscaping, framing, or whathaveyou—and contractors can bid by offering quotes for their services. Of course, the platform differs from the traditional auction model by allowing job-posters to select from any one of the bidding contractors rather than the one who posted the lowest quote, and if the poster isn’t satisfied with any of the contractors who bid on the job, he/she also has the option of not giving the job to anyone.
This might sound familiar to anyone who’s used Angie’s List before. Angie’s List has been the go-to site in the U.S. for online consumer reviews of service providers and health/dental professionals for years (before the Internet was as ubiquitous as it is today, Angie’s List operated as a phone-in directory. That’s hardcore). What makes MyHammer think it will be able to move onto Angie’s turf?
“They’re more of a directory. The business model is different—the consumer has to pay to use the directory, so it’s really a 1.0 version of YellowPages,” said MyHammer COO Gerrit Mueller in an interview with VatorNews. “It’s more of a Yelp kind of approach, where we believe the core of our business is the job itself and everything else will revolve around that. A person with a three-bedroom house that they need painted might post their project on MyHammer, and that’s our core. Contractors will come in and try to fight for your business.”
But the success of Angie’s List is due in part to its unique reviewing system, which ensures that businesses are not going in and reviewing themselves or paying others to post positive reviews. One of the allures of the Angie’s List directory is that consumers know they’re reading honest reviews posted by other Angie’s List users.
But Mueller pointed out that MyHammer has a unique reviewing system of its own, in which only users (job-posters or contractors) can only review users with whom they’ve entered into a transaction. For example, if I’m Joe-Schmoe Internet user and I’m butt-hurt about the rate I was charged by a landscaping service I hired a few weeks back, I can’t go onto MyHammer and post a review on that landscaping service unless I’ve actually entered into a transaction on the site with that contractor. To promote transparency, the site posts all reviews and information on contractors and job-posters so all of the users know who they’re doing business with.
Since its first launch in Germany in 2005, the company has expanded and now sees more than 3,000 new jobs posted on its sites globally each day. To date, it has connected some two million job-posters with contractors, and in 2010, the company’s European base raked in $11.5 million in revenue between Q1 and Q3. MyHammer generates revenue from its subscription fees, charged to those who subscribe to the premium service, as well as 2-4% commission fees, which are only charged when a contractor is awarded a job.
Image source: MyHammer.com
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