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A new tool debuts to help calculate home improvement bids before you start a project
Homeownership comes with it a lot of upkeep and headaches – especially when you have to start searching for bids on serious improvements. One online service is trying to reduce your headaches by providing an online bid estimate calculator.
Redbeacon, which is known for as an online directory for finding contractors that focus on home improvement, will first roll out the estimate calculator in 13 geographic areas and then introduce it to other areas across the US in the future.
This new estimate calculator was announced Monday as the latest addition to the young Web service that was snapped up by Home Depot at the start of the year for an undisclosed amount.
The company also works off of a mobile app that allows users to get quotes for services on the go without having to make service professionals visit their homes. Redbeacon’s iPhone app lets users select from common home service providers like handymen, electricians, house cleaners or plumbers to make a request for services. It uses the phone’s GPS to locate the job and matches the request with quality pros in the area, that then compete for the job and provide quotes.
Founded by former Googlers Aaron Lee, Ethan Anderson and Yaron Binur, Redbeacon has raised $7.4 million in funding led by Mayfield Fund and Venrock back in the summer of 2010.
CEO of Redbeacon, Anthony Rodio, wanted to get this service out to the users of Redbeacon because many of them expressed that the hardest part of getting work done on their home was the fact that they started without any idea of what their expected ballpark should be for a given project.
“When we talked to consumers, they were mot concerned about being ripped off,” Rodio told me. “We found that what was needed was a variety of quotes that help the homeowners understand going rates and reduce the demands on contractors for various bids that may not result in work.”
In order to create this calculator, Redbeacon is using all of its own original data from previous requests and bids shared on the website over the years.
Usually when a person uses Redbeacon, they receive at least three bids for their project and Redbeacon had organized this data for its calculator – and this allows the calculator to get more accurate over time and for more geographical areas in the US.
Unlike some bidding service sites like TaskRabbit, Redbeacon works with licensed and vetted home improvement professional to provide users the best opportunies for the biggest investment they own.
Rodio explained that the biggest challenge in creating this algorithm was getting a level of accuracy the felt comfortable with. Right now, since the the company has worked extensively in 13 areas, it will roll the service with those districts in mind first – in coming months, the company hopes to add more of the cities as Redbeacon looks to help more homeowners connect with service professionals.
“The home-services industry doesn’t have much price transparency,” said Anthony Rodio, CEO of Redbeacon. “For many home projects, consumers spend about two hours comparing prices and risk overpaying up to 70-80%. Our estimator pulls data from more than 70,000 price quotes for matches in your area."
This new tool is now available on Redbeacon.com and will be coming soon to the Redbeacon iPhone app.
Redbeacon is available in 13 U.S. cities including Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Denver, Boston, Portland, New York and Washington D.C.
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Redbeacon will find the right business or person to handle any local service need.
Request a service (e.g., gardener, carpet cleaner, dance instructor) and interested local providers will receive your request and respond with their price to do your job at the time and place you need it done.
You can see information about each service provider, how much they'll charge for your job and book your appointment online with the one you like best. Best of all, it's completely free to use!
Redbeacon launched in September 2009 and won the top prize at the 2009 TechCrunch50 Conference.
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