Amazon wants to be your professional service provider

Steven Loeb · March 30, 2015 · Short URL:

Amazon launches Home Services, giving users access to services like yoga classes and car maintenance

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For years Amazon has been the go-to place for people to go buy their goods. Want to buy a TV? Go to Amazon. Need a new washer or dryer? Go to Amazon. Now the company also wants to be more than just the company that helps you purchase those things. Now it wants to  help you hang that TV or install that washer or dryer. 

Amazon revealed the launch of Amazon Home Services on Monday, a way of connecting its users to don-demand home professionals services. 

It is already 700 services categories, including iPhone repair, yoga classes, car maintenance, TV wall-mounting, car battery installation and house cleaning, along some kind of strange ones, including goat grazing and "singing performance," which I guess means having someone come to your house to sing to you? Actually that does sound like of cool!

Shopping for services works the same way as buying goods on Amazon. All users have to do is add the service to their cart, tell Amazon what time it works for them to have the professional come over and then only pay when the job is finished.

Amazon says that it curated the list of professionals itself, and the marketplace is "invite-only." They are background checked, required to maintain insurance, and expected to maintain a high performance standard.

In fact, Amazon is also offering a "Happiness Guarantee," which it uses to back up all service purchases made on the site, "so customers know the job will get done right." Also, all pricing is set up-front, and Amazon will also price match if a customer finds the same professional offring the same service for a lower price. 

So where is Amazon finding these professionals? Through partnerships with service providers, including TaskRabbit, as the company announced an integration with Amazon Home Services in a blog post on Monday.

"TaskRabbit is announcing today a first-of-its-kind integration with Amazon Home Services, a new platform where Amazon shoppers can hire fully-vetted and insured Taskers for handyman services," the company wrote. "Beginning today, online shoppers who need help with handyman tasks, furniture assembly and product installation can view and compare Taskers’ ratings, reviews and prices before directly hiring them. All Taskers are fully vetted and undergo identity and criminal record checks and every task is insured."

The entire transaction takes place within Amazon; when an Amazon customer goes to buy their products, they will be able to browse Taskers profiles, including ratings and reviews, and then choose them to perform their service.

The integration represents the first time Clients can hire and schedule Taskers outside the TaskRabbit mobile and web platforms.

Amazon has launched Home Services in the following cities: Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, New York, Houston, Seattle, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, San Jose, Portland, Minneapolis, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, Riverside, Tampa, Orlando, Austin, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Cincinnati, Charlotte, and St. Louis.

It says that "more locations and service pros are being added to Amazon Home Services every day."

With its size and scope, Amazon is obviously coming from a strong position but that doesn't mean it will be an easy climb to conquer the home services category. There are a lot of strong players in this space, including Angie's List, Yelp, eBay, and Craiglist.

Thumbtack, for example, has over three million projects requested every year in over 700 categories, including house paintings, wedding caterings and even people wanting to learn Spanish. The company operates in all 50 states, and now has over 75,000 unique paying professionals. 

There is a big difference between the two services, though, as Thumbtack puts more control into the hands of the professionals, who actually pay to get in contact with customers who have requested services. Amazon, however, is facilitating a typical customer-professional transaction, where the onus is on the customer to reach out to the person they want to hire, rather than the other way around. Thumbtack instead puts that onus on the professional.

Amazon obviously believes that it can become a market leader in this category, noting that is has over 85 million Amazon customers already shopping for goods that also require some kind of professional service. 

(Note: Thumbtack was the winner of our very first Vator startup competition and event, all the way back in October 2009. We will be holding another Vator Splash event on April 22nd to the 23rd. Speakers will include Thumbtack CEO Marco Zappacosta. Find out more here!)

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TaskRabbit is launched in Boston, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Orange County, and is expanding quickly to other major cities