Usually, it’s the contractors who bid on home improvement and remodelling jobs. Retail giant Sears wants to turn that process upside-down with ServiceLive.com, which just launched in beta.
The model is actually more LendingTree.com than eBay. Homeowners in need of improvements can look over a list of approved contractors. They select apprpriate candidates, then post a description of the job they want done and what they’re willing to pay for it. The first contractor to accept the deal gets the gig.
The service is availble for commerical, as well as residential, jobs. And in an interesting twist, funds for the project are held in escrow, which could come in very handy in dispute, non-payment and conflict resolution scenarios.
It’ll be interesting to see how this model stacks up against others in the space. IAC-owned ServiceMagic is a spam engine, based on personal experience. Post a job you need done and a hapless customer’s customer’s phone rings off the phone for weeks with contractors pitching their services – frequently, the wrong type of contractors – while in the background, email after email purs in from the company itself. Craigslist is a powerful contender in the space on the free end, while AngiesList has combined user reviews and a subscription model with a respectable level of success.