Can a little known Aussie start-up take on the might of Google, and win?

The traditional paradigm for finding a tradie has been to start with a Google search. There are significant limitations however. While Google can understand the intent of the Customer, it can’t know whether a link to a handyman’s website, for example, will connect a customer with a handyman that is available today at the right price to do the job. Google does not allow you to search for “available” businesses (how can it know?), cannot quote you a price to get a job done or offer a customer the opportunity to speak to a real person online. Google does simple indexing based on keywords, phrases and then lists results.
10 years ago, a small Australian start-up launched on top of a French patisserie in Darlinghurst with one goal in mind: to automate local services and make the process of researching and hiring service providers like plumbers, electricians, house painters and plumbers seamless – better than a Google search. The vision was simple: no more clicking links through Google & calling a tradie to find that they are too busy, charge too much or don’t answer their phone.
Today ServiceSeeking moved a little bit closer to that goal with the launch of “Instaquotes” on the website, a new feature that allows businesses to submit a standard quote on every lead that matches their settings automatically and deliver customers a perfect connection with a tradie or local business that is free to do the job.
It’s a process somewhat like Google AdWords. Each business can choose to connect to every customer that lists a job that matches their skills on the website. After specifying your skills and price, the marketplace matches the business to the customer automatically. Like Google, the marketplace typically charges the business to advertise, but until Instaquotes was released there was an additional hidden cost in using these platforms, which was the outlay of time required to read jobs and quote on them.

Jeremy Levitt, CEO says, “It has taken us over 10 years and over $10m of engineering resources, but we are getting close to our vision of automating local services. The most important thing I’ve learned from my time at ServiceSeeking is the need to completely understand the problem before considering the solution. Customers search for tradies with an expectation of immediate service, yet those same businesses are often in the middle of a job when they are contacted about their next job, making it hard for them to answer straight away. The solution was an automated algorithm to match customer and business and with more than a billion dollars in work won through our website, we are definitiely on the right path to beating Google at their own game,” he says.



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