Handybook's Bet on Home Services is A Winning One
When it comes to industries like travel, food, and retail, there are literally hundreds of sites and apps where you can book flights, make restaurant reservations or buy a shirt. But when it comes to booking services in the home, like housecleaning and plumbing, there is one app that is becoming the destination for home service transactions: Handybook.
When we talked to the home services start-up last May, the company had raised $2 million in financing and was in three cities with about eight employees. Since then, Handybook has raised another $10 million in financing, expanded to 13 cities and now employs more than 70 people.
“We’re doing tens of thousands of bookings per month, millions of dollars a month in transaction volume,” said Oisin Hanrahan, CEO and Co-founder of Handybook. “We’ve just been growing like crazy.”
Hanrahan likens the app to Uber, but for home services. Consumers can book cleaning people, handymen, plumbers, and even Ikea assembly experts through the iOS app or on the web.
Handybook, which is growing at an average nine to ten percent week over week in bookings, is quickly becoming the alternative for sites like Craigslist. Unlike Craigslist and even Angie’s List, where many people find home service workers, Handybook provides something those other sites can’t: background checks, reference checks, security checks and insurance.
“Our goal is to develop a consumer brand that consumers really, really trust,” Hanrahan said. “To do that we focus on approving people that are great at what they do – so they need to be really great cleaners, really great handymen, really great plumbers.”
The app is free for users to find service professionals and takes 20 percent of every booked service. Users go to the app, specify their location and desired time and date for a particular services, and the platform instantly confirms availability. Once a service is requested, a push notification goes out to Handybook’s approved service providers. Handybook also reviews their pricing, processes payments and confirms the transaction.
It’s no surprise that a platform like Handybook is taking off, as the home category remains one of the biggest sectors ripe for disruption.
“I think home, in general, is an incredibly hot space, if you look globally- home its one of the last trillion dollar categories that hasn’t been brought to a place where the transactions are actually occurring on the web,” Hanrahan said. “I think there are a lot of different players that are trying to come at from all different ways, so Google’s acquisition of Nest is like this signal that big players are really trying to get into home.”
While big players may be trying to get into the home, Handybook already has a pretty big head-start. Who knows? Maybe they will be the next acquisition target.
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