From Home Cleaning to Remodeling: Americans Turn to the Web To Hire Service Professionals

With Americans currently in the midst of a national remodeling and home improvement craze, Internet-based matching services are quickly becoming the answer for time-strapped consumers seeking qualified and available contractors and service professionals.
According to ServiceMagic.com, which matches consumers from coast-to-coast with prescreened service professionals addressing 485 different types of jobs, requests for referrals run the gamut, ranging from simple home maintenance and repair to complete home remodeling projects.
“It used to be you grew up in a tight-knit community and could better rely on referrals from friends and neighbors,” says Rodney Rice, co-CEO and co-founder of ServiceMagic, Inc. “With Americans being more transient today, most of those connections have been lost, so people are using the Internet to reestablish those connections to recommended professionals allowing for an informed choice when hiring local service professionals.”
The most common service request fulfilled by ServiceMagic is maid service.
Although a relatively low-ticket purchase, maid service is a common household
need that many families across varying income strata can afford.
However, the second most popular home service referral sought over the Internet is for general contractors and home remodelers, which can cost tens, and even hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to ServiceMagic-generated data.
The other most commonly requested services reported by ServiceMagic (in
order of popularity) were for painting, handymen, plumbing, electricians, deck installation, fence installation, roofing and lawn maintenance. “Although we`ve definitely experienced more service requests in certain categories, our broad scope allows us to address almost any conceivable type
of home project,” adds Rice.
To use the free service, consumers log on to www.ServiceMagic.com and complete a service request form, answering a series of job-specific questions. With its proprietary technology, ServiceMagic then matches consumers` requests
for services with its extensive network of local home professionals. After
processing the request, ServiceMagic quickly provides the consumer with up to
three prescreened, interested service professionals.  Consumers can view past
performance ratings and reviews from neighbors, often get an estimate on the
proposed job via ServiceMagic`s estimating tool and also a link to each
professional`s Web site.  Additionally, consumers have access to an extensive
and reliable online resource center that includes tips, guides and expert advice on hundreds of home-related topics.
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