D+AS MAGAZINE

FEATURES — Sears Launches ServiceLive.com: New Web Site Offers Leads for Prepaid Jobs

© 2009 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Spring 2009
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Pages 52-53


Sears Launches ServiceLive.com

New Web Site Offers Leads for Prepaid Jobs

By Tom Wadsworth, Editor

Our 2009 survey of door dealers revealed a declining commitment to Yellow Pages advertising and an increased focus on the Internet. The survey also revealed that many dealers are uncertain how to maximize their Web marketing.

We asked dealers whether they receive job leads from certain lead-generation Web sites (see chart). By far, the most common response was, “I don’t get job leads from sites like these,” checked by 43 percent of our 220 respondents.

The popularity of these sites is growing. Since many dealers are largely unaware of these online services, this article will describe how one new site works, and how door businesses can take advantage of its services.

Here Comes Sears

In February 2009, $50 billion retailing giant Sears Holdings announced the beta launch of ServiceLive.com, calling it “the first online services marketplace where homeowners can name their price for home improvements and repairs.”

Founded in 2007, ServiceLive spent 2008 recruiting and conducting background checks on service providers across the country.

With ServiceMagic.com, a competitor site that has been online since 1998, service providers pay a fee for every lead they pursue. But with ServiceLive.com, service providers (door dealers) pay only when they get paid for the job. The fee equals 10 percent of the total bill.

How to Get a Job

Here’s how it works:
1. ServiceLive.com users review and select prescreened service providers in their areas.
2. Users then describe the project in detail, including the price they want to pay and desired appointment time.
3. The project is then routed to the selected providers after the user uploads funds to his or her ServiceLive account.
4. The first provider to accept the terms electronically wins the project.
5. After a project is completed to satisfaction, the user pays and rates the provider online.

A Win-Win?

“ServiceLive.com is going to change the way people hire services for their homes,” says George Coll, president of ServiceLive. He says the site benefits homeowners by letting them name their own terms and manage the process online.

“It benefits service providers as well by creating job opportunities and enabling speedy payment,” he adds.


To learn more, Door & Access Systems talked with Kirsten Whipple, ServiceLive’s director of marketing.

If a door dealer receives a service request from ServiceLive.com and the offered price is too low, what are the dealer’s options?

Providers have a couple of options. They can conditionally accept and provide a counter-offer of an amount that they would accept. Or they can simply reject the job.

How can a door dealer maximize his appeal to consumers on ServiceLive.com?

The provider profile page is a great marketing tool. It gives providers the opportunity to market themselves directly to potential customers. Adding credentials is another way providers can set themselves apart from the pack.

Also, the provider’s work is rated by the customer. Customers rate on various categories (quality, communication, timeliness, professionalism, value, cleanliness). It’s important to maintain a high rating because customers choosing providers are seeing the ratings.

How does ServiceLive.com protect the consumer from unethical service providers?

ServiceLive is a truly transparent, open marketplace where one customer’s experiences can be seen by other customers. Many ServiceLive-approved providers have been rated by customers on everything from quality to cleanliness.

To maintain the integrity of our ratings, only customers who have hired providers through ServiceLive are allowed to post ratings and comments. When unethical behavior is reported to ServiceLive, the provider is removed from the platform.

What violations would cause a service provider to be booted out of ServiceLive.com? Is there a dispute resolution option?

There are several violations, such as inappropriate behavior and encouraging buyers to contract with them directly. We do have a dispute resolution process for buyers and providers.

Some dealers might see ServiceLive.com as a way to constantly be forced to perform services for much less than their going rate. True?

All service providers have down time. Our goal is to help fill this excess capacity.

The open market will determine the “going rate.” If a customer posts a service order for $50 and it does not get accepted, the providers can counter with the price they are willing to accept. This is one of the dynamics of an open marketplace.

I understand that ServiceLive pays for a background check on all service providers. What is involved in the background check?

It’s the same check of criminal, civil, and vehicle records required of contractors for Fortune 500 companies. The background check process is integrated in our system and can be found within the provider registration. All background checks are performed by an independent third-party provider.

When a door dealer registers on ServiceLive.com, does the dealer need to enter the names of all installers and service technicians?

No, they do not, but it is a very good idea to add them. The more service technicians available to customers, the greater the chance they will receive opportunities.

Providers can also expand their presence into other markets, deepening their services and solutions to respond to more service opportunities.

What does it cost for a door dealer to register as a service provider on Service.Live.com?

It’s free. ServiceLive.com does not charge a fee to become a ServiceLive-approved provider. In fact, we are currently paying for the background checks.

In addition, providers do not pay any fees for receiving a lead. On ServiceLive.com, providers only pay a 10 percent service fee when they get paid. If they don’t get paid, we don’t get paid. The service fee includes transaction fees for credit cards, marketing, platform development, and other fees.

How can a manufacturer benefit from working with you?

Manufacturers can leverage the ServiceLive community to sell installation and maintenance services and truly turn on additional revenue streams. If a manufacturer would like to learn more, contact us at sales@servicelive.com.

What are you doing to maximize the consumer awareness of ServiceLive.com?

We are now announcing ServiceLive.com to consumers through a public relations effort with spokesperson Carter Oosterhouse, as well as online media and paid search campaigns. We’ll continue our efforts throughout the year.

To comment on this story, send an e-mail to the editor at trw@tomwadsworth.com.


CHART
Online Sources of Jobs for Door Dealers
YellowPages.com.................................. ...................27%
YellowBook.com .......................................................20%
Angie's List ................................................................16%
ServiceMagic.com .....................................................11%
SuperPages.com .......................................................10%
Craig's List ...................................................................8%
ServiceLive.com............................................................3%
Yellow.com ...................................................................2%
I don't get job leads from sites like these. ...................43%
Other sites mentioned: GarageDoorsofAmerica.com, door manufacturer sites, and dealers’ own Web sites.
• The survey asked, “In the last three months, did you get any job leads from the following Web sites?” Dealers could check more than one.
• The online survey, conducted by e-mail invitations from Feb. 10-15, 2009, was completed by 220 garage door dealers throughout the United States and Canada.