1. An easily accessible project postings board.
2. Many professionals choose not to use available platforms, which is a major disadvantage for their users.
3. Maximize value for those who post projects.
4. Offer a 21st century version of the Yellow Pages for the home improvement and commercial construction industries.
5. Many clients want more than one estimate before deciding.
6. Make virtual visits common practice in the home improvement and construction industries.
7. Maximize helpfulness for both clients and professionals.
8. Be a comprehensive source of information.
9. Locate and identify the best professionals in the industry.
10. A platform dedicated to professionals.
11. My personal passion for homes and real estate.
I’m Brett Taylor and the founder of The Builder Market. For several years I’ve worked in sales for the home improvement industry. Through my career I’ve been on thousands and thousands of sales calls. I’ve had the privilege of meeting a wide variety of people, including homeowners, real estate agents, contractors, architects, designers, and more. I thoroughly enjoy working in the home improvement industry and take pride in finding the best solutions for my clients. Based on my experiences I learned that despite the available platforms available serving the home improvement and construction industries, it’s still a challenge for clients and professionals to connect. The primary strategy behind designing The Builder Market was to make the site as accessible as possible for professionals to maximize helpfulness for clients seeking the services of professionals.
I take pride in the fact that The Builder Market is the first crowd-sourced marketplace for the home improvement and commercial construction industries. For those wondering, the definition of crowd-sourced is to obtain information or input into a particular task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the internet. Since The Builder Market is the most accessible marketplace online for professionals, I’m using the term crowd-sourced.
The following is a short-list that highlights how The Builder Market is crowd-sourced:
- All professionals have access to project postings.
- All professionals can reply to project postings.
- All professionals have access to a 100% free and customizable business listing.
- All clients have the option to message professionals directly through their listing.
Clients will benefit from the crowd-sourced model for the following reasons:
- Access to the greatest number of professionals anywhere online.
- More professionals reviewing project postings increases the likelihood of finding the best professional to do the work.
- Providing a more thorough and comprehensive directory of professionals. Again, access to the greatest number of professionals anywhere online.
Throughout my career, my number one goal has always been, and continues to be, to find the best solution for my clients. The current platforms available do not maximize helpfulness for both clients and professionals. The Builder Market offers a better solution that maximizes helpfulness for all. There are many important distinctions, as well as alternative solutions that make The Builder Market unique. It’s my pleasure to review the top 11 reasons why I built The Builder Market.
1. An easily accessible project postings board. It’s shocking that none of the major platforms allow all professionals to review projects submitted to their site. Many platforms require professionals to pay high monthly or annual membership fees to access their projects. One of the top platforms even charges professionals for projects before professionals even have the chance to review projects. In contrast, most platforms for job seekers are public information, i.e., LinkedIn, Craigslist, Monster, ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, and many more. Why does this freemium business model not exist for the home improvement and construction industries? Instead, the platforms that service home improvement and construction often charge questionable and expensive fees for their services. The cost vs benefit analysis for these platforms is upsetting to many professionals, so only a fraction of professionals use these platforms.
2. Many professionals choose not to use available platforms, which is a major disadvantage for clients seeking professionals. The biggest platform by revenue size only has approximately 212,000 professionals paying for their services. Another platform has more than 2.5 million professionals in their network, but their exorbitant monthly fees for leads means that likely only 50,000 – 80,000 professionals pay for the projects submitted through the platform. (I don’t know the exact number on this, but I’m making a reasonable guesstimate.) Combined, there are millions of contractors, architects, engineers, designers, tradesmen, and other professionals working across the US. Here’s my idea: Allow all professionals access to project postings for free. If the professional is interested in the project posting they can choose to pay to contact the lead. I’ve received hundreds of emails from professionals detailing their dissatisfaction with the available platforms. This dissatisfaction carries over to clients using these platforms to find professionals.
3. Maximize value for those who post their projects. The goal for those posting a project is to find the best professional to do the work. Allowing all professionals access to project postings will increase the likelihood that clients will find the best professional for their projects. Clients should provide as many details about their project as possible. The information provided by clients is available for all professionals to review. After a professional evaluates the project posting they have the choice to reply to whoever posted the project. This setup is really a win-win for both clients and professionals.
4. Offer a 21st century version of the Yellow Pages for the home improvement and commercial construction industries. All professionals across the country have access to a 100% free and customizable business listing. Anyone can contact professionals directly through their listing. This is a free service, and this will always be a free service. My philosophy is to maximize helpfulness, even if professionals do not pay for any other services provided by The Builder Market. Not all, but some of the other platforms intentionally hide the contact information of professionals in their directory. What’s the motivation behind this? What’s the point of a directory if you can’t contact the professional directly? A lot of work has been put into The Builder Market’s directory. The directory is the most comprehensive online for many of the largest metro areas across the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Chicago, Boston, New York, and many more. I’m using LinkedIn as a template for how the directory will function, except this directory is focused exclusively on the home improvement and construction industries.
5. Many clients want more than one estimate before deciding. It makes sense that clients want to do their homework before deciding which professional to do business with. There’s often a lot of planning involved and decisions to be made before any project can begin. Professionals in the industry know that although sales visits are time-consuming, they are an important part of the process. The initial sales visit has the potential to be more efficient because of the internet and the latest technological tools available. Instead of setting up an in-person appointment, clients and professionals can save time by using the project board to relay essential information. There will be some clients who use the project board to find the lowest price. If this is the case, the project posting board will be especially efficient for professionals who are looking to save time finding clients. However, the primary purpose of the project board is to make it easier for clients and professionals to connect. For most, the lowest priced professional is not the determining factor when making a final decision.
6. Make virtual visits common practice in the home improvement and construction industries. Since I’ve been on thousands of sales calls, I’m especially excited about making virtual visits between clients and professionals more accessible than ever. I really do enjoy meeting with clients in-person, but there are times when it can be inconvenient for either my client or myself. Virtual visits are not widely practiced in the industry quite yet, but it’s very likely that within a few short years virtual visits are going to become a common practice. I’ve been collaborating with other startups to be able to offer virtual visits through the marketplace. I’ve found another startup with a technology that allows professionals to conduct a successful virtual visit through accessing their client’s camera setting on any smartphone device. Professionals can take advantage of several additional tools, including taking measurements, scanning barcodes, using a laser pointer, making notes on the video call, and more. Virtual visits will be a useful resource during any part of the client/professional relationship.
7. Maximize helpfulness for both clients and professionals. The business model for The Builder Market focuses on maximizing helpfulness, rather than maximizing profit. There is not a single major platform that makes project postings easily available for all professionals for free. Why not? I want professionals to love the marketplace. This is why there’s no monthly or annual subscription fees for professionals to access the project posting board. There are also no commission fees for professionals. Professionals only pay if they’re interested in a project posting. The goal is for clients to find the best professionals for their projects. The primary way to achieve this goal is by making The Builder Market as accessible as possible for all professionals.
8. Be a comprehensive source of information. The Builder Market is already becoming a major source of information for the home improvement and commercial construction industries. In addition to having one of the most comprehensive online directories, the site will also offer photos of the latest projects completed by professionals, original content, and reviews. Both professionals and clients can submit photos of completed work. Our inspiration gallery will showcase the best photos available, while additional photos can be found in the individual business listings located in the directory. Original content will include how-to guides, current industry news and information, professional spotlights, videos, content provided by professionals, and more. Past clients of professionals will be able to provide reviews of the work completed. When it comes to reviews, The Builder Market is not the only resource and that is OK.
9. Locate and identify the best professionals in the industry. The number one thing clients ask me when I tell them about The Builder Market is if professionals are vetted. Trust is a key factor when doing business. That’s why all professionals have the opportunity to become a VETTED professional. The process to become a VETTED professional requires the professional to provide their credentials, craftsmanship warranty, insurance and liability documentation, and an investigation into their previous work experience. If a professional passes the vetting process their listing will have a VETTED badge on their listing. Our inspiration galleries will also showcase the best work across the country.
10. A platform dedicated to professionals. Most of the existing platforms only cater to homeowners seeking professionals. The problems are where do professionals network with other professionals? Seek the services of other professionals? Or post projects that need collaboration with other professionals? The Builder Market is also for professionals! The goal is for professionals to love The Builder Market and want to keep coming back. I even want professionals who aren’t interested in project postings to still find The Builder Market a valuable resource. The directory for The Builder Market will become the who’s who resource. Professionals will have a place to offer their expertise and be able to network with other professionals.
11. My personal passion for homes and real estate. One of my favorite pastimes is driving around neighborhoods and looking at homes. I’m constantly checking out Zillow and checking out homes across the country. I enjoy informal home tours when working with my clients or meeting new people. It is a personal duty of mine to ensure the satisfaction of my clients because I want all my clients to love their homes. I built The Builder Market because I love homes and I want to be a part of the process of making others love their homes too.
The idea behind The Builder Market has been in the works for years. I had the idea for several years before I began to build the platform. For the past two and a half years I’ve been collaborating with many, many people to design and engineer the platform. It’s also been a tremendous amount of working putting together the directory. It’s exciting to know that the directory is most definitely one of the most comprehensive online. There’s still more work to do. I’m working with engineers on offering additional tools for the site, as well as building an app. If you have any suggestions on tools/features that you’re interested in, please let me know.
The Builder Market is a startup, and the goal is that you’ll love it! If you like the idea of a crowd-sourced marketplace, please support The Builder Market by claiming your listing or posting a project. This marketplace is for you!