A Bay Area start-up, GetVendors.com, which connects families and households with local service professionals, has upgraded its site to support referrals based on community reviews and recommendations.
The site differentiates itself from traditional online sites (yellow pages and classified sites) as well as new-age social networking sites (AngiesList, Yelp, Insiderpages) by primarily focusing on delivering tools that address needs of families and households. A feature-rich community platform on the site empowers its users by serving their self-interests and in turn contributing positively to the community.
GetVendors.com has already received significant traction in California with a database of over 10,000 service professionals in the state. GetVendors handles service requests in over 500 categories but is popular among its users looking for home repair contactors.
With a clean, intuitive, easy-to-use format, GetVendors.com helps users organize information, socialize with their peers, and make smart service selection decisions.
The backbone of the site is the “Service Pro Match.” Users enter information about type of work that they need to be completed along with any restrictions or requirements they have. With one click of the mouse, this request is sent to the five best-matched local service vendors within the GetVendors database. Vendors can be added to the database for free by a referral from a community member, or by bidding a monthly amount.
For user’s service requirements, the best possible matches in the database are organic matches, which fill three of the five available slots. The remaining two are filled with the best possible matches out of the subset of vendor database who bid on a pay-per-lead basis. These five vendors bid on the user’s job. After the job is completed, users can rate their overall satisfaction with the vendor, similar to leaving feedback on eBay. This rating affects the weight that vendor receives in future business matches.
The second tab, the “Organizer,” has a large suite of tools that users can utilize. These include a checklist/to-do list tracker which helps manage common chores such as home and garden projects, social bookmarking for information related to household projects, and an address book to save trusted contacts.
The third tab is the “Community” section, a feature that allows users to ask and answer questions, share recommendations and reviews with other like-minded folks in their community. This community groups section contains topic pages similar to Wikipedia.org where group members share tips and information on their area of expertise. Users and vendors may join the existing community groups or start one of their own. Participation is voluntary and all members benefit from the information that is exchanged amongst the community members.
GetVendors.com differentiates from other conventional online referral websites such as Servicemagic.com by including community-recommended service vendors in their matches as well as paying vendors. This variation has led users to rely on GetVendors for competitive bids from a variety of qualified local vendors regardless of vendor’s advertising budget.
Services like AngiesList or Checkbook require users to pay for subscription before they can use the listings. This is a significant barrier for users who may need the service only for one or two jobs. GetVendors.com community group is different from other social networking sites because of its direct focus on helping existing groups to interact more effectively.
The connections made within the GetVendors community are based on real world relationships (rather than self-promotion/virtual contacts). This leads to a more meaningful interaction among community members, generating a positive feedback loop that helps every user of the site.
Founded by UC-Berkeley alumni, GetVendors.com is a start up company based in Foster City, California. GetVendors.com was recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Jose Business Journal, Oakland Tribune, and Sacramento Bee.
With its exponential rise in user base, especially among busy office staff members and working mothers, GetVendors.com is well positioned to become a driving force in reshaping the way users find service providers. The American Association of Web Masters has also recently awarded a Gold Web Award to GetVendors.com.