First, they reinvented the way we shop, then they transformed the way we read. Now, Internet giant Amazon is attempting to change the game for tradesmen by launching its own alternative to the likes of Checkatrade and TrustATrader.
Known as Selling Services, the new platform enables professional tradesmen to sell their services to customers via Amazon Home Services, but only after undergoing stringent background checks. The service has been available to customers in the United States since 2015, and has proved popular enough that bosses have finally rolled it out across the UK.
“We’re thrilled to be expanding Amazon Home Services to the UK as a simple way to book trusted, service professionals,” said Scott Webster, General Manager for Amazon Home Services Europe, “Following our successful launch in the US, customers have told us they love the convenience and peace of mind that comes with trusted, professional installation of their products.
“We’re delighted to be able to offer this same experience to UK customers through a network of handpicked, local tradespeople and service providers.”
A new type of tradesmen platform
Most of our readers will be familiar with tools like Checkatrade, which allow customers to find and contact reputable professionals in their area. Those who use such platforms will also be familiar with the subscription fees that they charge those professionals to use the site.
At time of writing, for example, Checkatrade charges £83.99 per month for membership, whilst TrustATrader costs £838 annually, which can be paid in instalments.
With Home Services, Amazon does away with the subscription-based model, opting instead for a revenue-sharing approach. That means that it’s free to sign up, free to subscribe, and free to accept jobs via the site. However, if you do work for an Amazon customer via the platform, the customer pays Amazon who then pay you, but only after taking a cut of the income generated.
For work up to £1,000, they’ll take 20% whilst for jobs over £1,000, Amazon Home Services will take a 15% commission.
The aim of the game here is all about making things as easy as possible for the consumer, which is why the company offer a number of pre-packaged services that they can add to their shopping cart as they’re buying other items.
For example, customers buying a new shower from Amazon could easily buy a fixed-price shower installation service in the same order. This up-front pricing means that customers know exactly what they’re getting – and how much they’ll pay for it – right from the start.
In order to qualify for Amazon Selling Services, you’ll need to pass a strict, three-part vetting process.
First up, you’ll need to pass an initial application which includes a business verification. Second, you’ll be subject to a business background check. If you’re a tradesman who provides services inside a customers’ home, you’ll also have to pass an individual background check. Finally, you’ll need to prove that you have any and all applicable business licenses, insurances, and authorisations to provide the services that you offer.
Should you pass, Amazon will then match you up with customers who order services that you can provide.
Every job you carry out via Home Services is carried out under Amazon’s famous Happiness Guarantee.
That means that if customers aren’t satisfied with the work you do, you could be asked to solve the issue for no additional cost or issue a refund.
As with their competitors, reviews play a vital role in Amazon Home Services. Customers can leave feedback on jobs you carry out, and other customers can read those reviews without having to sign up.
Speaking of feedback, the reaction to the UK launch of Amazon’s latest platform has been mixed among the country’s tradesmen.
For some, Amazon’s brand recognition and customer base of millions means the new service does have some appeal among those planning to use the platform to grow their own trade business. For others, however, the 20% commission on jobs up to £1,000 has ensured that whilst Amazon may have changed the game in many areas, it won’t yet be changing the way they work.
Will you be signing up to sell your skills and services through Amazon? Is the revenue-sharing model better or worse than the traditional subscription-based approach used by the likes of Checkatrade? Share your thoughts in the comments below or get involved in the discussion via Facebook and Twitter.