One minute with Sandy Kronenberg, founder and CEO of Service.com
Home repairs are always an imminent matter for a homeowner. Roofs leak or need replacing, appliances break or stop working altogether, furnaces and air conditioners can get quite peculiar when you least need them to. There are plenty of repair folks out there who have the know-how to fix the problem, but how do you get someone you can trust without wasting a few days Googling, calling and comparing?
Sandy Kronenberg had the same question, so he came up with an answer: Service.com. The website is the Uber of home repair. To learn all about it, the Spinal Column caught up with Kronenberg.
Hi Sandy! Where are you from?
“I grew up in New York.”
Tell me about Service.com. How do you describe it to people?
“Our tagline is, ‘Home repairs done in a snap.’ Everyone who has a home has experienced that pain at some point where DIY is a little bit over your head and you resort to the Yellow Pages or Google and you’re calling around for hours and it’s just so frustrating. We’re basically trying to fix that problem and quickly connect you to someone who can help, but do so in a way that is different from Angie’s List and Home Advisor. What we’re trying to do is find professionals that are available right now, but can also communicate to you the way you want to be communicated to. One of the things we do really well is we built a platform we call Service Chat, and that basically allows you to text to your pros. You text with your family and friends, so why not be able to text to your pros?”
“What you do is create an account at Service.com and we act as a concierge service and connect you to professionals. They can hop on immediately with you to get you estimates and availability so you can pick the right professional that works within your budget and are available when you need them.”
“It’s working quite well. We have been able to connect hundreds and hundreds of pros the last few months.”
What’s happening now? How are you continuing to move the website forward?
“Well, we’re pretty proud of what we’ve built over the last two years and now it’s about awareness. We are coming out with lots of new features and functionalities. Once we get it going well here in Southeast Michigan we hope to take it nationwide.”
Currently the website/service is only available in Southeast Michigan?
“Yes. We have about 400 active professionals, but in December we hit 500 and we’re adding about 100 pros each month. We do have a lot of other professionals all around the country that are joining up, we just haven’t opened all around the country just yet. We are getting ready to do that. We have about 2,000 professionals who are on the platform already and we hope to have about 10,000 by the end of this year.”
Would you explain more about the benefits for users (homeowners) and professionals?
“Yes, one of the things about Angie’s List and Home Advisor is those guys are just lead generation systems. From a lead generation perspective, someone says ‘Hey, we need something done in our home’ and the professional is paying for those leads, whether it’s a subscription or per lead basis. On Service.com, pros don’t pay for any leads whatsoever. The way it works is that we handle the payment, and because we handle the payment it works in favor of the homeowner and the pro. The homeowner doesn’t have to pay until the service is complete and they are satisfied, and because they are usually paying with a debit or credit card, the pro has the comfort of knowing that consumer can pay and we act as an escrow service. It really just helps build good fences, which obviously makes good neighbors.”
“When Ebay bought PayPal the payment was no longer a concern, and that was one of the major reasons for dissatisfaction in the service industry. There is a little ambiguity and it can become awkward when it comes down to payment. We just simplified it. Uber has made it super convenient and easy to get a ride. You hail a cab (through your app) and the cab comes and you take the ride and you wave goodbye to the driver and you never have to exchange funds. So, Service.com has become the Uber of the service industry.”
How did Service.com begin?
“We started about two years ago. I had a mid-size service business and co-founder Paul Proctor had a small one, but we both had logistics issues with our employees. We thought there had to be a better way to help connect with people and communicate with clients better. So, we set out to do this and essentially fix the service industry. I was in the IT business prior, and Paul had a landscaping business. Mine was bought and they asked me to essentially help come up with a field service management platform, then I realized there are a lot of businesses that need this. Every size business could benefit from the tools we built.”
So how did you get to Michigan?
“I went to undergrad at the University of Michigan then went to grad school in Georgetown, but I met a girl while an undergrad. My first business was here and I’ve been here ever since. We live in West Bloomfield and our headquarters was in Detroit, but we needed more space and moved to Farmington Hills.”
To learn more about Service.com, visit www.service.com.