The Internet has forever changed the home renovation landscape. With easier access to tutorials and how-to guides, more and more people are going the DIY route for home improvement projects than ever before.
But what if you’re not the DIY type? What if you don’t have the time, energy, or interest to tackle a project by yourself? Well good news on that front: it turns out the Web is a bit of a double-edged sword. While on the one hand it has fueled a DIY revolution, on the other hand the Internet has also made it easier to locate specialized contractors in your area — and we’re not just talking about Google or Angie’s List.
Sweeten, an innovative NYC-based startup that just launched out of beta last week, has developed a new platform for matching homeowners with local professionals in design in construction. Described as “OKCupid for home renovation”, the service works much like an online dating site. After signup, users can enter in information about their project, including things like preferred start/finish dates, location, style, budget, and general description. Sweeten then uses this information to gather a list of available contractors that best match a user’s criteria, and even provides information on their past completed projects as a reference.
The brainchild of Jean Brownhill Lauer, Sherataun Nuss and Preeti Sriratana, Sweeten’s founders bring a combined 40 years of expertise in the architecture industry between them — spanning across architectural planning, design, and project management. The company’s hand-picked local experts are subject to a rigorous and comprehensive screening system before being included in its network, with a range of benchmarks in place to ensure that their work meets the highest standards of quality.
This system seems to be working quite well. While it’s definitely still a fledgling company in the grand scheme of things, Sweeten has been operating in beta since 2011, and has already experienced a fair measure of success. Coming into this formal launch, the company has more than $100K in completed projects under its belt, so it must be doing something right.
Unfortunately Sweeten’s service is currently only available to users living in the greater NYC area, but plans for expansion are almost certainly in the works. We’ll keep you posted on availability in your area, but in the meantime you can find out more here.