This week a new free app called ClipCall announced its expansion into greater New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley, as well as the state of New Jersey. Need a plumber in a jiffy? ClipCall can solve your problem in a hurry.
Here’s how it works: simply download the free ClipCall app on your iOS or Android device. Then you’ll make a short video describing your home repair job in detail, and post it to the ClipCall network of professional plumbers, electricians, gardeners and other providers, using a proprietary algorithm to match you up with the right repair person.
In theory, within a short time frame, you’ll receive responses from up to five pros who have the skills you need and can get to where you are. One nifty feature is that ClipCall hasn’t built in a function for service professionals to charge an hourly rate, meaning that ClipCall users are only offered flat-rate quotes for projects. This adds a nice additional layer of protection for homeowners, a welcome change from dealing with fly-by-night roofers and other dodgy characters. Once contact is established, the service provider and the homeowner can communicate via phone calls, video conferencing, live chats, or text messages.
Much like Uber and other transaction marketplace providers, ClipCall holds the flat-rate fee in escrow until homeowners report that they’re completely satisfied with the results. Some of the data points being utilized to match the user with a repair professional include whether project quotes are changed on-site, late arrivals or no-shows, booking rates, response times, and homeowner ratings for specific projects.
Each job also receives a “ClipCall Quality Score” between 0 and 10. The app has been a hit with users so far, with more than 90 percent of homeowners rating their satisfaction “very high.”
How does the company make its money? Right now via a ton of venture capital funding from sources like UpWest Labs, Lool Ventures, and AOL. But the model calls for ClipCall to take ten percent of the project cost from the service professionals who use the network, once the customer reports their satisfaction. The company also recently launched a “Prime Premium Member” subscription service that offers maintenance inspections and discounts on repairs for $10 per month.
The app is the brainchild of founder and CEO Daniel Shaked, a Silicon Valley professional who is sourcing his research and development from Israel. He previously founded another startup that developed and launched a “local search monetization engine” called No Problem. The trained mechanical engineer also served a stint as vice president of operations at SmartTeam Ltd.
It’s not the first time the concept of an “Uber for Plumbers” has been floated in the online marketplace. Similar competitors include ClubLocal, HouseCall, Fountain, and Jiffy on Demand, just to name a few. But with a well-capitalized investment base, a clean interface, and a growing market of urban homeowners, ClipCall is certainly a contender to capture its fair share of the $500 billion home improvement market.
“ClipCall is unique in the space because we have digitized previously off-line communications between the homeowner and the home improvement professional,” Shaked said in a statement. “Most other home improvement solutions simply refer service professionals. ClipCall is alone in using data and artificial intelligence to optimize the selection and transaction process.”