New Player Emerges in Internet Referral Business

September 18, 2013

Seattle-based Porch launched a new internet home improvement network to connect homeowners and renters with professionals to perform various projects. The national launch follows Porch’s announcement of a $6.25 million seed round and beta release in June 2013, in which more than 100,000 people in limited regions visited the company site to find professionals, it reports.

 A business profile page from Porch

"Until now, a roof repair, kitchen remodel, or backyard landscaping project has been frustrating and painful because there is no single source to evaluate projects, understand costs, and find professionals based on trusted word-of-mouth recommendations," says Matt Ehrlichman, Porch chairman and CEO. "Porch is changing this by organizing home project information and providing transparency for everyone across the country to know which professionals have done specific types of projects, at precise costs, for neighbors and similar homes. This is just the start for Porch: We are committed to adding tools and information to make it easy for everyone to improve and maintain their homes based on their priorities."

More than 1.5 million professionals are on Porch across 250 repair, maintenance, and improvement categories, the supplier reports. There is no cost to join and create a business profile to showcase work experience and photos, gain exposure to neighbors and friends of past clients, and solicit endorsements. Porch also offers marketing and analytics tools to professionals who want to maximize their exposure on the platform.

For homeowners and renters, finding a home professional is said to be free, social and local with Porch. It enables users to identify professionals that have worked in their neighborhoods, on similar homes, and that their neighbors and friends endorse. They can also see past projects completed nearby.  Users can also gather home design photos and create scrapbooks to share ideas with professionals and friends.

The company claims it has specific data on more than $2 trillion worth of home improvement projects from the past 15 years, as well as insight into 75 percent of U.S. homes and 90 million home improvement projects, including dates, cost, photos, and service professionals used at a specific address. By organizing this data, it is able to create "a home improvement network to empower users."