Merchant Innovation

Google Unlocks Its Home Services Market

Google is partnering with handymen, electricians, plumbers and other home service providers to match them up with users looking for such services on its search engine.

The service, which rolled out last Friday (Aug. 28) in San Francisco, is in direct competition with other companies, like Amazon and Yelp, racing to tap into the $400 billion home service industry.

So far, Google is matching up plumbers, locksmiths, handymen and house cleaners with users looking up those terms in the search bar, a Google spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal.

For screening, participating businesses need to undergo a background check, face undercover shoppers and have proper licenses and insurance to run the business in partnership with Google.

In an almost Yelp-like style, service providers partnering with Google need to pay to be ranked on top of search results. Unlike its competitors, Google lets its users review the service provider, make a call and place multiple requests right from Google’s search results page.

Now, with the launch of its own service, which was developed by its advertising technology team, Google is now listing its home service results on top of those by its competitors such as Yelp, which for years has been the leader in the home services space.

Google’s entrance in the market comes after San Francisco-based startup HomeJoy Inc. shut down after three years of providing services in 35 cities across the U.S., Canada and Europe. The company shut its doors due to “many unresolved challenges in the home services space.” Google was quick to hire some of the startup’s employees, according to WSJ.

Other than home services companies like Yelp, Angie’s List and TaskRabbit, Google would also be locking horns with eCommerce giant Amazon, which launched its own nationwide home services product in March that charges a cut of 10–20 percent, depending on the service.

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