There are many websites that try to connect people to service providers who will come fix up their homes: Thumbtack, Handybook, Redbeacon (bought by Home Depot), Porch.com, TaskRabbit.
A new one, Pro.com, promises it’ll tell you how much the job will cost before you even commit to talking to a service provider.
Pro.com was founded by a team of former Amazon execs who worked on products like Amazon Marketplace and Amazon Fresh. The team is led by former Digg CEO Matt Williams and backed by his former Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos.
So what about these cost estimates? They are based on a proprietary formula, kind of like Zillow’s house value “Zestimates.” In fact, Pro likes to use the possibly even sillier term “Prestimates.” They are now available nationwide.
After getting an estimate, users can directly book services in Seattle, where Pro is based. Other cities and regions are supposed to be added soon.
The question is, are the estima … — okay, Prestimates — actually accurate? “We don’t guarantee the price estimate, but we have a Pro range,” said Williams. “The idea is to provide not just a relatively accurate estimate, but a platform for the customer and the Pro to talk about it.”
True, talking about money is often the worst part of hiring someone to do work (besides, perhaps, being told after the fact that the costs have spiraled out of hand).
As the name states, Pro.com is primarily a website (not a mobile app, as is the trend of the moment), though it does help service providers schedule appointments from their phones and send out customer satisfaction surveys with a mobile companion app.
Pro, which started development nine months ago, has raised $3.5 million in an extra-large helping of seed funding from Madrona Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, Bezos Expeditions, Two Sigma Ventures and Sherpa Foundry.