THE NEXT WEB: Amazon may be the go-to place to shop online for physical goods, but it’s not of much use when your sink is clogged and you need a plumber, or want to have your broken iPhone screen fixed. Fret no more, as the company now lets you order a professional to your home with the aptly named ‘Amazon Home Services’, accessible at Amazon.com/services.
After entering your zip code, the page lists a variety of services you can book in your area such as repairs, installations and lessons. Amazon lists prices upfront, and businesses are required to offer the same prices online as they would elsewhere.
When you click through to a service, you’ll find a description of what’s on offer, as well as booking options and reviews from customers.
Amazon then asks you for additional information, which will vary depending on the service you’re booking. For instance, if I want to train my vocal cords, I’m given the option for one, four or eight lessons, and can pick from 30 or 60 minute sessions and whether I want to practice at home or in a studio. If I need someone to unclog a drain, I’ll need to specify what type of drain it is before booking an appointment.
Once I’ve filled in the information, I can proceed to select an appointment time – Amazon says your service provider will give you a call to confirm – after which the lesson will be added to my shopping cart, along with any other products I’m buying on the site. I can then proceed to checkout as usual.
If you don’t find the exact service you want, you can create a custom request based on a few templates, such as hiring a handyman, painter, or mover; you select the type of service, then describe what you need in detail..
I might personally have to look into hiring a goat herder. I’m a little wary as the service is currently in beta, but at least it comes with a Happiness Guarantee.
Although the current services are comprised of preselected providers, businesses can also apply to list their services. Amazon says it screens professionals based on a combination of media searches, interviews and reference checks. There’s a business and criminal record check as well, and pros are required to maintain any necessary operational licenses.
Home Services is launching in several US cities: Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, New York, Houston, Seattle, Chicago, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego, San Jose, Portland, Minneapolis, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, Riverside, Tampa, Orlando, Austin, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Cincinnati, Charlotte, and St. Louis.
A few services are available in other areas, however, and the company says it’s rapidly adding more locations.
The addition of on-demand services gives customers just one more reason to spend all their money through Amazon. It could also help smaller businesses put their name out there by having services available next to related products people already buy; casual shoppers could find themselves looking into services they hadn’t previously thought of.
While we wouldn’t expect Home Services to put a huge dent on something like Craigslist – the screening process could be a deterrent for newcomer businesses or professionals – it’s a notable addition to Amazon’s portfolio.