Jeremy Kurth and Mary Baller love their new home, but weren't happy with a few things in the kitchen.
Not knowing any local contractors, they did what many younger couples do: They checked an app.
"We were looking on the NextDoor app for some recommendations for someone to do our tile backsplash," Baller said. "And someone there recommended the Homee app."
Works like Uber
Homee on Demand (its full name) is the latest entry in the sharing economy. Launched in Ohio and Florida, it is now in seven more states and rapidly expanding, with hopes of covering the whole country in the next year or two.
Along with Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and other services, it uses smartphones to take out the middleman, and get you in touch with a handyman in just minutes.
"That was the nice thing about the app. They were able to get someone there literally that day," Kurth said.
Let's say you have a broken window in your house, or a clogged drain. You open the app, and a few miles away, a licensed contractor, between jobs or after his work day, will respond.
Co-founder Dave Theus says the idea came when he needed a plumber on a weekend, when everyone was charging double time.
"And I thought I'm a software guy, I'm a mechanical engineer by trade," Theus said. "And I needed a plumber to my house that wouldn't cost $250."
Other apps like this include:
- Task Rabbit
- Home Advisor
You request a handyman, and just like Uber you see who is nearby. You then connect with a thoroughly screened professional, checking his rating and reviews before clicking to confirm him.
But are they any good?
Theus said there's no fear of having a scary character in a rusty old pickup truck show up at your door, as can happen when you Google for handymen.
"We take them through 10 years of background, and check for all the criminal background checks, and county records," Theus said. "And we check reviews of their work."
Occasionally a contractor will get complaints. The service says it investigates and will remove them if there are serious quality questions about their work.
It says you must have several years of experience in your area to get a gig. Many are experienced contractors, just trying to supplement their day job income.
Kurth and Baller are happy with their job, and glad there's an app for that.
As always, don't waste your money.