If you’re like most homeowners, you probably rely on websites like Angie’s List and Yelp to help you find suitable service providers to meet your every need. While you could certainly go old-school by looking in the local Yellow Pages, or you might ask for referrals from trusted sources like your family members or friends, you might be better off using a service that offers pertinent information on vendors, links to their websites and/or contact information, and consumer reviews that will help you to decide if the vendor is worth calling or not. Of course, it’s difficult to trust these “independent” reviews, especially since some businesses pad them with paid reviews or commentary written by their own family and friends. Heck, you can’t even trust the Better Business Bureau, which is nothing so much as a payola scam (those who pay get the best ratings, apparently). So what can you do to find service providers that will not only do the job well, but that you can trust to be in your home? There’s no sure-fire solution, but a handy little app for your iPhone could just provide the answer you seek.
The HouseCall application for your iPhone is designed with homeowners in mind. According to co-founder and CEO Ian Heidt, the app ostensibly strives to bring “ease and transparency to the world of local home services,” something that most of us can appreciate after years spent trying to find service providers we like and trust. And the app is so easy to navigate that even the technologically-challenged should have no trouble finding the right vendors to meet their needs. There is only one drawback at the moment: the app is currently in soft launch, available only in select, trial neighborhoods in San Diego, California. But since the freebie may soon be coming to your area (no word yet on where or when their rollout will progress), there’s no reason not to at least put it on your radar.
So what will you get with the app? As you might expect, there are vendor listings, ratings, and reviews for your perusal. But unlike websites that provide you with similar services, this app offers you the ability to narrow your search and the guarantee that ratings and reviews will only come from those who have actually used the service. You’ll start by selecting a general category of service, whether you need an electrician, a handyman, a plumber, a maid, or tech service for your computers, amongst other options. Then you’ll choose a problem or repair you want done, after which you’ll be provided with a list of suitable service providers in your neck of the woods. Each listing offers a name, a photo, a price, a star rating (out of five), and even an ETA. So once you’ve selected a profile, all you have to do is decide whether you want the service now or if you’d rather schedule a later appointment.
But the features don’t end there. You can also track your vendor and get updates on ETA so you don’t have to wait around for multi-hour windows of time. And when the service is complete you can pay through the application by credit card. From there you simply post your review to help other users and call it a day. Whether you’re looking for an HVAC specialist to service your system and explain to you heat pump pros and cons, you need a landscaper to turn your pit of a yard into a tropical paradise, or you could use some help installing your new home entertainment system, the pros you need are only a few taps away thanks to HouseCall. Just keep checking back or message the developers to find out when this incredibly useful app will be available in your area