The current state of hiring home and local service businesses can often be frustrating and riddled with inefficiencies. Oftentimes, people don’t know what kind of details they need to share when trying to hire a contractor, mechanic or landscaper, plus outdated games of phone tag make it hard to get a hold of a professional. Business owners may even have to reject promising leads because they don’t match their service offerings. The industry is ripe for innovation and in need of a marketplace solution that helps both professionals grow their business and people easily get things done.
To help solve for this, we’re announcing the most significant evolution of our platform in the home and local services marketplace. Today, we’re reinventing the hiring experience by expanding Yelp’s existing Request-A-Quote product with guided questionnaires in new categories and adding a scheduling functionality that makes setting up appointments a breeze. Yelp is also launching Nearby Jobs, a new product that gives professionals an opportunity to proactively grow their business and pick the leads they want to pursue through a monthly subscription. All these new features for home, local, automotive and professional services will also be part of a modernized user experience across the Yelp platform.
A New Request-A-Quote Experience
Initially introduced in 2016, Request-A-Quote has evolved from a business messaging tool into a comprehensive and trusted services marketplace millions of people have grown to rely on when hiring professionals. Since then, we’ve continued to add features and improve on the product to support the needs of both business owners and consumers, resulting in significant adoption with an average of 45,000 new businesses adopting Request-A-Quote each month within the last year. In June 2020 alone, more than 900,000 projects were created for home and local service providers.
Even in the midst of a pandemic, home and local services have proven to be resilient and an essential part of the local economy with more than four million projects created in the first half of 2020. In fact, share of consumer interest in home and local services is up 25% between March 1 and July 31, relative to all categories on Yelp, compared to the same time last year.1 And in a Yelp-commissioned survey conducted by Kelton Global among over 1,000 U.S. adults, nearly a third of respondents say, since March 2020, there’s been at least one home project they’ve completed (28%) or want to complete (28%). With millions of Americans staying home during the pandemic, people’s homes are experiencing more wear and tear, and consumers are finding time to complete the home improvement tasks they’ve been putting off — with 34 million users coming to Yelp for services needs in June 2020.2
Getting You More Accurate Quotes from the Start
When hiring a professional, not knowing how to describe your project creates a lot of back-and-forth in the hiring experience. Businesses need the right information to adequately evaluate if a project is right for them and to provide the most accurate pricing and timing estimates. Nearly a quarter (22%) of respondents in the Kelton Global study weren’t sure where to start their search for a professional while one-third (33%) admit it was difficult to find a professional they trusted. Yelp’s guided questionnaires solve this hiring friction by asking consumers a handful of tailored questions about the specific job they need done within the Request-A-Quote experience. This streamlines the business matching process by collecting helpful details about a project or problem, improving the quality of leads businesses receive from potential customers.
Today, these new and improved questionnaires are available across nearly 60 business categories, including auto repair, childcare professionals, contractors, hair salons, photography, pet groomers and real estate agents. In the coming months, this feature will expand to a total of 100 additional categories — from florists to pool cleaners to home cleaning.
Nearly 40% of respondents in the Kelton Global study were worried they were overpaying for services because they didn’t have access to average rates among other professionals in the area. For additional convenience, Request-A-Quote users have the option to send their project details to multiple businesses with one click, helping them gather local competing quotes.
A Faster and Easier Way to Sync with a Professional
After a consumer connects with the best business for their needs, a new scheduling feature allows them to save time and efficiently confirm their availability. According to Kelton Global, 15% of respondents feel it took too much time and effort to book an appointment with a professional. Now, while messaging a potential customer on Yelp, businesses have a simple way of sharing the days and times they can set up a call, consultation or appointment. Consumers can easily confirm the time that works for them and even add the upcoming appointment to their mobile device’s calendar.
We first tested scheduling appointments on iOS early this year, and today it’s launching across all platforms, including Android and web.
Giving Businesses the Power to Find New Leads
It’s now more critical than ever that business owners are not only receiving the right kind of leads, but also have a chance to proactively find relevant jobs in their area. Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of Nearby Jobs as an extension of Yelp’s new hiring experience for home, local, automotive and professional service businesses. This new product offers qualified businesses that are proactively looking for work a new way to stand out and get hired on Yelp.
Nearby Jobs is similar to an online job board that allows professionals to proactively find and secure new jobs that are suitable for their current schedule or skill set. Currently, more than half of Request-A-Quote consumers opt into receiving additional competing quotes, which allows Nearby Jobs to alert an applicable business if there’s a request they can respond to. This helps surface professionals with the exact expertise, availability or budget a consumer is looking for, but wouldn’t ordinarily find at the top of Yelp search results — either because it is a newer business or has fewer reviews.
Nearby Jobs gives businesses more control over the Request-A-Quote experience by letting them cherry pick the kinds of jobs they want to pursue. For businesses looking to grow their company and client base, this unique product allows them to quickly pitch their capabilities and competitive pricing to consumers. This can be an ideal solution for newer businesses looking to earn consumer trust by building out their portfolio of work and growing their online presence. Nearby Jobs also serves as an opportunity for businesses to work on new projects that excite them.
Once an applicable job request comes through, a Nearby Jobs notification will appear in a business’s Yelp for Business account across all platforms. From there, a business can browse through a feed of potential jobs with the ability to respond by subscribing to Nearby Jobs for about $8 a day, or less. Today, the Nearby Jobs experience is available to many businesses nationwide and will continue to roll out to all qualified businesses over the next few weeks.
Orlando Johnson is the owner of Mid-Atlantic Movers, which was among the first businesses we invited to pilot Nearby Jobs. Here’s what he had to say about how it has impacted their business:
“As a company new to Yelp, Nearby Jobs has been a highly beneficial tool for us. Within only five months, Nearby Jobs has brought us 180 jobs and, as a result, 27 reviews. Prior to adopting Nearby Jobs our business page had zero reviews – now we’re rated at 4.5 stars.The new product helps us to proactively get in touch with people that are looking for our specific skill set and allows us to approach them with competitive quotes and ideas for their project. As an unreviewed business, Nearby Jobs really helped us to get more work. I’ve gotten so many leads that I’ve now turned off my spend on other platforms like Thumbtack, Angie’s List and Google Ads. Not only that but I like the customers that I interact with on Yelp. I’ve noticed they have higher intent and the conversations I have with consumers on Yelp are more likely to convert to real jobs.”
A Modernized Look to Tie it All Together
Our new hiring experience is rolling out as part of Yelp’s new, modernized design. As we’ve grown beyond a discovery and review site, we’ve redesigned the platform to better highlight how Yelp is a one-stop local platform where people can communicate and transact with great local businesses. Whether people are looking to request a quote, book an appointment or order takeout and delivery, we’ve combined all these actions into a modern, seamless and cohesive consumer experience that prioritizes these new connections. The new design has been rolled out across search results and business pages on web, as well as business pages on mobile. A new home screen and search experience is coming to mobile devices soon.
We’re committed to improving the hiring experience throughout the home, local, automotive and professional services industries. This new hiring experience is one big step of many to come, as we continue building solutions that bring this industry online, help consumers get things done more easily and efficiently, and better partner with businesses to help them grow.
Watch the video below to see how we’ve reinvented the way people can hire professionals on Yelp.
1Consumer interest is measured in terms of actions users take on Yelp, such as leaving a review, posting photos or viewing a business page.
2Users are defined as an aggregate across all devices (app, mobile web and desktop) which has been individually calculated and not deduplicated.