Trade website filled a crack

TESSA MCCLURE
Last updated 05:00 14/06/2014
Jeremy Wyn-Harris of the Builder's Crack employment service website.
DEAN KOZANIC/ Fairfax NZ

OPENING: Jeremy Wyn-Harris of the Builderscrack.co.nz website says his motto is "let the tradies chase you."

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A Canterbury web business matching tradies with jobs has taken off, with more than 55,000 jobs posted.

Builderscrack.co.nz allows home renovators to list their jobs online.

Available tradespeople can then apply for the job, allowing the lister to choose the best candidates based on reviews, and get quotes from their top picks.

Once the job is completed, customers post reviews of the tradespeople and the work done.

The idea came to co-owner Mark Dickson and his wife Shona, as they were renovating and struggled to find a reputable tradie for a competitive price. The couple couldn't find any recommendations, and after hiring a tradesman who failed to show, they thought there had to be a better way.

"The idea is that instead of ringing all of these tradies who are busy, you just get applications from the three tradies who are actually available and want the work."

"Our motto is, let the tradies chase you," says co-owner Jeremy Wyn-Harris.

The firm is Christchurch based, but operates nationwide, and has 10,000 tradies registered and more than 40,000 reviews posted.

Wyn-Harris says one of the strengths of the model is its review system, which weeds out unreliable tradies and keeps standards high.

"People can't write reviews unless they've posted the job - so you can't get your mum to go on and write a nice review.

"And when a tradesperson chases a job, they know they'll be reviewed, so they do put their best foot forward."

The Christchurch office now employs five full time staff and three part timers, as well as some temporary contractors.

Once builders have the job, they are charged a 5 per cent success fee - a minimum of $5 and a maximum of $500.

Wyn-Harris said one of the company's biggest challenges was growing sustainably, with enough tradies available to do the work and enough jobs to keep tradies interested.

But the firm is expanding rapidly, with 50 per cent revenue growth over the last year.

He would not disclose profit or revenue figures.

The online platform was designed from scratch, and maintaining the tech side has been another challenge.

"We get things mostly right, but not always."

Diamond roofing owner Tina Hope said the company had been using Builderscrack.co.nz for three years, and it had been "fabulous".

The company now gets around 30 per cent of their work through the website, and Hope said 97 per cent of the quotes they sent through eventuated in jobs.

She said the knowledge they would be rated "makes us better people, better contractors, it makes us pick up our game."

Because they were rated on every element of the job - callbacks, price, scheduling, and building process - she said it made them aware if any aspect of the business was lagging.

"The only negative element is when there are too many tradies chasing the same job - I think too many options are confusing for the customer."

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