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Amazon Launches Home Services - Your thoughts?

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Erin Holohan Haskell
Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,347
Amazon launched its Home Services today (http://www.amazon.com/services). So now you can not only buy a TV on Amazon, you can also hire someone to install it for you. And customers will also be able to hire HVAC specialists. According to Reuters, "Amazon Home Services will have a revenue share model with the service providers. The retailer will charge a 5 percent transaction fee, along with platform fees ranging from 10 percent for custom services and 15 percent for standardized services." So what do you think? Good for business or more trouble than it's worth?

I'm biased, but I think our Find a Contractor service (https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/) is more contractor friendly. It's less than $1 per day and it connects you with informed customers. You can also display photos of your work.

President
HeatingHelp.com

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Comments

  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
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    I cannot even fathom the problems this will create for the homeowners which we already help here .
    How can they expect to vet contractors .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,750
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    Rich said:

    I cannot even fathom the problems this will create for the homeowners which we already help here .
    How can they expect to vet contractors .

    We won't have to Amazon is vetting them for us correct? (massive sarcasm there). Seriously though that is basically what Amazon is saying with this, "trust us". As a homeowner this scares me to be honest. In these situations the homeowner is led to believe the contractor has already been vetted by either Amazon or big box guy or whoever. I have a family member that works at big box and according to him it basically is a questionnaire filled out by the contractor and a willingness to split money with the Amazon or big box. They aren't necessarily all bad, but when you put a big name behind it, it leads us homeowners to believe they are all good. At the bare minimum people think the big name will help when things go wrong, but doesn't always work that way. Just my $0.02 worth.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    Jean-David Beyer
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    edited March 2015
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    The Big Box stores beat the contractor up for nickels and dimes. They want the cheapest materials used, and the bare minimum, as far as what will work. They dictate how things will be installed, to optimize their profits from your labor. It's a losing situation for the consumer. In the insurance industry, they have what is known as a gatekeeper. If you need an MRI, they will only approve an x-ray. If you deny 100,000 claims, maybe 10,000 will be uncontested, and paid by the unknowing "insured". When you're doing it on a huge scale, the profits are huge. Now , you tell me, who wins?
    TinmanJean-David Beyer
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    Years ago, I thought I needed to compete with Sears water heater installers.
    Then I was worried when Home Depot came around.
    Then I braced for impact when National Grid started doing service.
    Then I was screaming when I lost signed jobs to undocumented workers from Asia and Eastern Europe during the worst of the recession.

    This morning?
    Yet another sunrise.

    Amazon can't service customers as a faceless company with menu pricing. It's not going to happen.

    At least not in my area. The people that sign up to do this kind of thing (I know. I did it for Sears) are not quality contractors. There's just not enough money in it to go around and it falls apart.

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    GordyTinmanSWEIJean-David Beyer
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    JohnNY......Contractors in a more rural setting may be at a bigger disadvantage than you. They will target areas that seem to be lacking quality contractors to begin with. Unfortunately, it gives the shmucks a leg up.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,658
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    This is one area that Amazon will have problems with. Since there is no vetting for expertise or background in hydronics, it's very unlikely a homeowner will find a qualified company. "Radiant Heat" is not even a category yet.
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,261
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    So they want to make all the profit on the equipment and still wrangle as much profit as the can from the contractor's till.

    I'm not having any of it. I refuse to participate in those type of shenanigans.
    KC_JonesSWEIRich_49
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    I once bought roofing materials from a big box who offered installation services. The roof materials were a standard quality product but the installer turned out to be a nightmare, Thrash from the tear off everywhere, no drip edge, they stuffed roofing wrappers in the hole where a couple roof boards had rotted through and i had paid for the boards to be replaceed (all while I was at work) After about 3 weeks of them showing up maybe one day a week, I took a day off work and threw them off of my property. I had the regional manager of the Big Box come in to see the kind of services they were subjecting customers to. They made it right but I certainly learned my lesson. They hire whoever is available (and they are available for a reason) and you get whatever you get. No quality control or screening what-so-ever!
    GordySWEI
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 17,012
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    Let's see............ in the old days in Baltimore we had local department stores like Hutzler's, Hecht's, Hochschild-Kohn and Stewart's offering services like these. I still see old oil tanks with these names on them once in a while. IIRC what my grandmother told me, some of the storm windows in what is now my house were installed through Hutzler's, years ago, and I discovered whoever they hired didn't even caulk around them. That was a fun thing to correct... not.

    Now we have Service Magic, Home Depot, Lowe's, (insert your other regional big box stores here), Angie's List and now Amazon.

    Same stuff, different day.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    SWEIRobG
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,750
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    Steamhead said:

    Let's see............ in the old days in Baltimore we had local department stores like Hutzler's, Hecht's, Hochschild-Kohn and Stewart's offering services like these. I still see old oil tanks with these names on them once in a while. IIRC what my grandmother told me, some of the storm windows in what is now my house were installed through Hutzler's, years ago, and I discovered whoever they hired didn't even caulk around them. That was a fun thing to correct... not.

    Now we have Service Magic, Home Depot, Lowe's, (insert your other regional big box stores here), Angie's List and now Amazon.

    Same stuff, different day.

    Don't forget the door to door aluminum siding salesmen from back in the 60's.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 17,012
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    KC_Jones said:

    Don't forget the door to door aluminum siding salesmen from back in the 60's.

    Immortalized in the Barry Levinson movie "Tin Men", which was set in Baltimore.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    SWEITinmanRobert O'Brien
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,750
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    Steamhead said:

    KC_Jones said:

    Don't forget the door to door aluminum siding salesmen from back in the 60's.

    Immortalized in the Barry Levinson movie "Tin Men", which was set in Baltimore.
    lol Yes. My grandfather grew up in Highlandtown then moved to Dundalk then eventually Reisterstown....I have heard lots of stories. Oh and he worked for your favorite utility from 41-86, my father worked for them from 70-2002 and I worked for them from 2000-2007. I got out while I was still young....well they kicked me out. I have a work ethic and that doesn't really fit with their modern business plan. ;)
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,743
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    Any bird can do an easy job
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    As said above this will come, and silently go.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,750
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    Are we going to start a pool on when the first Amazon victim posts here?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,929
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    Home Depot "installed" my clothes washer and dryer when I wasn't home.

    They didn't use pipe dope on the NPT fittings for the gas pipe on the dryer and they crossed the hot and cold on the washer. They also claimed they leveled them when they did no such thing.

    I doubt what Amazon will offer will be much different but who knows. Maybe it'll be better.

    They just need to concentrate on forced hot air and stay away from steam and I'll be happy.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited March 2015
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    KC_Jones said:

    Are we going to start a pool on when the first Amazon victim posts here?

    Have to start a triage section. Here on the wall.
  • Leo_G
    Leo_G Member Posts: 89
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    Well they be a testing their drone delivery system at an unnamed location here in BC. Just waiting to see one of them puppies flying to a clients house with a good sized cast boiler!

    :wink:
    Harvey RamerErin Holohan Haskell
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,808
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    I'm a small company so I'm guessing it won't hurt me. It may help me?
    It will probably affect contractors who sub through Home Depot or other places a lot more.
    And, there's a huge difference between potential customers who look for a contractor through the likes of Home Depot and Amazon than the ones who look for contractors via this website and manufacturer's websites. At least, that's been my experience.
    Steve Minnich
    Ross_24Erin Holohan Haskell
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
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    KC_Jones said:

    Are we going to start a pool on when the first Amazon victim posts here?

    Within one month of installation of whichever product
    is purchased .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
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    Just saw this and figured posting it would good to further discussion .

    http://mechanical-hub.com/hire-a-plumber-on-amazon
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,968
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    When I hear “I’ve gotten prices from Home Cheapo or Blows now Amazon” I’ll still reply “sorry you can’t afford me”
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
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    I think a better approach would be to tell them odds are good that it won't be done properly or they run a large risk of getting a poorly designed installed job . They could research horror stories from all of the above and possibly choose you based on the good advice you have offered them .
    Just telling them they can't afford you is foolish , they very well may be able to afford you . Don't throw work away .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,261
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    Whenever the words "We'll handle the hassle of payment" comes up, you can be assured they are taking a slice of your hard earned pay. Furthermore, it has been my experience that happy customers take all the hassle out of getting paid.
    SWEIAlCorelliNY
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 17,012
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    If someone has gotten prices from big-box stores, they're more than likely going to go with whoever is cheapest. So the question is, how much time do we put into trying to change their minds, which are probably already made up?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    jonny88AlCorelliNY
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
    edited April 2015
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    Steamhead ,
    Not alot of time just a simple " read some reviews of the services you are thinking about and if you'd like , get back to me " is much better than a ' You cannot afford me don't call back " response .

    Harvey ,.

    I hear you but it may be worth looking into further and us vetting Amazon about how it will work . Customer acquisition can be pricey and this may be something some of us can make work for us . Let's face it , odds are good you are gonna get a crummy plumber or heating / cooling technician anyway . How many "came highly recommended " guys do we bat cleanup for on this site here ?
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    AlCorelliNY
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
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    One thing that worries me is that it sounds like they are asking for flat rate pricing (which is something I will never do). They do mention "custom job pricing" but it still sounds like they will want an over the phone or e-mail price. Not for me.
    AlCorelliNY
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,261
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    Rich said:



    Harvey ,.

    I hear you but it may be worth looking into further and us vetting Amazon about how it will work . Customer acquisition can be pricey and this may be something some of us can make work for us . Let's face it , odds are good you are gonna get a crummy plumber or heating / cooling technician anyway . How many "came highly recommended " guys do we bat cleanup for on this site here ?


    Time will tell I suppose.

    It seems there are a few big corporations that keep on trying to invade the Home Services industry. This is our space! If we participate with the big corps, we could see a complete takeover in the next 50 years. If you look at Home Services nationwide, it must be a very tempting slice of pie to a company like Amazon. Ask yourself this, how many markets or industries are still served by individuals like you and I?
    There is really no reason this industry couldn't fall victim as well.

    AlCorelliNY
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
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    I just don't see how this system could work in our industry as nothing is standard, everything is unique to the individual job. The only thing you could do would be to inflate your price to the extent that you would price yourself out of the market. On top of that Amazon is holding your money until you make the customer happy. I can just imagine going out to do a tankless heater and telling the HO that it's going to be $XXX more to upsize the gas line and the heater they purchased will not work with the body sprays in their remodeled shower. How do you make that person happy?
    Harvey RamerSWEIjonny88AlCorelliNY
  • Kakashi
    Kakashi Member Posts: 88
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    Foil tape...foil tape everywhere...
    Does shark bite make valves/couplings that can be used with 22 or 410a?
    AlCorelliNY
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,743
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    On this day, April 4, the year being 2015, I predict, it will not work, and how dare those gazillionAires think they can farm out such tasks any Joe blow.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
    AlCorelliNY
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
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    As a HO, I 'm sure a lot of people ASSUME Amazon, Sears or where ever vets those they use, so it's not necessarily their fault if they make that choice. It may also just seem really convenient when one's water heater dies to have a someone take care of everything right away with no hassle.
    For something larger, like a heating system, I could never imagine not getting a few options and doing some research first. However, it's still difficult for any lay person to understand the intricacies, so I'm not sure the best way to go about it. I'm just glad I found HH.com!
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,743
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    Yes Vapor, I'm not sure what you do for a living, but is it possible someone could replace you for lower costs? I bet the answer it yes. All of us are replaceable, none of us claim to be the cheapest. Here's the kicker, in my silly example, can your cheap replacement do everything you can do with general efficiency? Probably not. This ough to be interesting...
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
    AlCorelliNY
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
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    Yup, all good points…Me I would rather be an idle fool than a busy fool…..In the end they all come back…Oil companies only worry about how quick the the tank goes low, gas co. only cares about how many cubic feet go thru the meter, and big box stores only care about what goes out the door…They should stick to what they do best,and thats fine….However they should not even try to enter the service and installation business…Just my 2 cents
    jonny88
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,743
    edited April 2015
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    Yeah ja, 60% of the tasks preformed will be ok in my grand assumption. 30% will be a "you need more work because of xyz, and 10% of the jobs will go up in flames.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • Randy-LeeBraman
    Randy-LeeBraman Member Posts: 46
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    This is a nightmare in the making.Have a guy who lives just up the road from me who had himself listed on home advisor as a advisor and contractor.
    well its been over a year and a half cleaning up after him and his crew of subs at a house they did thru home advisor.
    Everything from a incorrectly undersized heating system to
    some of the worst electrical work i've seen.They made it look good to the home owners eye but when it came down to it,it
    was totally substandard workmanship.
    Theis are the types of people who work for services like Amozon is offering.
    AlCorelliNY
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,743
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    yes most people in our society have a reduced level of esteem for the trades people. I get it, we are not doctors or lawyers. I'll refrain from getting into my true sentiments. However, when our knowledge is on the same playing field as buying a commodity item, well that's a bit of a snag i must say. Trying to combat this is a waste of one's energy. Thankfully, many people is our society will only buy from the most reputable service provider they can get to their home.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,347
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    And take a look at what Google has been up to:
    Google to Launch Home Services Search
    "The company is readying a new product intended to connect search users with local home-service providers."

    President
    HeatingHelp.com

  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,743
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    love that link, a toy plumber with a plunger in his little hand. Awesome. I wonder if the toy plumber can replace a rotted out cast iron stack running the full 2 1/2 stories on a 100 year old house.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
    jonny88