23 April 2007
Reporter: Randall Walker
Two former Kapiti College students have launched a website with a catchy name in an attempt to streamline the job of finding and hiring a tradesman.
Builderscrack.co.nz was “a Trade Me for tradespeople”, said Raumati’s Andrew Dickson, co-owner of the business.
A spin on the usual process of obtaining quotes, the New Zealand-wide site let homeowners be the one’s listing work they needed doing, with tradesmen signing in to see what was on offer and quoting online, over the phone or in person.
It cost the homeowner nothing to list nor the tradesman to quote. The latter paid a small fee once they had a deal. Mr Dickson’s brother, Mark, embarked on the concept after becoming frustrated with tradesmen while renovating his house last year. “Some tradesmen sounded keen but didn’t turn up, others were simply too busy or not interested, said the former Kapiti College student.” Believing there had to be a better way, he talked to renovators and tradesmen and, with fellow Christchurch resident and software developer Jeremy Wyn-Harris, started work on the website.
Andrew Dickson, a former business analyst now PhD student, helped market the site. He said it “revolutionised” the interaction between homeowners and tradespeople. “In the past, the way it worked was that tradesmen advertised and you as a homeowner looked where they advertised, the Yellow Pages or whatever. What we’ve done is provide an opportunity for the homeowner to advertise, so the tradesman can actually look on the site to see advertisements for homeowners. And as far as I can tell it’s never been done before.”
The site also offered an estimating tool, providing ball park figures for a wide variety of jobs. Mr Dickson believed it would attract “progressive” tradesmen looking for work, as well as offering a starting point for newly qualified tradespeople.
Since its launch in February the website had signed up over 200 tradesmen and homeowners and listed about 70 jobs, with 48 on offer last week.