Web Startup fixR Picks Boston as Ground Zero for Contractor Marketplace

(Updated: Additional information has been added to this story. Please see the editor’s note below.)

Call it eBay for contractors—and at least initially for plumbers and carpenters and electricians in the Boston area. FixR, a Spain-based Web startup, has chosen the Hub for the first launch of its online marketplace where contractors bid on jobs posted by homeowners. FixR quietly launched in the Boston area in October, company co-founder and CEO Andres Torrubia says, and the startup aims to grow its customer base here before expanding to other U.S. markets.

FixR works like this: Contractors register on the site and include information on their skills. People seeking, say, a plumber to fix a leaky faucet post the job on the site with basic details such as where and when the work is needed. Then, contractors registered with fixR submit their bids to the person who posted the job, and he picks the plumber whose offer he likes the most. The bids of each contractor are visible on the site, Torrubia says, to create a competitive environment like eBay that theoretically results in the best value for people looking around for skilled labor. The site also notifies contractors via e-mail of jobs that fit their skills. Plans are to develop an iPhone application for fixR and to add a Facebook Connect app to the site, Torrubia says.

Initially, fixR plans to offer its services for free to both people who post jobs that need to be done, and to contractors while the site builds a larger group of users, says Torrubia. He adds that down the road his firm may broker transactions between job posters and contractors, and take an undetermined cut from the contractor. Yet he noted that the revenue model for the company is still a work in progress.

Torrubia says that fixR has advantages over existing services for both job posters and contractors. The Yellow Pages make people seek out contractors, rather than the contractors finding them at fixR, he says. Angieslist, a popular Web site that provides ratings on service providers, doesn’t have a bidding board to prompt contractors to lower their prices as fixR does, Torrubia notes. FixR also provides customer ratings of its registered contractors. People can post jobs at free classifieds website Craigslist, he says, but bidding contractors can’t see the prices their competitors are offering on that site, and wouldn’t know to reduce their rates to compete with lower bids.

The slumping economy and contractors’ increased use of the Internet to find work are playing in fixR’s favor, Torrubia says. His site already has 500 registered contractors offering their services. Indeed, Wade last week profiled Boston-based Web startup Assured Labor, which launched publicly this month to play matchmaker between service providers and employers. FixR chose to launch initially in Boston because the firm wanted to be in a city on the East Coast that was similar to other U.S. markets, Torrubia says.

Torrubia says he first conceived of fixR’s business model while he was dealing with the hassles of finding and awarding bids to contractors to work on his new house. “I had one of these eureka moments when I got two bids,” says Torrubia. “One contractor wanted to charge me $10,000 and the other wanted to charge $20,000 for the same thing.”

Torrubia, who founded fixR in early 2008, previously co-founded … Next Page »

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4 responses to “Web Startup fixR Picks Boston as Ground Zero for Contractor Marketplace”

  1. Lawn care Orlando says:

    We have just registered with over 53 directories and have gotten more clients from FixR in the past 2 months than all the rest combined! Highly recommend listing your business with FixR

  2. Lyla Burns says:

    Is it possible to sell services on ebay? I would love to sell some carpet cleaning fernandina beach fl services if it’s possible. I’ve never heard of anyone doing this but it would be a good place for people to get discounted cleaning services, I think!

  3. Paul Johnson says:

    Fixr is really a straight forward company, no hidden fees, no upfront bank account info, Pay for the leads that you want, unlike home advisors, that charge weekly. for leads that don’t pan out, fixr is my only contractor lead company,I get the work from, it works!!!!

  4. Jackson Leavitt says:

    This was really cool. I have been to ground zero once and it was a really cool experience. I remember what I was doing the day of 9/11. I could not believe my eyes when I saw what was going on. I feel like Ground Zero is an amazing monument for what it represents!