Amazon has become the place where you buy everything, but a new service that the site is rolling out in the US, called Amazon Home Services, might help it become the place where you hire people to complete all your chores as well.
The way it works is pretty simple - just go to the site, add the service you want and set a time for the work to be done. After the work is complete, you flag it as done and complete the payment, through Amazon. As a launch offer, you'll get a $20 gift card for buying any service.
We entered a friend's San Francisco address to see the options available, and there are already a lot of things that you can do with Amazon Home Services. Electrical and wiring, plumbing, TV wall mounting, virus and spyware removal were just some of the facilities available at our friend's address. There are other services as well, which were greyed out - these will come soon to the area. Some services that were listed as coming soon included home cleaning, music lessons, and our two favourites, a singing performance, and goat grazing service.
There are some ways in which this new business connects very neatly to Amazon's primary business of selling you things. After all, the only thing that might be keeping you from taking the plunge and buying a new home theatre system is the fact that you're all thumbs and can't possibly install it yourself. Or maybe you've been checking a couple of deck chairs but your lawn is such a disaster that you don't even know how to start to tame it. It might not be long before Amazon offers you a bundled deal, where you can buy a home theatre and get a discount on the installation.
What about the prices? In plumbing services, an under-sink water filtration installation will cost you between $120 and $149. Computer virus and spyware removal will set you back by $89, for a home visit if you have a PC, and $120 is you use a Mac.
According to a report, the appeal for Amazon Home Services lies in figuring out the people you can trust. Amazon says it accepts an average of three out of every 100 service professionals in each metro area. It makes sure each business is licensed, insured, and passes a five-point background check, with a further six-point background check for each technician.
In India, these types of services are already available online. Sites like OLX and Quikr have had a dedicated services section from pretty much the time they launched. You can hire someone to repair your computer, or book a driver for 12 hours. Bus booking agents have their own presence on the site, or you can hire a carpenter through the site. The big difference here is that OLX and Quikr act as classifieds, and don't handle any aspect of the transaction. You'll have to meet and settle on a price yourselves and probably make the payment in cash.
Meanwhile, there are also specialised sites like KushGhar, where you can schedule home cleaning visits, Driver Bulao, where you can hire a professional driver for four, eight or ten hours, or Champiwala, where you can hire a barber to come home with all his equipment to give you a shave, a haircut, or even a massage.
Meanwhile, Flipkart also acquired a stake in Jeeves last year. Jeeves provides after sales services on large home appliances and electronics, and this deal gives Flipkart the ability to actually install a consumer's products, instead of just selling them.
So far though, none of these Indian service businesses have been huge successes, so it's hard to say how successful Amazon's new business will be. According to Amazon though, there are 85 million potential customers per year in the US alone.