Amazon Home Services sends professional handymen and instructors to your door

You already use Amazon to buy computers, skateboards, and diapers. Now the company wants to sell you a plumber.

On Monday, the online retailer launched Amazon Home Services, a marketplace for home repairs and installations. The revamped section of Amazon's site offers a wide array of services with everything from electrical work to car stereo installation to voice lessons.

Although the AHS name is new, Amazon has actually offered handyman listings for several months in a few limited markets. Reuters first reported on Amazon's installation and repair ambitions last June. And in November, Forbes discovered an Amazon web page called Amazon Local Services with similar offerings to AHS.

Perusing AHS

Each job comes with a set price so that you know what you're paying for right at the outset. That's a huge step forward for any jobs you need done, since it's not unusual to receive a price quote after the service provider is standing in your house.

That does come with its limitations, however. Checking out Amazon's plumbing offerings in Brooklyn, for example, you can get a garbage disposal installed for $175-$225 or unclog your drain for $400. But it's less obvious to find help if your 75 year-old copper plumbing needs a complete overhaul. Amazon does have a generic "Hire a Plumber" option that you can use to get some quotes, but you might be better off just sourcing a contractor yourself.

The story behind the story: AHS shows Amazon's growing interest in providing local services. Amazon is already dabbling in restaurant takeout and delivery, grocery services, and one-hour and same-day delivery. Now Amazon wants to compete directly with start-ups like TaskRabbit and offer something of a curated version of Craigslist.

Nationwide, more or less

AHS is available across the country including major metropolitan areas like Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, as well as smaller places like Bloomington, IN and Luverne, MN. Which services are available varies greatly by location. Major cities have a lot of offerings, while smaller towns may only cover handyman jobs and TV wall mounting.

Amazon says all AHS service providers are added to the company's roster on an invite-only basis. To qualify as an AHS service provider Amazon requires each contractor go through a background check and to maintain insurance. The company is also backing all AHS work with the "Amazon Happiness Guarantee," which is basically a money back guarantee if you're not satisfied with the end result.


Ian Paul

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