Published on 12 Sep, 2017

Is it really free? It can’t be free! If something’s too good to be true, it usually is. What’s the catch? There’s no such thing as free lunch. We get to answer such questions and concerns a lot these days. First, let’s get things straight – Flattro’s core service of connecting homeowners to local tradesmen is free (as in really free, totally free or whatever other adverb you prefer).

So, how do we do it? There’s no grand secret, really. Our competitors don’t want you to know it, but in reality the marginal cost of connecting homeowner A to contractor(s) B(, C, D, E, and F) is practically 0 (nil, nada, nothing). This is possible, because technology has reached a point where it’s commoditized, widespread, and readily available. There are certain initial development and insignificant maintenance costs, but these are extremely low and when spread over thousands of users are frankly negligible. The real costs of our competitors lie elsewhere (more on this later).

Why do they charge then? Because they can and because they’re in for the profit (isn’t everyone?). There’s nothing wrong with charging your users, don’t get us wrong. And, it’s true that platforms like Flattro provide convenience to both homeowners and contractors in the form of distilled (project and contractor) information. The real question here is how much this convenience is worth in a world where information is frankly ubiquitous (one could just as effectively use Google Maps to find local contractors). As usual, the devil is in the details.

Existing platforms use the proceeds from their users almost exclusively for marketing. They occupy the top advertising slots on search engines and air professional looking commercials on TV. When a homeowner uses Google to search for a tradesman, the first results are the paid advertisements of these platforms. Suddenly, even if you are a very reputable contractor with many positive reviews, most of the traffic goes to someone’s builder and some guys with a rating. So, you sign up and start paying up. And they use your money to pay for more ads. It’s brilliant, we’ve got to give it to them.

But in the same time it’s very wrong. And the reason it’s wrong is not some false sense of fairness or righteousness, but rather simple economics: As competition for user attention and demand for advertising space increases, costs skyrocket. Guess who foots the bill. Any tradesman who’s been using such platforms over a longer period of time will have noticed the constant cost creep. Even with an increasing number of paying users, costs per project are significantly increased year after year.

Some of us have been there. We paid ever increasing fees and felt the disappointment mount as many of the leads we paid for turned out to be useless. Deep inside, we knew something was inherently wrong with these platforms. So, we decided to do something about it. This is why Flattro exists and today we connect homeowners with local contractors for free. Certainly because it is the right thing to do, but also because we believe the other option hurts basically everyone in the home improvement industry. So, our philosophy is simple – if we are to charge our users, we have to deliver true value and we don’t believe the occupation of advertising slots counts for such.

So, this is our take on the situation and we strongly believe that connecting homeowners with tradesmen for free is the first step of many that are needed to truly transform the property improvement industry. Technology has the potential to increase efficiency, bring down costs, and simplify everything. We are here to jumpstart the process. We know it will be challenging and not the slightest bit easy, but we have the resolve to face the competition and try to convert the naysayers and nonbelievers.

Are you a nonbeliever? Still having some doubts? Share your thoughts and concerns, we will be happy to answer them in the comments below.

Did we mention we absolutely love feedback? Positive or negative, we can’t get enough of it. Feel free to ping us at feedback@flattro.co.uk.


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