Flattro is free for both clients and tradespeople. How is that even possible? Is it really free or is there a catch? We will try to answer these and other burning questions, as many of you are (rightfully) wondering what crazy idea stands behind this concept. Let’s find out.
Let’s start from the beginning. As it’s been noted in the aptly named ‘How It All Started’ blogpost from some time ago, the team behind Flattro is coming from the local services industry and basically, we’ve been there and we’ve done that. We know how hard it can be on the other side of the fence (both sides of the fence, actually). And, we figured out, it’s the fence that is the real problem. So we decided to bring it down.
The fence is what keeps information from flowing freely between clients and local services providers. In the past it’s only been natural, because time, distance and opportunity naturally prevented the free flow. Today, however, the fence is supposed to be gone, as the Internet allows virtually everyone to communicate and access information freely even on the go. Because perfect situations never exist, however, we’ve seen the fence being replaced by barriers and some businesses have started charging tolls. You know who we’re talking about. The ones charging excessive sums to simply supply a phone number or to display a local business advertisement to potential clients. Some might say these businesses (let’s call them toll operations) are rightfully charging for a legitimate service. In all fairness, it might have started with the best of intentions. But right now, we’ve come to realize, the system is rigged and not in a good way: What local service providers pay the toll operations is then being used to push these same service providers out of the marketplace. Google any combination of trade and location and look closely at the results. Small business listings are almost never in the first batch of results and the pages are flooded by advertisements of toll operations. They are smart, we’ll give it to them: Using your own users’ hard earned money to push them out of the marketplace might not be the noblest thing to do, but it sure is effective. There’s only one problem: Someone has to pay the bill and this someone is tradespeople and their clients. Wait, the Internet was supposed to make things easier and cheaper, not more expensive, right?
So, we figured, this situation is inherently wrong and we can’t allow it to go on like that. Fifteen months later we launched Flattro. Our goal is to offer a truly free service for both tradespeople and their clients and destroy the fence, not put a toll barrier in its place. The only way to do this in a sustainable manner is to offer our users premium services. Our firm belief is that if we are to charge our users for a service, this service needs to add real value. We do not believe that sharing a phone number for a fee is adding real value.
This is why our premium services will deliver real value. For tradespeople, premium plans will provide additional client and project information that helps them and their business take better decisions about which clients and projects to pursue. This information might be the budget, timeframe, or exact location of the project. Such information saves time and resources and is what we believe constitutes real value, when utilized smartly by capable tradespeople. For clients we’ve got big plans about adding real value, which we will share with you when we are ready to roll them out. It is going to be big and it is going to make waves, we promise.
Besides premium, we expect truly free to be our most popular service and we are okay with that. In the end, we expect our premium services to be able to sustain the platform, so we bring the fences down together. Our goal is to truly transform the local services industry, so it works efficiently and market distortions are eliminated. The end result should be simple: reliable service providers should be easily discoverable by clients and local services should not be unnecessarily burdened by tolls, fees, and barriers. Let’s bring the fence down together. As simple as that.
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