What are the Most Profitable Thumbtack Categories

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The market for local online services is only just emerging, and heavyweights like Amazon and Google are already in the starting blocks. However, many local providers in Germany are calm about their rivals from overseas and trust in their home advantage. The craftsman portal MyHammer from Berlin, for example, observes the ambitions of the US giants "very relaxed," said CEO Claudia Frese. In contrast to standardized offers, platforms from Germany rely on individually tailored services. MyHammer is "with its many years of experience specializing in the German craft market with all its special features," says Frese.

The Berlin startup buyers portal also sees itself well equipped for the growing competition. "We are not afraid of Amazon or Google, because we have seen many come and go," says Robin Behlau, co-founder of the portal confidently. So far, the platform has concentrated on providing services and advice-intensive products such as kitchens, winter gardens, solar systems or stair lifts. The company, which was founded in 2008, now wants to expand its range of services to include additional services after a cash injection of 3.3 million euros from the Investitionsbank Berlin in April, thus addressing a broader target group.

In the meantime, more and more craftsmen are joining the nationwide Buy Local initiative. Buy Local is primarily about strengthening the retail sector, which is increasingly being displaced by online offers such as Amazon and Zalando. The initiative emphasizes that customers could also set an example on the Internet by making conscious purchase decisions for local dealers and strengthen the region.

According to industry observers, there is huge market potential in the online brokerage of local services. The prognoses ranged up to more than 800 billion dollars, wrote the "New York Times" recently. "There are only a few gold pots like this left on the Internet," said Marco Zappacosta, boss and co-founder of the Californian startup Thumbtack. After all, according to a study commissioned by 1 & 1, the time of the yellow pages is a thing of the past: three-quarters of people walk in Internet to look for local service providers and dealers.

Numerous startups are getting ready to go around the growing market. Many offers are about bundling local providers such as electricians, carpenters or craftsmen who still have little presence on the internet at all online and making the services more visible. Pro.com from the USA, for example, recently launched an app with which you can find a helper for the leaky faucet or redesigning your own bathroom in the region.

While the German provider MyHammer, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, only approved craftsmen with proof of qualification are allowed to tender for customers, Thumbtack in the USA also allows private users from the neighborhood to offer services such as cleaning services or dog-sitting . Unlike Amazon, for example, such providers from the American market are much more interesting, said Frese. They would have the same, or at least very similar, business model. And they would certainly have a great interest in the German market in the medium term.

However, Google is also interested in Thumbtack. Last summer, the search engine provider invested in the San Francisco-based company. Google Capital helped the small company with $ 100 million. In the meantime, however, Google decided to set up such an offer itself - and to compete with its investment division. What the unusual change of course means and how the new plans could fit in with the takeover is unclear, said Zappacosta.

Just recently, another heavyweight, Amazon, entered the still young market. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had already invested in Pro.com. The online retail giant started its Amazon Home Services service in March, initially in the USA. Local service providers for all types of repairs can be found here. According to its own information, Amazon now offers 2.4 million offers in more than 700 categories.

"There is a simple reason why Google and Amazon are now also brokering local service providers," said Mario Kohlen, co-founder of Buyer Portal.de. "The US market alone is worth $ 600 billion." However, the potential has so far been completely untapped. Given the great competition from overseas, they would have been worried five years ago, said co-founder Robin Behlau. But by now they know about the special challenges in the market, which cannot be compared with a normal commodity market. (dpa / tc)