TC50: Need someone to mow your lawn? Redbeacon creates a market for local services

Updated with correctionNeed a plumber? A gardener? Someone who can do another random job? A startup called Redbeacon says it can help you find the right person when you want, for the right price.

The company demonstrated its service at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco. If you need someone to do a job, you go to the site, then create a profile of the job — what you need done, the time window it can be done in,  and the range of prices you’re willing to pay. Then relevant service providers are alerted and can bid for when they’ll do the job and for how much.

This is much more customizable than your average job site or a listing on Craigslist. There are also closer competitors like ServiceMagic. The difference, Redbeacon says, is the fact that ServiceMagic is focused on home improvement, and charges service providers right away. On Redbeacon, service providers don’t pay a fee unless they get the job. More broadly, Redbeacon says it stands out by giving the people who need a service with more control over the process.

Redbeacon is launching part of its site right now, letting service providers create a profile. People in the San Francisco Bay Area can start posting jobs in two weeks.

The service does sound a lot like what LinkedIn has also been experimenting with. Question here is whether it is differentiated enough to rise above the substantial number of competitors in the job listing industry.

Update: Co-founder Ethan Anderson emailed me with a few corrections and clarifications:

  • Customers don’t create publicly viewable job listings. Instead, when they enter a job on Redbeacon, relevant service providers receive an alert via SMS text message and other channels.
  • Customers don’t specify a price range, but they do determine the price they’ll pay the service provider since they select the winning bid.
  • Anderson says one big advantage that was overlooked in some of the discussion was the fact that Redbeacon’s scheduling tool is unique. I’m definitely like the sound of the Redbeacon process — where the customer dictates possible times, then chooses a bid based (in part) on when the service provider says they will do the job.

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