The Internet giant had long been rumored to be entering the home-services space, and these rumors proved true with the quiet roll-out of Amazon Local Services last year in some areas. Today’s launch represents a rebrand, refocus, and wider rollout that takes in most of the major metropolitan areas in the U.S., including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York.
Though there are broad categories listed along the top of the portal, including “Lawn & Garden,” “Lessons,” and “Automotive,” you can drill down into any number of specialties, including “TV Wall Mounting,” “Virus and Spyware Removal,” and, erm, “Goat Grazing.”
Amazon says that there are 2 million individual services available at launch, and this move represents the company’s wider shift from the online realm to the offline service offering.
Amazon says it uses “handpicked pros” — it’s an invite-only marketplace for service providers — who offer their pricing upfront, and the services follow Amazon’s usual reviews process. This includes displaying “verified purchases,” where you can be assured that a review is legitimate and the reviewer has in fact used the service in question. The service-sellers are also background-checked and have insurance in place.
Amazon is already taking on local grocery stores with its new one-hour delivery service, and now it’s taking on task-related online startups such as Fiverr and Handy. However, Amazon is actually tapping the services of other operators in the space for this rollout, including TaskRabbit, TakeLessons, and Pep Boys, thus saving Amazon from having to pre-vet all the handy- men and women on the platform.