poppins

Would you trust a housecleaner to supervise other handymen — plumbers, electricians, suspiciously dapper chimney sweeps — in your home? Handybook, an online booking service that recently expanded from Boston and New York to Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, is trialling a new feature to find out.

A dozen housecleaners in Boston are currently being nagged by customers asking them to check the gutters, inspect the pool, or monitor the plumbing. These housecleaners will (hopefully) investigate and report their findings to Handybook, which will then email its customers and ask if they’d like to book someone able to fix any problems.

That, by itself, isn’t particularly exciting. (I suspect that the mundanities of housekeeping rarely are.) You could probably leave a bunch of handwritten notes throughout the house and achieve roughly the same result. The utility comes from Handybook’s ability to find a handyman willing to arrive at your house by a specific time and — if you wish — automatically hire them to do their work the next time the housecleaner is scheduled to visit.

Handybook CEO Oisin Hanrahan says that the feature is built on the trust many place in someone they’re allowing into their home every week or month. Why not allow that person to supervise another worker, someone you probably don’t know, during a regularly-scheduled visit?

And, if something does go wrong, Hanrahan says that Handybook offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee and will cover the cost of any items damaged by a worker booked through its service. The company doesn’t train any of the workers on its platform; instead, they are assessed by the Handybook team and listed on the platform if they meet expectations. About 3 percent of applicants are said to make their way onto Handybook’s site.

“If you think about what Uber has done, they’ve taken the very best black car drivers and they’ve put a whole lot of them through a process to find the best ones,” Hanrahan says. “That’s kind of how we think about it.”

[Image via "un-blog-evable"]