Lowe's joins with Seattle company to find best home pros
SEATTLE -- Think about it: How many projects are there around your house that maybe you could do, but maybe not?
Now, when you head to Lowe's to buy the supplies, you can easily gain access to a list of professionals to do it.
"It's the biggest asset and the biggest investment in our lives collectively and it's just, it's painful," said Matt Ehrlichman.
That's why Ehrlichman created "Porch", to ease that pain of finding professional painters, plumbers, electricians, landscapers and more.
Showing off the service, Ehrlichman said, "Here's the plumber that your neighbors used and loved..."
The idea for this company came out of sheer frustration that Ehrlichman said he and his wife faced while trying to build their dream house.
"It's just so painful. It's so hard to know what to do or what it's going to cost or certainly who to hire," he said.
A lot of customers in Lowe's stores ask for help, but company policy prevents employees from making any recommendations on professional contractors. Now they don't have to, as Porch.com does it for them.
Store manager Patrick Miskelly's Renton store was a test site for the partnership, now in all 1,700 Lowe's stores nationwide.
Employees just enter a zip code and the type of work the customer needs and up pops a list from Porch.com.
An example for painters, showed one that's been used by 6 homeowners and 7 people endorsed it. The customer can get that list emailed or printed in store.
Lowe's customer Theresa Baranska noticed the signs in the store and asked about it. Once she learned the scope of it, she said, "I think that's amazing because then you can also research that contractor knowing see what kind of a reputation that they have."
But wait, aren't there are other companies out there that already do this?
"Oh sure there are plenty of review sites that are out there, directories for professionals," Ehrlicman said. "What we've realized is that it's just not very good. Homeowners weren't getting the information they want."
And he adds: his service is free. Ehrlichman's team compiled data from professionals homeowners, public records, licenses, permits and more, to create a database that stretches across the nation.
"So we've organized all this information that's never been organized before and we're able to create really cool experiences with it," he said.
Ehrlichman said he built the entire company up to this point in just 18 months.
"Ten months ago the company as in the basement of my rental house, you can imagine, there were 12 of us down there shoulder to shoulder," he said. Now Porch.com numbers 140 employees and is growing in its leased office space in Seattle.
And even if you don't shop at Lowe's and don't want to buy the supplies yourself, you can still use Porch online. The company also partnered with Realtor.com, listing all the work that's been done on every home listed for sale.