People are understandably nervous about hiring contractors – they worry they’ll be over-charged, encouraged to purchase services they don’t need, and scammed with shoddy work quality. Amazon.com has launched a new business to take the fear out of hiring service providers. Like Angie’s List and others like it, Amazon Home Services (AHS) helps people find reputable, licensed contractors in their area for any of their home improvement needs. Because of the company’s size and market share of online traffic (85 million Amazon shopper purchased something that potentially will need a service call), Amazon Home Services will surely be a huge success. If you want to get in on the action, here’s how you do it:
Amazon Home Services Application Process
Amazon Home Services supports a massive variety of in-home and in-store services. Their “Featured Categories” are Home, Lawn and Garden, Automotive, Computer and Electronics and Lessons (education) but their reach is far beyond those areas. As far as home improvement goes, they have businesses offering services from air duct cleaning to window washing, including power washing.
According to the Getting Started page, “selling services on Amazon Home Services is an invite-only program.” However, you can express your interest by filling out this application. If you are accepted, you will receive an activation code, which you then activate here. Before you start filling on the boxes though, be sure you have the following ready:
- State/Local Business Registration Number
- Valid credit card
- Insurance information
- Names and email addresses of your in-home technicians (if applicable)
- Addresses of your stores (if applicable)
According to the “Getting Started Guide,” set aside 30 minutes to create an account. Amazon will not let you use a previous Amazon Seller Account, in case you already have one.
Fill out the information as requested. We suggest you read all of the terms and conditions of their legal agreements BEFORE you accept them. (Those agreements are not available online other than if you are invited to be a seller.) Once you complete the registration, Amazon will conduct a business background check and your final approval status will be visible on the Seller Central homepage.
Next, you’ll need to set up your seller page: where you offer your services, what services you offer, technicians who provide your services, insurance your company has and licenses you work under. Detailed instructions are in the “Getting Started Guide.” Amazon Home Services charges $40 per background check, however they are waived through December 31, 2015 (see below for more information on fees). All technicians who enter a customer’s home must get a background check.
Each type of job has a standard service description designed by Amazon. You can read what that is as you create your seller page. This description is important: it is how Amazon estimates the cost for potential buyers. Be sure you are familiar what Amazon says you will do as anything outside of that will be considered custom work.
How Much Do I Make?
The Amazon Home Services pricing page has a nifty diagram for how much they make off of your invoice, but it comes down to this: Amazon makes 20% off standard services, 15% off custom services and 10% off recurring services.
Amazon has two different kinds of fees: a Platform Fee (“includes marketing, advertising, seller tools and customer service”) and a Transaction Fee (“all relevant fees for invoicing, payment processing, and fraud protection”). Each kind of service has a transaction fee of 5%. For standard services, Amazon takes 15% for the platform fee, for custom services it takes 10%, and recurring services it takes 5%.
Other fees include a $50 monthly subscription fee, currently waived through December 31, 2015 and background check fees at $40 per participating employee (anyone performing in-home services). That fee is also waived through December 31, 2015. Remember that every time you get a new employee who might complete a job through Amazon Home Services, that new person needs a background check.
Is Amazon Home Services worth it for me?
You won’t know if you will increase your customer reach until you sign up and get your seller page complete. Now is a great time to start since the fees are waived for the rest of the year.
Look to see if any of your competitors are listed in the zip codes you service. (With Amazon Home Services being so new, your area might not even be covered.) You will likely be better off getting in before the competition does. On the other hand, if only a few of your zip codes are covered by Amazon Home Services, it might not be worth it.
If you enroll now, you at least have a few low-cost months to decide. Once November rolls around, you can back out before the fees begin.