HomeAdvisor’s Mhelpdesk Buy Reflects SMB-Operations Push

HomeAdvisor Mhelpdesk

Last week IAC-owned HomeAdvisor acquired a majority stake in a company called Mhelpdesk. The latter is described as “a cloud-based workflow application that helps small to medium-sized field service businesses streamline their operations.”

HomeAdvisor is the rebranded ServiceMagic, a lead-gen marketplace for home services professionals.

The Mhelpdesk product is a CRM tool that helps SMBs with field-service professionals or technicians better monitor and manage their operations. The software includes “scheduling, work orders, job tracking and invoicing.” The companies said that the software will be part of a HomeAdvisor “membership package” starting in January 2015.

What’s very interesting about this is that it plays into a larger trend: providing SMB services rather than pure marketing solutions. In a forthcoming report for the Local Search Association on the future of local media sales (co-written with Neal Polachek), I discuss the central problem of too-many “one stop” SMB marketing packages that are undifferentiated.

This is not that.

By offering this “vertical” field-service management software HomeAdvisor is gaining an operational foothold at the center of the business. Existing HomeAdvisor clients/members that adopt this will be more likely to continue working with HomeAdvisor for marketing and lead-gen. And a new group of prospects will be attracted to HomeAdvisor via Mhelpdesk.

Accordingly it helps with acquisition and retention. It’s much hard to displace a company that offers a key operational tool or service that is used in the daily management of the business. That’s a much different proposition than a vendor who offers to deliver SEO, SEM or even reputation management.

Scheduling, broader CRM and payment processing are parallel services that similarly qualify under this analysis. These operational tools become differentiators for the providers that offer them. They can also support and supplement a package of pure marketing solutions.

SMB sales channels that hope to thrive and retain customers over the long term will seriously consider moving into these operational services as a complement to what they’re already doing. But you can’t offer the “bad version” however.

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2 Responses to “HomeAdvisor’s Mhelpdesk Buy Reflects SMB-Operations Push”

  1. George Saado says at

    I was actually a service magic member at one point and migrated to home advisor and got several leads through both entities but service magic had listed my business for all the marketers to call me and so they were not real leads and I think home advisor worked on that by hiding service providers’ information but that presented a major problem because there was no back link and no leads for the last year I was with home advisor, but I do have to hand it to the programmers there that they are creating some user friendly interface but for some reason, I was not able to utilize only with the help of support. Their phone system is terrible however because anyone can call and try out different account numbers and get leads from other service provider and not pay for them. As a service provider, I really wanted to work with home advisor because of wanting collaboration and I hope this move to buy Mhelpdesk would be beneficial to service providers like me without giving up security and leads to other competitors.

  2. www.advisorhunter.com says at

    Most of these lead generation companies are generating fake lead and providers are bidding for fake posting. If you read the review of these company, most of the service professionals are not happy because of this. 

    There is a new website launching soon. It’s called http://www.advisorhunter.com. It’s 100% transparent and it will charge only the valid leads from the winning provider. I encourage all of you to visit this site and try using it. Hope you will love using it. 

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