From home cleaning to handyman services, Handy matches thousands of customers every week with trusted professionals in cities around the world.
Handy’s co-founder Oisin Hanrahan, after observing the successful operation of other on-demand marketplaces, wondered how to export the concept to other industries. While living in Boston, he hit upon the idea of connecting home and apartment dwellers with verified home professionals for cleaning and handiwork.
Handy was built to extend on-demand services to the home—as successfully demonstrated by Uber in the car ride industry. Although hailing a cab can be painful at times, finding a housecleaner or handyman can be a nightmare. One normally gets a list of providers from friends and online services such as Craigslist and Yelp. Then consumers start making phone calls and reference checks and finally end with, “I’ll be there sometime between 1–4 pm on Tuesday. And I only take cash.”
Handy tackled the problem head-on, connecting consumers with professionals that are pre-validated and rated for particular skills. When a consumer makes an online request for a service, Handy uses its database of vendors to find the one best qualified and most likely to be available. For the apartment dweller or homeowner, the time it takes to request, book, and confirm an appointment is 60 seconds. For the professional providing the service, it’s an ideal world, as they can pick one or more jobs from those offered and plan their workday—all without advertising or marketing.
Here’s how the connection works: when a consumer requests a service, Handy finds the best professional for the job. Handy uses a Twilio-powered SMS solution to efficiently communicate with the professional, regardless of phone type, data plan, and other limiting factors, utilizing a mobile app. Handy closes the deal with a confirmed appointment, credit card payment, and insurance.
Handy’s secret sauce is connecting the two parties without getting in the middle. The consumer and vendor can get in touch with each other to exchange addresses and particulars about a job, without having to worry about exposing their permanent phone numbers.
Within two years of launch, Handy expanded nationwide. Twilio has been there from the beginning, connecting customers to service providers in less than 60 seconds.
Twilio makes connecting consumers with professionals an easy process that uses local numbers instead of 800 phone numbers. Twilio's self-provisioning process for purchasing phone numbers made purchasing numbers a breeze for Handy. Thanks to Twilio, Handy reported a 50% increase in pickups.
Handy chose Twilio as its technology partner from the very beginning, using more Twilio features as it went along. “No other vendor had the simplicity of APIs or the reputation for handling large scale consumer services,” said On Freund, VP of engineering at Handy. “The point of the cloud is to do more, faster. Working with Twilio gave us more customer contact with faster time to market.” Handy was able to reduce time-to-market by 25% with Twilio, according to Freund.
No other vendor had the simplicity of APIs or the reputation for handling large-scale consumer services.
Handy’s web interface and smartphone app, both developed in Ruby, use Twilio’s SMS API to send and receive messages. In addition, Twilio’s voice APIs were used to purchase and release phone numbers.
With Twilio SMS’s addition of multimedia, Handy is considering adding photo exchanges, opening up a powerful communication channel between consumers and professionals. With multimedia messaging capabilities powered by Twilio, professionals can send photos directly to consumers, showing the progress of current projects.
“The point of the cloud is to do more, faster. Working with Twilio gave us just that—more customer contact with faster time to market,” said Freund.