How do YOU find home service providers today? If you’re anything like the majority of the population, you probably use traditional methods: an advert for a carpet cleaner that you got on a street corner, a business card for an interior designer you met on the plane, the details of a multitude of electricians you found in the Yellow Pages, or even the thousands of Plumber Camden South that appeared on a Google search.

The problem with the traditional methods of finding home service providers is that you never know if the person you find will be someone you can TRUST. Which is why, in today’s world, it’s hard to find good home service providers.

Let’s look at this issue through the hypothetical situation of needing a plumber to fix a leaking pipe. To find a plumber today, your main avenues will probably be:

1. The Phone book.This will probably be your first port of call to find a plumber in your city. The problem with the phone book is the vast quantity of providers to choose from – you have no idea from a name and number who is likely to be the most effective (and this is assuming that the copy you have in your house is actually up-to-date.) Because paid-for adverts are more likely to catch your eye on a page of 100 unknown plumbers, you’ll probably be tempted to hire someone based on the effectiveness of their advertising. (This, sadly, is often NOT a good representation of their plumbing abilities.)

2. An Internet Search. For the more computer-literate, the first port of call will be an internet search for a plumber in your city. Again, the sheer magnitude of results will probably overwhelm you, leading you to choose either someone on the first page of search results, or someone with an attractive pay-per-click advert, again leading you to choose a plumber based on their advertising budget or SEO skills, and not on actual efficiency. (And what’s more, effective but small-scale companies without websites won’t even appear on internet searches.)

3. A Listing Site. Frustrated, you’ll probably try a listing site where the quantity of providers is slightly less, and you might even be able to do a suburb-specific search. However, having narrowed down your list of plumbers to 30, you still have no indication of which will be the most effective. You might decide to hire the plumber with the most attractive business name, or any other means of choosing someone at random.

4. A Lead Generation Site. Almost ready to give up, you’ll probably try a lead generation site, reluctantly agreeing to give out your contact details in the hope that the site will get the plumber you need to call YOU. The problem with this, as might be expected, is the fact that your number or email has been given out to a group of strangers, at the expense of your own privacy, and you STILL don’t know if the person who calls you up is someone you can trust.

5. Rating Sites. With a renewal of hope, your next attempt might be a listing site that provides service ratings of providers. Although seemingly promising, only a few sites provide these ratings, and the chances are very slim that you’ll know any of the people who have rated the plumber in question, which reduces the validity of the ratings.

6. Asking your friends. (Perhaps this is where you’d go first, before trying any of the above.) This is one method that is actually effective – by dropping a friend an email or text message, or posting a status update on Facebook, you can ask your friends if they know of any plumbers that they’d recommend. This way, you have a great chance of finding a plumber that is efficient, having effectively narrowed down the choices to 2 or 3 that your friends have used and trust. However, this method has its limitations – you can’t keep bothering your friends every time you need a home service provider.

So clearly, a new solution to finding efficient home service providers is necessary – one that uses the concept of asking your friends for recommendations in a way that is simple, convenient and easy-to-use.