Posted by: Timothy Ellis (The Tim)

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

34 responses to “Porch Launches Nationally Starting… NOW”

  1. Astro Kermit

    Congrats with the new job Tim!

    “Did you read about my new job last month and head over to Porch to try out the site, only to be disappointed when you were faced with nothing more than a sign-up teaser?”

    I remember that sign up teaser and signing up. I got no email letting me know of the upcoming launch. If it’ll open all at once, what was the point of the sign up teaser? It is kind of an odd way to launch??

    Having said that, this new service seems like Houzz. Could you share with us what makes Porch different?

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  2. doug

    haha when are you going public

    and the bubble is officially at its top

    Real Estate and scam internet sites all at ridiculously high levels
    anyone taken a look at the price of AMZN Z or LNKD lately all three are way way overvalued

    its no longer a matter of if its WHEN

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  3. Astro Kermit

    Thanks for the preview Tim, that really sounds exciting.

    Especially on the front to educate/ empower users (like what Redfin does).

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  4. Erik

    When I look for a contractor, I look for an ad on craigslist under “Skill’d Trade.” I hunt for someone that has a poorly worded ad because they don’t need professional skills to be good at their trade. I like when their ad says they are affordable or indicate they may be hard up for work. These people will usually be the best value. They often charge less or are out of work for the moment and will do work for cheap. The best value contractors in my experience are out of work at the moment or are semi retired and just do it for a little extra cash. I would use Porch if I thought I could get a better deal than craigslist, but my senses tell me free advertisements will remain the best value.

    If I am wrong, I would use Porch for sure. It would be nice if they listed their rate so I could compare. If they are cheaper, I would use them on my next remodel. Every extra dollar I pay a contractor is one less dollar in my pocket.

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  5. Erik

    RE: doug @ 3
    Amazon is awesome. The other 2 sites are fun, but Amazon ships stuff to my place whenever I want it which is very convenient. It has cut my grocery store time down by a lot. I get to evaluate products based on the input of people that have ordered it. If I don’t like what I ordered, I just send it back for free. I order toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towel, rugs, etc. I think it’s a great site. I even ordered tools for my last remodel on their. For my next remodel, I am going to try and order more stuff from Amazon. It ships to my house and I will just install it. Going to the hardware store everytime I need something is half the battle. I plan to cut out going to the hardware store by ordering things from Amazon.

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  6. 3rd Generation

    Cash your paychecks immediately upon receipt.

    Keep your resume up to date.

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  7. David Losh

    RE: The Tim @ 2

    OK, where do I sign up?

    We offer the most cost effective home improvement in the industry.

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  8. David Losh

    RE: The Tim @ 9

    OK, I signed up for a free profile, but was put off with the $35 a month fee, which I declined.

    I could go on for hours about the disappointment of online advertising through sites like Yelp, or Angie’s List. Facebook has a new feature which allows us to pick a price for exposure of a FaceBook post. That actually worked, and it was pretty darn reasonably priced.

    It will be interesting to see how this site develops.

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  9. redmondjp

    By 3rd Generation @ 7:

    Cash your paychecks immediately upon receipt.

    Keep your resume up to date.

    Good advice no matter where you work these days, but especially at a startup (key metrics: cash burn rate and # of months until cash runs out).

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  10. Blurtman

    Hope you are thinking ahead to the next job. Startups are extremely risky. Hope you make a ton on your options. Tallyho!

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  11. Andrew

    Congratulations with the launch! Hope you’ll now will be busy fixing usability issues and bugs……

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  12. David Losh

    RE: Andrew @ 13

    Exactly, I spent a little time with the site today, and it is buggy.

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  13. Pegasus

    This self-serving article about your new place of employment has exactly what to do with real estate in the Seattle area? Nothing! I thought so. Congrats on your new work place but please spare us from all of the irrelevant self-promotions.

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  14. David B.

    RE: Blurtman @ 12 – Startups are “extremely risky” mostly for the venture capitalists investing in them. If you work for one, once your pay is deposited in your account[1], it’s yours, for good. Once the pay stops coming, leave.[2]

    What’s most important when working for a startup is to squirrel away rainy day money to tide you over in case your job suddenly evaporates. That’s not hard to do on a software geek’s salary, if one has any financial discipline at all.

    [1] Electronically deposited, of course. Who uses paper paychecks in this day and age?
    [2] That typically happens automatically, as they usually lay you off at the same time they stop paying you.

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  15. McGrath

    This post was perfectly timed for me, as I need a repair person/remodeler for one of our rental houses in Bremerton. Am looking forward to seeing the Porch site expand and more project photos from the individual businesses.

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  16. Blurtman

    RE: David B. @ 16 – I’ve worked at start-ups. Venture capitalists are well rewarded for risk taking. Employees are not. Don’t be the bagholder footman. Know what the risks are, and know what you are trying to gain. And don’t equate the unbridled enthusiasm of the founders for future business success. As an employee at a start-up, you are being sold to. Recognize the Kool Aid, and pretend to drink from it, but keep your eyes open, and the next move at hand.

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  17. Macro Investor

    RE: The Tim @ 2

    Tim, I still don’t understand how this works or helps the consumer. I see a map with projects listed. Presumably it could only be projects where the consumer or professional chose to post their data. Maybe you can share some details at some point.

    Let’s say I have a project in mind. Do I look at the map near my home and find something similar? That doesn’t seem like a very good use of my time. How does “being in my neighborhood” correlate with “good work” or “good value”? I’d much rather see a search function, where I input the project type and zip code and get back a list of vendors. Maybe they could bid on the project online, based on the details I provide.

    Also — just curious. Why did you leave Redfin? Were they going a direction you didn’t agree with? You mentioned several times about how convenient your bus commute was. I was surprised you left so soon.

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  18. Jonness

    RE: The Tim @ 1
    – Tim:

    Best wishes on your new venture. :)

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  19. Jonness

    By Macro Investor @ 20:

    Tim, I still don’t understand how this works or helps the consumer. I see a map with projects listed. Presumably it could only be projects where the consumer or professional chose to post their data. Maybe you can share some details at some point.

    Correct me if I’m wrong. At it’s core, Porch is like a yellow pages for contractors that is indexed by location. Since it’s in electronic format, you can refine your search to a particular project type within a particular area.

    The business model is, contractors will pay to advertise for premium services. In order to drive the model, enough consumers need to use the site so that the contractors can justify the expense of advertising. To entice consumers to use the site, Porch will provide a bunch of extras like articles, ideas, prices of other similar projects, etc.

    So next time you need to hire a contractor, instead of looking in the Yellow Pages, you go to Porch and do an electronic search to get names, ideas, opinions, ballpark estimates, etc. Once the work has been done, you can provide feedback on the contractor you used, and this will prove to be helpful to other users.

    In the initial roll-out form, the site will have limited usefulness, but as it matures and continues to collect data, it’s usefulness will grow. If it grows enough, Tim gets rich on stock options. Otherwise, he bags it and shops his resume or ventures off into his own startup business doing something else.

    Of course, Tim will argue that Porch is more than a Yellow Pages and that it’s a “network for home improvement.” IOW, homeowners post their projects. That’s true, and it will help the site have more appeal. But the money appears to be coming from contractors advertising their services.

    I’d much rather see a search function, where I input the project type and zip code and get back a list of vendors.

    The exact function you describe is there. Just click on the “Find a Pro” tab.

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  20. Dave0

    I live on a sailboat, and I would love to see something like this for live-aboards. In the two years we’ve lived here, we’ve been screwed multiple times by people we thought were professionals, but ended up just being some confident guy on the dock that does poor work. The few reliable professionals we have found cost an arm and a leg. For example, a few months ago we swapped out our electric stove for a gimbaled propane stove, and it cost us around $4,000 (not including the stove itself).

    I know this is a long shot, but it would be awesome to see Porch.com have a category for boat contractors.

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  21. wreckingbull

    I could not quite figure this out from looking at the site, Tim.

    I just did a big project on my place that involved subbing out to a local millwork operation for architectural pieces. As a customer, is there any way I can give them credit for a job well-done, or do they have to sign up for your service themselves?

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  22. David Losh

    RE: Pegasus @ 15

    Let me help you out with the math that I did many years ago.

    A commission on a $400K house is $12K for the selling side.

    In the world of remuddling $12K is a drop in the bucket, and you probably have the client for a five year period.

    They tell two friends, who tell two friends, and you’re into the big money, as long as you perform even reasonably well.

    The real problem with contractors, the same as with Real Estate agents, is that so many people have started in the business recently, some at very cheap prices, some wildly expensive, that it is very hard to tell who is good.

    Will this site fix any of that? Probably not, but it is a bigger money maker than Real Estate sales, from my experience.

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  23. David B.

    RE: Blurtman @ 18 – I’ve worked at startups, too, and am in fact working at one presently. News flash: I’m well aware that most startups end up failing.

    It’s not as if there’s only downsides. On the plus side, startups tend to be less bureaucratic and offer one more variety in what sort of projects one works on. If those advantages do not outweigh the risks for you, you are free to not work at startups.

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  24. softwarengineer

    RE: The Tim @ 19

    Yes Tim

    Even new homes aren’t turn key, the buyers will often change and decorate them to their heart’s content.

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  25. wreckingbull

    RE: David Losh @ 26 – Just getting a contractor to call you back weeds out about half of them. Many people enter this business because they are not capable of doing much else. Not saying the line of work is easy or does not require skill and experience. Just gives the talented, responsible ones more opportunity to succeed, though.

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  26. redmondjp

    RE: wreckingbull @ 29 – That experience (not getting any calls returned from contractors) seems to be the norm rather than the exception, from my own experience and from that of the people I know. The good contractors have more work than they can handle, and can be more picky about the type of jobs that they want to do.

    I just attempted to get our (private) cul-de-sac repaved, and despite repeated messages left at the paving contractor’s office, I never did get a return call after my initial inquiry. Oh well . . .

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  27. Christy

    I actually find Porch kind of creepy. I sure as **** do not want anyone to be able to see the interior of my house remodeled. It feels like an invasion of privacy and we are not even tagged for having done any work. But then again I’m not a fan of Facebook for similar reasons so maybe I’m not the target market.

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  28. David B.

    RE: softwarengineer @ 28 – It’s always been that way. It’s one of the advantages of owning one’s home, after all: it belongs to you and you are free to customize it the way you want.

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  29. Lanny Poffo

    Congrats on the new gig Tim – I hope it becomes a successful venture. I understand that the starup is very much in the launch phase, and functionality will be added, but I did want to provide a bit of end-user feedback which I hope you find helpful.

    As a homeowner, I’m looking at the site and thinking how I would use it. For example, I want to build a fence. That is my next home improvement project. What would be ideal is I can find a list of fence projects in my area and cost associated with the respective projects. That way I can figure out what I should be paying for the fence I want to build. Then, I would want to get a list of quality contractors that do good work in my area. Now I can match my demand with their supply.

    At this point, I can’t figure out how to do that with Porch. Hopefully that is the vision because it would be very helpful for Homeowers if it comes to fruition!

    -L

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  30. Jillayne Schlicke

    From the perspective of a super busy working mom and homeowner I TOTALLY need a site like this. I have hired contractors for quick sheetrock repair, a new fence along a dangerous drop off, exterior house painting and a certified arborist. I can’t even remember the last decade in which I used a “yellow pages” and will definitely go here next year for help. I would love one site that specifically targets home maintenance and repair. Who did I call when I first purchased my home 12 years ago for a recommendation on an arborist? My Realtor. Am I still using that arborist? No.

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