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Yelp Study: Hiring During A Pandemic

Yelp finds 1 in 4 people think hiring a professional during the pandemic is scarier than a first date.

Halloween might be cancelled, but that doesn’t mean that Americans aren’t still spooked. In a survey conducted by Yelp, 50% of Americans – over 123 million* – agree that the process of finding a professional to repair or replace something in their home is scary.

Of those, 28% believe it is scarier than going to the dentist for a root canal, and 27% believe it’s scarier than going to a party or concert during the pandemic, and close to a quarter (24%) of unmarried Americans believe the process is scarier than dating during the pandemic.

With 126 million* Americans saying they are spending more time at home than ever before in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are turning their attention to their homes and looking for ways to improve their space:

  • Over a quarter say there’s at least one home project they’ve completed (28%) or want to complete (28%)

  • Others (31%) have noticed at least one issue in their home that needs to be addressed

  • 39% worried that they were overpaying because they didn’t know what the going rates were among other professionals in their area

Starting August 18, Yelp is rolling out updates to its Request-a-Quote feature to reinvent the hiring process for home professionals like plumbers, landscapers, contractors and interior designers.

Given that of the 71% of Americans who have hired a professional to fix something in their home in the past, Yelp is building on the success of Request-A-Quote and introducing:

  • Updated questionnaires: When a consumer begins the hiring process by requesting a quote, appointment or consultation, Yelp will ask a handful of tailored questions to help better describe their project or task.

  • 100 categories: The improved questionnaires are now live across nearly 60 additional business categories and will be rolling out to 100 total in the coming months - florists to pool cleaners to home cleaning.

  • Scheduling with ease: To save consumers and businesses time and make scheduling more efficient, businesses can now easily share the days and times they are available for a consultation or appointment. With a tap of a button, consumers can then quickly confirm the option that works best for them, then easily add their upcoming appointment to their mobile device’s calendar.

Yelp has seen about 20 million users looking for a service professional each week, with interest rising for…

  • Pool installation (398%)

  • Swing sets (220%)

  • Outdoor decks (170%)

  • Gardens (78%)

  • Firepits (44%)

  • Wallpaper (42%)

(Since April 1st, compared to the same time period last year. )

*Extrapolated from 246,324,983 Americans aged 18+ (Source: U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey 2018)

10 Ways to Make Sure You’re Hiring the Best Home Pro, According to Yelp's Home & Local Product Lead

  1. Compare Quotes: Get quotes from three to five service providers. This will help you get a sense of how wide the price range is and if you’re getting a reasonable price for the work.

  2. Look at past projects. After getting your quotes, look at the vendor’s previous work and projects. The best way to do that is by asking for pictures and portfolios of past projects, and you can also find these on the business’s page.

  3. Make sure they’re licensed. For many service industries, state regulations require businesses to be licensed. To help put your mind at ease, alongside the reviews and photos you already rely on, look out for a Verified License badge for businesses or ask your services pro for a copy of their license.

  4. Look at the negative reviews. Good reviews are incredibly helpful, but make sure you’re not glossing over the criticisms. You’ll be able to make a more informed decision when you can understand why someone may have had a bad experience with the home pro. Try sorting the reviews by date to see reviews of their most recent projects.

  5. Read the businesses’ responses to their reviews. A business's response to their reviews can tell you a lot about the type of customer service you’re going to receive. In short, it’s a good sign if a business is eager to understand where they fell short.

  6. Look for “Virtual Consultations”: Many pros are now offering virtual consultations to get your estimate while allowing you to stay safe at a distance. You’ll avoid the hassle of having to schedule multiple pros to do in-person consultations. Limiting face-to-face interaction helps keep you safe and saves you time!

  7. Check their safety precautions. Make sure you know how they’re operating during COVID-19. Are they wearing masks, sanitizing work areas or requiring customers to wear masks? The more you know in advance, the more comfortable you’ll feel during the scheduled service. This is also something to keep a look out for in reviews!

  8. Pay attention to response time and response rate. If you have a time sensitive issue, look for businesses with a response rate of around 10 minutes to an hour. Their response rate and time is displayed on their business page, as well as on search. With Yelp’s new Scheduling and Questionnaire features, you can have your service booked in a matter of minutes.

  9. Read the “About Us”: Home projects can be a big investment, and you’ll likely feel more confident if you know who you’re working with and a little about their professional history.

  10. Look for discounts: You may not think to ask about discounts for home repairs and updates, but you’d be surprised by the amount of deals out there. A lot of businesses highlight deals for first-time clients, military service members, and more.

“When booking your next home service or consultation, look for images of the businesses past projects, compare quotes from multiple professionals to make sure you’re getting a good price, and find out if they’re taking any safety precautions due to COVID-19. Home updates and repairs are big investments, so doing your research is key,” says Yue Wu, Yelp’s Home and Local Product Lead. “Our new features simplify the process of looking for your next home pro, streamline communications, and make it easy to book your service with the tap of a finger.”

To learn more about this process, watch this video.


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