Network Links Homeowners,Trade Pros

Network Links Homeowners,Trade Pros

Rutland, VT Home improvement, building and other trade professionals, including kitchen and bath designers, are an integral component of a new nationwide network aimed at linking trade professionals with consumers, while providing a series of benefits to members.

The network, launched nationwide late last year, is known as The Home Service Store (HSS), and is being promoted as "the fastest-growing and most comprehensive home and business improvement service of its kind."

The venture was launched as a strategic initiative of the largest electric utility in Vermont the Rutland, VT-based Central Vermont Public Service Corp. which said it is attempting to diversify its efforts, and capitalize on the lucrative national home improvement market.

According to HSS president Douglas Sinclair, the network is aimed at connecting a wide range of "top-quality trade affiliates" including architects, remodelers, kitchen and bath professionals, general contractors, and related industry professionals with customers in need of home or office improvements.

"Linking up with HSS will enable trade affiliates to grow their businesses by 30% or more without the hassle and expense of advertising or soliciting new customers," Sinclair said. "HSS is a lot more than just a matching or referral service. It is a national network of home-improvement trade professionals entrepreneurs who want to grow their business while reducing their prospecting and advertising costs."

Apart from matching HSS members with potential new customers, the service provides members with group rates on health, property and liability insurance; payroll, pension and legal services; advertising and marketing support, and centralized invoice processing.

Consumers, who pay a flat annual fee for the service, are guaranteed "top-quality craftsmanship,"24-hour emergency service, free estimates, competitive pricing and additional benefits. Affiliate fees to HSS, which go toward administering and marketing the system, vary with the size and scope of each job obtained through the referral service, HSS officials said.

According to Sinclair, HSS is currently serving homeowners in 14 major metropolitan markets in the U.S., and will be available in 50 markets by this spring. HSS, added Sinclair, has a marketing agreement with SAM's Club the nation's largest membership warehouse club to provide home improvement services to its new level of national membership, SAM's Club Elite. HSS is also developing other marketing relationships of a similar nature, Sinclair said.

"These marketing agreements quickly build consumer awareness of the HSS brand," said Sinclair. "Because HSS services are offered in association with well-known and trusted companies, we're afforded instant credibility.

"The potential of these marketing relationships is far-reaching, and we continue to aggressively pursue new relationship opportunities."