UberSquare.com will “officially launch” Wednesday after operating in friends and family mode since Mach.
The site lets people post projects they’re working on, such as a kitchen remodel. Then service providers can submit proposals do the work, similar to posting a comment on a blog.
Jenny Chan and Henry Tam started the site after having trouble finding a good hardwood floor installer. They’re married ex-Microsofties; she was formerly a senior financial analyst and he was a Virtual Earth development lead.
Their site also includes a social networking feature, of course. Users can create a group of friends or family and share referrals with them.
In an unusual move for such a small site, they’re using a micropayment system. Consumers can post projects for free, but service providers are charged credits to respond with a proposal. Credits cost from $1 to 67 cents depending on the purchase plan used.
To start, the site is focusing on the Northwest and will only extend from Portland to Vancouver, B.C.
It brings to mind Imandi.com, a well-funded “services marketplace” startup that flamed out in the dot-com bust.
Seattle-based Judysbook.com also has roots in service referral – it’s named after a book of preferred service providers kept by a founder’s mother-in-law — but it’s now primarily a deal-hunting shopping site duking it out with Mpire.com.
Chan’s announcement describes UberSquare as “eBay meets Craigslist” but maybe it’s community features will do a better job weeding out sketchy vendors.