February 18, 2009, 12:00 AM

Sears sets up auction web site for home improvement services

Sears Holdings has launched ServiceLive.com, a beta site where homeowners can set their price for home improvements and repairs. The $10 posting fee will be waived during an introductory promotion through Feb. 28.

In a reversal of the traditional bidding process for home improvement and repair projects, Sears Holdings Corp. has launched ServiceLive.com, a beta online marketplace where homeowners can set their price for home improvements and repairs.

Homeowners first scan lists of pre-screened service providers then post project descriptions and what they are willing to pay. Once the project funds have been uploaded to their ServiceLive account, the project is routed to the selected service providers. The first provider to accept the terms electronically wins the project. When a project is completed to the user’s satisfaction, the user pays and rates the provider online.

“ServiceLive.com is going to change the way people hire services for their homes,” says George Coll, president of ServiceLive. “We have created a marketplace that puts the homeowner back in the driver’s seat by allowing them to name the terms and manage the process completely online. It benefits service providers as well by creating job opportunities and enabling speedy payment.”

ServiceLive was started in 2007 as a wholly owned Sears subsidiary. Sears spent a year recruiting and conducting background checks on service providers across the country, the company says, from craftspeople and home electronics pros to plumbers and computer experts.

Sears, No. 8 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, says thousands of approved providers are available through the online marketplace. A launch promotion will waive the $10 posting fee for all orders through Feb. 28.

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