Yelp introduced “Request a Quote” business messaging in 2016. In the interim, the company added capabilities and is now reintroducing it as a more full-featured lead-generation and business matching tool with appointment booking.
Yelp is also launching “Nearby Jobs” for local services businesses, which gives them the ability to access a flow of local leads a part of a $240 monthly subscription. Businesses can proactively reach out to interested consumers based on a feed of local projects and service requests.
On track to 100 business categories. More than 60 business categories now offer Request a Quote, featuring a newly revamped lead-gen questionnaire. That will grow to 100 in the near future, according to Yelp Product Lead Yue Wu. Those include auto repair, movers, photography, salons, pet groomers, realtors, child care, home services, professional services and contractors, among others.
More than 50% of Yelp’s revenue now comes from these local and home services categories. Many of these categories have been much healthier and active during the pandemic (e.g., contractors) compared to restaurants and bars, which have been suffering and closing permanently.
Request for Quote flow and questionnaire
Wu told me that roughly 45,000 businesses added Request a Quote each month in 2019. However, this year in June, “more than 900,000 projects were created for home and local service providers,” she explains in her blog post.
Request a Quote is free to claimed profiles and is turned on by default in applicable categories. Businesses can turn it off if they wish to.
The mechanics. Consumers can initiate Request a Quote from individual business profiles or from category search results (e.g., “free price estimates from local electricians”). They are then prompted to fill out a short questionnaire and post a job request without being required to select a particular service provider or vendor in advance.
In both contexts, the quote request will go to multiple businesses (up to 10) unless the consumer deselects bulk messaging. Some of the businesses receiving the leads are advertisers in the same business category.
The new questionnaire is intended to help consumers provide better and more specific information about their projects, but also to improve lead quality for the businesses themselves. Obviously, local lead-gen isn’t new and the product isn’t totally novel — HomeAdvisor offers a conceptually similar, though less consumer-friendly, product. It’s also somewhat reminiscent of RedBeacon, which was acquired years ago by HomeDepot and is now called Pro Referral.
Scheduling consultations or appointments
Once businesses respond to user job requests, the tool enables scheduling an appointment, consultation or on-site visit. It doesn’t require any booking software or calendar integration (although that’s available) on the local business side.
All part of Yelp’s differentiation strategy. In addition to the rollout of its updated business matchmaking and lead-gen tools, Yelp has been involved in a phased upgrade and refresh of its UI on the desktop, mobile web and mobile app.
All of this is part of the company’s effort to differentiate and give consumers and businesses clear reasons to use Yelp, which has felt increasing pressure as Google My Business profiles have added more reviews, content and transactional capabilities.
Wu says in the blog post that Yelp has “grown beyond” being just a discovery and review site and has evolved into “a one-stop local platform where people can communicate and transact with great local businesses.” That’s also the trajectory of Google and its local business profiles.
Why we care. Request a Quote and Nearby Jobs are free or low-cost tools to deliver qualified leads to local and home services providers. They also seek to simplify the process of hiring for the consumer.
Most local businesses prefer more tangible results to clicks and even calls in some cases. However, some business owners have complained that Yelp sends quote requests to competing businesses unless the consumer opts-out. Yelp asserts this is useful and consistent with consumer interests.
Regardless, Request a Quote and Nearby Jobs are part of a larger, ongoing effort by Yelp to deliver new products and services that provide simultaneous value to both consumers and business owners — and diversify away from advertising.