Crowdsourcing: an online success story

We profile Australia’s largest tendering website, ServiceSeeking.com.au, co-founded by Jeremy Levitt (pictured), which has year-on-year revenue of 129 percent.

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More than ever, online pitching for business is on the rise. Known as crowdsourcing, it involves tradespeople and professionals bidding for work online.

One business leading the crowdsourcing revolution is ServiceSeeking.com.au, co-founded by former lawyer turned entrepreneur, Jeremy Levitt. It has become Australia’s largest tendering website, primarily for jobs in building, construction and household trades, such as plumbing, electrical services and concreting.

Launched in 2007, the company maintain market share by delivering more job leads to Australian businesses than any other similar service.

From idea to commercialisation

Levitt was working as a property lawyer at Allens Arthur Robinson when he noticed that firms were constantly quoting to win work through competitive tenders.

“Competition between law firms delivered a better deal for the client. It got me thinking that an online tendering platform for everything a person might need in their life might be a great idea,” recalls Levitt, the company’s CEO. “Within six months, my business partner and I launched ServiceSeeking.com.au, Australia’s first website to compare quotes and prices from local Australian businesses for any type of service.”

Guarding market share

Since going live, competition has heated up. Crowdsourcing and tendering websites have become more mainstream, but ServiceSeeking.com.au remains the biggest local services marketplace in Australia and maintains its position by partnering with online companies such as Realestate.com.au, RP Data and TrueLocal to drive job listings, business sign-ups and traffic.

Support line

The greatest ongoing challenge for an online business is maintaining customer support due to the increasing volume of enquiries. For ServiceSeeking.com.au, customer support runs seven days a week, 12 hours a day, with 35 staff members available to speak with customers. The company continually seeks customer feedback and changes the website to suit customers’ needs.

Going the distance

Many digital start-ups fizzle, so why did this one succeed? Careful planning and not over-extending with big ‘above the line’ marketing activities have been integral to its success.

Notes Levitt, “One of our largest competitors raised millions of dollars and spent it all on television and radio advertising, and they then ran out of money. We grew more organically and have focused our efforts on online marketing and SEO [search engine optimisation], and are now six times bigger than that competitor.”

Online alliances

“Reach out to your networks, including through LinkedIn and Facebook, and don’t be afraid to send an email or pick up the phone if you think someone can help you. If your idea’s sound and presents a win-win to your prospective trade partner, you’ll be surprised how many doors you can open”, encourages Levitt.

Find out more about serviceseeking.com.au.