Every middleman wants to get in on the action


Technology is the great equalizer – except for when it comes to trade services. Every middleman wants to get in on the action, which only increases the cost to the customer for a simple plumbing job and eats into the profits of an honest tradesman. We are here today with Omar Kharbat, Founder of Boots & Ladders, and he is going to share with us some shocking facts about the service industry. – Layla Kharbat

Layla: Can you explain what your company does?

Omar: Boots and ladders is a marketplace for home service. It connects homeowners with service contractors directly and does all the middle management in the background commission FREE.  

Layla: Why is this important?

Omar: People like to pay for things they want but hate to pay for things they need. Handymen don’t like to pay for advertisements, credit card transactions, bookkeeping… etc. Yet, homeowners are always looking to remodel, build, and renew.
In order for tradesmen to focus on work results, they need to be motivated by keeping their hard earned money as well as get recognized for their hard work.
The current set up of increasing paid ads and commission based middle management is dangerous to the future of workmanship and the quality of the work. Furthermore, some online sites are recommending non-qualified vendors which can be misleading to the users on what to expect when the service provider shows up to their door. Boots and ladders’ mission is to bring back word of mouth recommendation through its merit based marketplace.  

Layla: Can you put into perspective how big of a problem this is?

Omar: During my 27 years in the service business, our overhead cost us over 40% of our revenue before even showing up to the customer’s door (excluding supplies, labor, insurance, or tax expenses). Advertising websites like Home Advisor, Facebook and Google are costing advertisers an average of 28% of their revenue, an amount very close to contractor’s profit margins. In order for the advertiser to make money, they will have to cut costs, which is usually cutting time, which finally results in poor workmanship.  
Service contractors should only focus on getting the job done and getting paid without having to worry about learning a new software or spending time booking or collecting.

Layla: How are Boots & Ladders going to fix this problem?

Omar: At Boots and Ladders, we focus on two things – getting customers the best results possible and letting tradesmen keep their hard-earned cut. 

  1. Connecting locals commission free through our marketplace
  2. Making all middle management tools available for free to the seller, as well as the buyer, to take some of the job management load off the contractors. For example: booking and paying online
  3. Provide the opportunity for startup service entrepreneurs to get educated through our FREE library and online certification.
  4. Allowing buyers to buy additional insurance or finance a project.

We have a list of other features that we will release as technology allows it. Middle management automation can eliminate more than half of the contractors’ daily tasks.  

Layla: How do you make money?

Omar: Since making money from hard earned services is out, we found vendors like suppliers and insurance/finance companies would be happy to promote their product with us for a fee.

Layla: Why does this matter to a listener in Wilmington who wonders how this is relevant to their life?

Omar: The service industry should be fueled by work results and not advertisements. Word of mouth has been the method that worked in the past. In recent years, especially with the pandemic, social media has taken over along with induced paid ads causing uncertainty, lost opportunities, and unfairness.

Layla: How can someone get involved?

Omar: At Boots and Ladders, we are building a dashboard that will allow contractors to set up their business quickly and free of charge. It will also allow users to search nearby services, book appointments, and pay online.

  1. You can help your service contractors by letting them know about us. Some of the best handymen are not so tech savvy and can use some help signing up. You can help them sign up and post their service from your phone in under ten minutes.
  2. This app is designed to display the nearest, best match first. Next time you need some work done, avoid phone tags and try to book online. You can avoid many surprises by being thorough in describing the work you need done. The online appointment will allow you to upload images, view contractors credentials and download documents such as insurance proof or tax forms.

In order “To Thrill Every User With On Time Response and Outstanding Results at a Fair Price,” we are going to need your involvement in helping locals connect for the work ahead.

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