Provo—Self-employed freelancers and the consumers who need their services could find a home in a brand-new marketplace. Free for all users, 99Artisans launched in October and in about a week will roll out local services in the five most populous cities in each state in the U.S., founder and CEO Priya Jupudi said.
“We are focusing on increasing memberships in those cities,” Jupudi said, adding that the company will expand to smaller cities as it grows. “We’re very excited to anchor 99Artisans in major cities in every state in the country.”
She noted that the U.S. has millions of self-employed service entrepreneurs. A small startup company, 99Artisans aims to match up service providers with customers in a welcoming atmosphere that supports sustainable job creation. Unlike its competitors, 99Artisans is a truly free marketplace, said Jupudi, a homemaker-turned-entrepreneur who launched the company in October 2015. Jupudi, who holds a Master of Business Administration in marketing, is from India and has two young children.
“It’s totally free and we’re not charging a dime to use it,” she said. The company will in the future be offering some premium extras as well, such as assisted hiring and higher visibility in search results, but they will not be necessary in order to use the essential core services.
There are four ways to use the service:
- As a professional offering services.
- As a professional bidding on projects posted by customers.
- As a customer offering projects for professionals to bid on.
- As a customer who accepts services offered by a professional.
People signing up with 99Artisans as service providers, instructors or artists can offer their services in categories such as Home Improvement, Home Services, Lessons & Classes, Parties & Events, Online Jobs, Creative Work, and Other, or look for projects posted by customers. Member reviews help keep other members informed about the quality of work provided. Customers can create projects, choose professionals who look promising, and wait for competitive bids to start coming in, or they can search for services offered by professionals.
“Our vision is to make it super easy to find new opportunities, empower professionals to earn a stable, healthy income through dignified work, and break the cycle of poverty through sustainable job creation,” Jupudi said. “99Artisans aspires to make hiring a professional super easy and straightforward.”
Jupudi points out that major competitors for 99Artisans all charge for basic services, whether by requiring membership fees, selling credits to use to send quotes to customers, charging service fees, or using a points system based on purchases. 99Artisans gives customers and professionals opportunities to work together without restrictions and without fees, Jupudi said. This makes the company the most economic choice, she said, whether the user is a customer who wants an office painted or a contractor offering dog grooming services.
“At 99Artisans we match professionals with people,” she said. “In this economy where automation is taking away jobs, we are using technology to help create jobs and striving to make a positive impact on society and hard-working individuals. Our motive is simplification. 99Artisans is all about convenience, choice and cost effectiveness.”