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How Did the Fixxbook Contractor Directory Evolve from ServiceChannel?

by Eric Schechter   May 21, 2012

Fixxbook, Contractor Management, Company

Having spent over 25 years in the world of facilities management, I’ve learned a thing or two about working for national retail chains, as well as operating large service companies. There's always been the challenge of national chains finding good quality service providers and getting good quality service providers in front of these national chains; connecting them. There really wasn't a vehicle to connect them in existence, ever.

There are lots of different ways that service companies would market themselves in tradeshows and magazines, in email marketing, and even in letters. The national chains would become members of associations. And so, a lot of effort and a lot of money went in for the buyers and sellers to connect. That's existed forever.

In speaking of ServiceChannel and Fixxbook, our software helps multi-site operators and contractors by improving the efficiency of facilities management. This extends to the restaurant industry, retail industry, or any other corporate entity that has multiple sites spread out over a large geographic area and needs to manage the repair and maintenance.

The Evolution of ServiceChannel

ServiceChannel started over 10 years ago out of necessity – specifically because chains were expanding exponentially. Back in the day, late 90s, chains were growing rapidly. I was with Blockbuster between '97 & 2000, and one year we opened 500 new stores. We were opening almost two stores a day!

There was huge, rapid growth in the retail and restaurant industries back then, which led to the challenge of maintaining all those new locations. Based on the fact that the industry was growing, a solution evolved: ServiceChannel provided a software solution – Service Automation – where a corporate office could connect with all their field locations and all the service providers and all work on one platform. 

At the beginning, the Internet wasn't a reliable tool, so this work was all done over the phone. Over the years, the ServiceChannel software developed into a very robust leader in the industry for multi-site repair and maintenance management. Today, our software services over 220,000 locations, with over $30 billion processed.

The Service Automation system was the first piece of the puzzle, helping us answer frequent repair and maintenance questions:

  • How do we know what's happening out in the field?
  • How do we know what's being repaired?
  • Is it under warranty?
  • Should we buy a new one?
  • Should we fix it?
  • How much money are we spending?
  • Why are we spending more money on these stores than other stores?

The Service Automation system captures all this data, giving operators insight into how they can better manage their fleet of facilities more economically and to a higher standard.

The Need for Fixxbook

Life was good, and everything was fine. Then, operators started asking us for contractor recommendations. Simultaneously, we were getting calls from contractors asking how to get hired by specific brands and companies.

We established Fixxbook as a way for service providers and property management people to meet. It was just a simple directory we threw up, with no real business model or intent other than to give the two parties that were using our software a platform to meet and connect.

It started gaining a lot of traction but that wasn't our core business: It wasn't part of our initial product roadmap to build Fixxbook into what it is today. It was just out of necessity that we put it together.

Ultimately, it evolved into what it is today – a robust sourcing, credentialing, and monitoring software tool. But we didn't think this up. We didn't sit in a room and say: “How can we make it more difficult for these companies to get together, to meet each other? How can we make this software require so much more information than your name, email, phone number and what do you do? What caused Fixxbook to evolve to what it is today is just that. Evolution.

Eric Schechter
President, Fixxbook
eschechter@servicechannel.com

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