St Albans is basically where people go when they leave London to have children.
You only have to walk around the city centre to notice that the number of people pushing prams or buggies is far higher than elsewhere in the country, and the excellent state schools, large number of parks and green spaces and the quick commute into central London are obvious reasons for that being the case. As a result of this, Facebook is full of local parenting groups with one popular Mums group having over eight and a half thousand members. On there discussions range from how wonderful Derek’s nipple cream is (I should add that Derek is a local chemist!) through to how many local mums fancy the local Amazon delivery man!
As well as providing the light relief that many mums can need during the daytime, it is also a very valuable source of information for recommendations for various services locally. I’ve seen requests for someone to come and do a manicure that evening, recommendations for a children’s piano teacher and plumbers and electricians.
With the summer weather at the moment a very popular request is for someone who can take group portraits at various family gatherings from christenings to garden parties. It’s something I’ve seen asked for loads of time, especially when people want photos including their newborn child. I’ve lived in St Albans for long enough now to know the names of the couple of people that are most often recommended on there, even though I’ve never had a family photo session myself, but without that Facebook group I don’t think I’d know where to start looking. That’s why I was so intrigued to try out Bidvine when I was asked to review the site.
The idea behind Bidvine is that potential customers can go on the site to look for someone local to provide a service to them. They start off by entering the service that they are looking for and their postcode into the site.
This is then followed up with some service specific questions. In the case of group portrait photography this involved questions about how many people you wanted to be in the photos, the format in which you wanted to receive the photos and whether or not you were wanting outdoor candid photos or a formal studio set.
The logic behind these questions on Bidvine is so that the person providing the service that you are looking for can tailor their bid (or offer) to you, and make sure that they are actually offering the service that you are after. So, in the case of a plumber you might be asked initially if you have burst or leaking pipes, or a problem with your heating or gas supply.
Your job request is then sent to trusted local professionals via the Bidvine system. The professionals do not get your email address or any other personal information other than the rough area in which you live. They then have 4 days to respond to your request with a bid for the work. The way Bidvine works is that the professionals pay a small fee to Bidvine for each bid that they make. This means that they only respond if they really want the work and spend time getting their bit right.
For me as a service user, it is the fact that the service providers want to get their bids right that differentiated Bidvine from other websites. To state what may sound like the obvious, the professionals on there are professionals. The detailed questions about the service that you are looking for means that you get people bidding for the work who can actually do it. Rather than just looking for a plumber and getting someone who is not Gas Safe, when what you really need is your gas boiler fixing. The process saves everyone time and makes sure you get the right people for the job.
I certainly know where I’ll be looking the next time I need someone for a job – Bidvine.
Disclaimer: This post was brought to you in collaboration with Bidvine.
Family Photoshoot image from Shutterstock.