Another new company is hoping to use the Internet to pair homeowners with contractors, hvacr technicians and other service professionals. Colorado-based lists almost 500 common home services, from window installation to home remodeling. The web site works by having consumers select the type of home service desired, then enter in his or her ZIP code to find contractors registered with ServiceMagic in the area.

The web site is programmed to ask visitors a series of qualifying questions such as the project's budget, size and time constraints to give the contractor as much information as possible and help meet the customer's needs. Within 24 hours, the customer is sent via e-mail a list of three qualified, licensed and pre-screened professionals who are able to start on the project immediately. The service is free to consumers.

Contractors, technicians and other professionals pay a $199 yearly fee to join ServiceMagic. A percentage of each completed job is also paid to the company. In return, ServiceMagic officials believe participating contractors and technicians receive steady, quality work from serious consumers.

"In today's tight labor market, service professionals are increasingly selective about the types of projects they can or want to bid on or accept," said Rodney Rice, co-CEO and co-founder of "ServiceMagic eliminates the guesswork by allowing service professionals to define their job preferences and accept only those leads that are right for their business."

As an added benefit, members of ServiceMagic are eligible for discounts on computers, Internet access, e-mail, a free company web site, customized insurance programs and more.

Check it out for yourself. Point your browser to or call 800-670-0082.

CBE launches redesigned web site

Construction Book Express recently debuted its new web site, which now features an easier product search engine. Visitors can look for a title via item or ISBN number as well as title and subject. Books on everything from estimating to design/build are available as well as software, videos and more. The site is secure, meaning you can safely enter in your credit card number without worrying that it will be viewed by a third party. Shipping and handling charges are calculated in advance so you know how much you'll be paying before you agree to the purchase.

Take a look. Go to

  • NIBCO Inc., a leading provider of flow-control products to residential and commercial construction and irrigation markets, has made its new Plastic Fittings Catalog available online. It includes information about general application plastic products as well as new technical information not available in previous editions. Pressure ratings, storage, handling and safety tips and more is included.

    "We wanted to make the new Plastic Fittings catalog readily available to our customers," explained Cathy King, product manager for general application plastics. "Our user-friendly web site is the best way to provide this information quickly, but hard copes of the Plastic Fittings catalog will still be available on request." Go to

  • Snips has redesigned its web site. Now you'll find it's easier to navigate, with better graphics and more articles, now available in their entirety. Let me know what you think. Check it out at and email me at

  • A special congratulations to Ted Mora, the winner of our recent online DeWalt Tool belt giveaway. Mora was one of several people who answered two questions about the November and December print editions of Snips successfully. His name was selected in a random drawing from all correct answers. Mora, a project manager at Climatemp Inc. in Chicago and member of SMWIA Local 73, said he doesn't enter contests very often. Well Ted, we're glad you made an exception for us. And thanks to everyone who entered.