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Dan’s lightbulb moment: Search led to business revolution

Bruce and Danial Ahchow ... Frustration led to their plan for an online interactive services marketplace.
Bruce and Danial Ahchow ... Frustration led to their plan for an online interactive services marketplace. Contributed

DANIAL Ahchow was looking for a cleaner. What he found was a revolutionary business model.

Danial was hunting extra sub-contractors for the family cleaning business and not having a lot of luck. Even when he managed to get hold of any, there was no way to check if they were reputable.

After many hours and wasted phone calls, he had a light-bulb moment that led to him and his father Bruce becoming pioneers in the interactive services marketplace (also known as "merchant matching").

"If you have a job that needs doing and the money to pay for it, then businesses should be chasing you, not the other way round," Danial said.

And so Service Central was born, an online marketplace in which people with a job for a tradie (or the need for another service) fill in an online form or make one phone call and then tradies come forward with quotes.

Since Service Central launched more than 10 years ago, several others have copied the concept.

But in Service Central's model, there is little fear of the competing businesses being less than reputable - there are simply too many barriers to poor quality.

Suppliers must have proof of an appropriate and current licence and ABN, and a certificate of currency for insurance. They must also comply with a customer service code of conduct.

The final arbiter of quality is customer feedback: Businesses must maintain a star rating of three out of five with Service Central customers or their registration is terminated.

As Bruce Ahchow says: "Over time, it's a case of 'if you're not registered on Service Central, what's wrong with your business?'."

The Ahchows, whose background is in regional Australia, have a keen focus on building their business in the regions.

"It's a better mechanism for business providers to present their wares and their value," Bruce Ahchow said. "And it's a better environment for consumers to be able to engage a quality service provider."

How you get the best tradie:

  1. Explain it once
    No ring-around. Say what you need done, on service or over the phone on 1300 557 917.
  2. They contact you
    Get up to three quotes from certified, licensed, insured and qualified businesses, often within minutes.
  3. You pick the best
    Use quotes, feedback and online profiles to select the right provider for you. And leave your own feedback.

For information on how to become a local Service Central member with CQ News, call 1300 136 181 (press 4) or email

Topics:  service-central-bi tradesmen tradespeople tradies

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