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We’ve seen 'incredible resurgence in demand’: HomeAdvisor & Angie's List CEO

HomeAdvisor & Angie's List CEO Brandon Ridenour joins Yahoo Finance’s Zack Guzman to discuss why he signed a letter with over 100 other CEOs pushing lawmakers for additional COVID-19 relief for small businesses, along with the outlook on home improvement projects amid COVID-19.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: I want to discuss something we discussed earlier in the week on the show when we talk about more pressure being applied to Congress to pass something quickly. Again, talks continuing between Republicans and Democrats. But on that front, we saw a letter come through from some big name CEOs-- alongside Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Starbucks founder Howard Schultz signing this letter as well as our next guest, to really help small businesses out there. You can make the case that he works a little bit closer with all these small businesses. Brandon Ridenour is HomeAdvisor and Angie's List CEO, and he joins us now.

And Brandon, I mean, when we talk about this, clearly, you have insight into how small businesses are faring in all this through you guys' platforms. What are you seeing out there in terms of how they're navigating this and why right now they can't really wait for more aid to come through?

BRANDON RIDENOUR: Well, you know, we certainly have our finger on the pulse of the home services industry, and it's comprised of millions of businesses, very small businesses, oftentimes what you might call micro-businesses. And they have been through an absolute roller coaster ride. Obviously, in the early days of the pandemic, there was an enormous disruption, in terms of consumer demand. Many businesses actually suspended operations. There were lockdowns across most states where often it wasn't clear for these businesses whether they were permitted to continue operating.

So they've gone through a lot. And then following that, we've seen the exact opposite, which is this incredible focus on the home, as everyone shelters in place and spends a lot more time at home. And we've now seen an incredible resurgence in demand, so almost from the depths of an unbelievable demand crash to now this boom around home services, home improvement.

The issue we're finding and why it's so imperative that these small businesses get help is that they continue to struggle with supply chain issues, with issues around workforce, with issues around, you know, putting people into homes safely, getting access to PPE. So these businesses are small. They operate with, you know, cash flow that is relatively thin, and we need to help them sustain through this disruption. Because as a country and as an industry, we can't afford to see these folks go out of business.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, when we talk about that too, I mean, obviously, we've seen a lot of come through here when those businesses are working with employees that might have been furloughed here, as we're talking about this pandemic impacting all kinds of different sectors. But when we think about that and how much the discussion has kind of been around whether or not people might be making more or less on the job or off the job, I mean, I'm not sure necessarily how much of that slowdown, when you talk to these small businesses, might have been impacted by that, if at all, if that's something you're hearing.

BRANDON RIDENOUR: Well, absolutely. Folks were thrown for a loop and pulled back on hiring and/or furloughed employees during the early stages of this. And if you had perfect foresight, you would've said, oh my god, I need to staff up because there's going to be so much demand. And we have heard reports that hiring is difficult. But I think it's a combination of on one hand, some companies are a little hesitant to staff back up because there is so much forward uncertainty.

And on the other hand, where they are trying to staff up, there is difficulty in hiring. And then lastly, you know, supply chain issues in many of these categories are a major issue, in terms of getting the right materials and products and equipment to do the work that they need to do. So it's really-- it's a combination of things at the moment.

ZACK GUZMAN: Let's talk more about the demand that you're speaking to here, in terms of people staying home. Obviously, if you're around the house, you might want to be one of those people out there who's making the home a little bit better, maybe a little bit showier. What are you seeing in terms of demand on that home front? Because we've seen a lot-- I mean, Wayfair is a perfect example here, one of the stocks tied to home furnishings. We've seen that stock up more than 220% here year to date. Your guys' stock is up about 80% here. I mean, what have you seen, in terms of demand out there for Americans if they are at home, what they want to do with them?

BRANDON RIDENOUR: Yeah, that's a great question. You know, who amongst us hasn't sat around their home during this period and thought about how they could make it better? This is almost a universal experience at the moment. And where we've really seen the surge in demand, you know, throughout the summer has been with outdoor services, people really making their backyards better. Pool installations are, you know, absolutely through the roof-- decks, landscaping.

And a lot of home services, quite frankly, are absolutely essential. They're not really discretionary. So if your AC breaks, you're going to get that fixed. I think where we've seen the least growth is sort of the big indoor projects around sort of big kitchen remodels. Those have been a little softer, as you would expect, given the, you know, nature of having somebody inside your home and people's fear around that.

So it's really been about outdoor services. And as we enter the fall and ultimately the winter, you know, this is another, I think, driving reason why we feel like it's imperative that we get vital support to these small businesses to ensure that they are able to last through this-- you know, this disruption.