Can you plan your Wedding with Bark?

My wife reminded me the other day that it’s coming up to our 4th anniversary and I got to thinking how much easier planning a wedding would have been if Bark.com had existed.

I thought I’d take a look at the categories on Bark to ensure we have everything needed to ensure couple’s special day goes off without a hitch.

Wedding Catering

It’s vital to have the right catering for guests. Many may have travelled for hours to the venue, waited for the bride, sat through the ceremony, drank the welcome Champagne or Bucks Fizz and be starving by the time food is served. Often a round of canapés after the ceremony while the couple is having their pictures taken is a good idea, followed by the wedding breakfast and whether it’s buffet style or a 3 course silver service meal we can help you choose the best caterers from over 35,000 available.

Wedding Decorations

Often weddings will have a theme – mine was “red” but I’ve heard things like “Frozen”, “flowers” or even “Places we’ve been”. If you’re like me and have the creative flair of a mole then you may need a professional to help bring your vision to life. I’ve seen some fantastic examples at the weddings I’ve been to (I’m at that part of my life where it’s a few weddings every Summer) and some of them must have had professional decorating help from one of the 1500 Wedding Decorators or 1000+ Florists Bark can connect you with.

Wedding Bouquet, Wedding Flowers

Wedding Photographer & Videography

One of the best bits of advice given to me was not to scrimp on a wedding photographer and to do some test shoots to see who made you feel most comfortable and therefore got the best shots. I’m so glad we did as the photographer we ended up choosing was just awesome and we were so happy with the eventual pictures. If we ever have a renewal of vows party I’ll either use the same one again or choose from one of the 1000s of expert Wedding Photographers on Bark.

Increasingly couples are using videographers to capture the day and use it to send to relatives around the world who can’t be there in person or to keep for when you’re older to remind you of how slim you were once. Fortunately you can make sure you’re only captured from the best angle by choosing from one of almost 4000 Videographers Bark can connect you with.

Wedding Cakes

The centre piece of the Wedding Breakfast and generally cutting it is the cue to start dancing like a crazy family. Getting the right cake maker can cost a few hundred to a few thousand pounds, but it’s worth it for the intricate icing work and attention to detail you can get. Many cakes are then personalised to the couple – I recall one of my friends having the bride and groom figures in a Costa mug (where they met) and with my own Cake we’d secretly arranged for the colours of the Mauritian Flag to be layered through the top tier in honour of my wife’s family – quite a surprise when it was cut. Bark wasn’t around then so we found Magical Cakery through a friend but if Bark were around we’d have had a choice of over 500 wedding cake makers

Wedding Cake

Dance Lessons

I can’t dance – everyone knows it. That made it really awkward when I had to dance with my new bride in front of all my friends and family and ended up looking like a demented octopus. If this is you too you could either ensure the videographer’s gone home, ban videos and hope your friends and family have had too much of the wine you paid for to remember, or you could use Bark to get some dance lessons and come out looking awesome. If your wedding is very traditional you could even go for Ballroom Dance Lessons.

Wedding Band or DJ

Whether it’s a band for the ceremony, a classy String Quartet or an evening DJ for helping your family cast some shapes on the dance floor Bark can help find that too. As a little tip ensure you order an extra meal for the band members and the DJ – always makes them feel good, doesn’t cost too much, and you’ll get a better service from them too.

Wedding Planning

Bark can take the pain out of finding the best local wedding suppliers and leave you in control of coordinating the gig. If you want even that taken care of, and let’s face it there is a lot to do, then we can also find you a Wedding Planner from the 6000+ we have available.

And so much more

There’s so much more Bark can help with too from designing and printing the invitations to engraving the rings to hiring transport for the day – I’m exhausted just thinking about all the work I did for my wedding and wish Bark was around to do the leg work for me back then.

Wedding Car

What do you think? Have I missed anything off that helps make the perfect Wedding? Let us know.

Author: John Oberlin-Harris

Gardeners top the rankings at Bark.com this weekend

You don't always need to find a professional gardener

With June now upon us it’s the first week of summer already. Customers across the country are thinking about their gardens once more with gardening services the most searched for on Bark.com last weekend.

During the Spring planting season, which runs between March and May customer searches are focused on planting and garden design ideas with frequent trips to the garden centre to buy compost, fertiliser and gloves. By the end of May attention focuses on the RHS Chelsea flower show that gives everyone loads of ideas to copy with experts all wanting to show off their creations.

By June searches for garden furniture and BBQs rise as do searches for garden lighting – us Brits just love to enjoy a nice evening outside on the 2 days a year the weather is actually warm enough. Wimbledon, Pimms and Strawberries just make it even more enjoyable.

Whether it’s planting, weeding the grass, cutting the lawn or just clearing out the shed there is always something to do and whether your garden is big or small and it’s always nice to find a local gardener in your town or nearby who can help out.

Bark.com has a wide variety of professionals from handymen to gardeners to carpenters and even landscape garden designers who can help keep your garden looking great this summer, whether it’s a rooftop garden in London, a courtyard garden in Birmingham or a landscape garden in Glasgow. We even have suppliers of water feature and with the recent improvements to the site’s look and feel it’s now even quicker and easier to find the expert you need.

Why not create a Gardening Bark now to get some quotes for your garden from local specialists

Nick Hewer teams up with Bark

Following his recent exit from the Apprentice, Nick Hewer has been helping us get our message out there!

Nick’s produced a couple of videos for us in his own unique style – explaining to both buyers and sellers alike how to get the most out of Bark.

Nick, who has a background running his own PR firm, loves Bark and commented:

‘I’m really excited about working with Bark and am looking forward to the journey ahead’

Check out the videos here:

Hope you like them!

iMend is ‘killing it’ on Bark

iMend.com is a nationwide call-out mobile phone repair service. They send out a technician to the customer’s home or workplace who will fix the phone onsite, all from only £29.99. Customers love them and they often carry out repairs same day.

Bark has sent iMend 107 leads in just 3 weeks and they have converted around 20% of them into sales.

Sarah McConomy, Director at iMend, commented:

‘Bark is a great service, easy to use and we are very happy to be working with them’

Asked for advice to other businesses using Bark she commented:

‘We advise acting quickly and being prompt when you get an update or a new lead. Keep customer service in mind and you will be able to make the most of Bark and the leads you are sent’

Why Bark has to be free

Lead selling is a dirty business that might just be the second oldest profession.

In the good old days, someone looking to buy something might ask a friend for a recommendation. The friend would recommend a supplier he knows and would get something back in return – maybe a reciprocal recommendation to another customer or at least a pint of ale down the pub. The friend making the recommendation would not make it lightly and would consider it a matter of personal honour that his recommendation must do a good job and he’d feel responsible if he didn’t.

Fast forward to today and we have ‘trusted’ marketplaces popping up all over the place. Someone looking to buy put’s their requirement on the marketplace and the marketplace finds someone to do the job.

But there’s a problem.

Unlike the personal nature of recommendations, these marketplaces send the leads only to those suppliers that pay. It doesn’t matter how amazing a supplier might be – if they don’t pay they get introduced to the buyer.

I think that’s a terrible proposition for the buyer. That’s why at Bark we don’t charge suppliers to talk to our buyers. We let them do it for free.

So how do we make money? Well, Bark might be the first marketplace to utilize a Freemium business model. Suppliers can get involved for free but we’ve got a menu of things that suppliers can pay for. For example, a seller can get verified so that we can confirm to buyers that we know they are who they say they are. They can get early bird access to leads – to give them more time to respond. And they can chose to ‘go pro’ which means their pitches to the buyer and highlighted.

They key thing is that this is all transparent to the buyer. The buyer can see who’s paid and who hasn’t but he can consider the responses from everyone. In this way Bark is a truly open system for introducing buyers and sellers without the major conflict of interests suffered by trusted marketplaces.

Tricks of the trade – how Irv has built a business on Bark

Andy Irvine from Plumb It! runs a successful plumbing company in Cheltenham, UK and gets most of his business from word of mouth. However, when Bark emailed him with a customer requirement from someone just down the road he decided to give it a try and has since got 12 jobs using Bark. Kai gave him a call to see if he had any tips for other Pros on Bark.

So, how did you get started on Bark?

I randomly got an e-mail from Bark.com saying that someone in Cheltenham was looking to have a bath tub removed and replaced with a shower. To be honest as I hadn’t heard of Bark before I thought it might be dodgy but I decided to give it a go anyway and wrote a reply to them asking for some more detail about exactly what they wanted. They actually replied straight away and it turns out they lived 5 doors down from me and we’ve got friends in common! I went round and did a quotation for them and installed their new shower the following week.

That’s a great start! So did you subscribe to Bark at that point?

Haha I probably should have but no I thought I’d see what else would come in first! I got a about 5 more leads over the next month and was successful with one of them and that point I decided to subscribe to get more leads.

And what happened next?

After subscribing I started getting leads every day and I also found buyers responded more quickly. Having the Verified Pro badge next to my name seems to make buyers a lot more trusting and I guess it makes you stand out amongst the crowd. I’ve been getting about one in 3 jobs I reply to which the Bark customer service team told me is pretty good going!

Why do you think you get a good response?

I’ve always put a fair bit of time into writing proper emails and detailed quotations. I’ve found with Bark that you have to spend the time to write a good pitch – or at least ask intelligent questions so that the buyer realizes I know what I’m doing and I’m worth talking to further. I know a lot of people just type one-liners and don’t even check their spelling and grammar!

Any other tips?

What’s good about Bark is that I get out what I put in. Sometimes I’m just too busy to reply quickly if I’m on a job and in those cases either I’ll just leave it or I’ll reply that evening if the job looks good enough. I think it’s important to either give the client a good experience or not at all – so I don’t reply to everything just to see what happens, I only reply to jobs I know I can deliver on.

Bark announces acquisition of Skillpages

Bark is today proud to announce the acquisition of Dublin based Skillpages.com – the online network where small businesses meet new customers. Skillpages has over 20 million people seeking and selling services, operates worldwide in 30 countries and had raised over 40m Euros to build a superb technology platform whereby buyer’s needs can be matched to skilled individuals. Bark has begun migrating Skillpages users onto Bark.com and this process will continue over the following months.

Andrew Michael, Bark CEO, commented: ‘We are very excited to welcome users from Skillpages to Bark.com and look forward to building on the success Skillpages has had’.

Bark reaches 10,000 suppliers!

I’m really pleased to say we’ve hit 10,000 suppliers today registered on Bark!

That’s a great achievement for us and we are proud to be helping some many small companies get more business – without charging them a penny! Bark is working and working well – we are starting to make a real difference to how people find local service providers and are looking forward to continuing on our mission to take the pain out of getting quotes and finding skilled professionals online. list of domains .

Bark Organises its New Year’s Eve party…using Bark!

They say eat your own toffee…and that’s exactly what we did when I decided, on the morning of December 31st that it would be nice to hold a new year’s party for the Bark crew. Those who know me will know that I take my parties very seriously and whilst I’m always last minute I had some doubt that this could be pulled off in time – especially considering I had a full day’s work planned.

I needed: a catering company to do a buffet dinner and serve drinks, a DJ to light up the room and get the party going and a comedian to entertain everyone. I started with the catering a called a couple of people I found on Google but the only available one was a company specialising in Jamaican cuisine and the woman I spoke to barely spoke English – accept to keep saying ‘Jerk Chicken any way you want’.

I was about to give up especially when my ever sensible co-founder Kai got the hump and said don’t you dare spend all day organizing a party, we can just go to the pub. But then one of our engineers said ‘Why don’t you just Bark it’ – and I had a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moment – a bit like when you spend half an hour looking for your wallet only to find it in your pocket. Of course that’s exactly what Bark is for – so I did 3 Barks – for a DJ, caterer and comedian and marked them all as URGENT – FOR TONIGHT, and then got on with my meetings.

A couple of hours later – and we’d got a better response than we’d ever hoped for. I had 5 pitches for each job – many of them from quality suppliers who had had last minute cancellations and most of them from the principal of the company concerned. We got a super cool DJ from Capital DJ Services, amazing food from the team at Chef in my Kitchen and a brilliant comedian who made everyone laugh all night.

Needless to say the team has the worst hangover the next day and we loved the fact that our whole party was organised on Bark – even more so given that we probably wouldn’t have had time to organise it otherwise!