Every now and then, I get an email that's a variation of this question:
"Hey Finn - I just submitted a request for quotes through your website, and got the email confirming the request. The email said that you have referred me to companies A, B and C - but I was looking at your list of installers in my city and saw that there were companies X, Y and Z with higher ratings. Why were companies A, B and C assigned to my request, and not X, Y or Z?"
Fundamentally, they're asking: With a network of 400 installers across the country, how does your algorithm pick up to 3 installers for my quote request?
The answer is - caps and preferences!
But what are they?
Well, first I'll say - the SolarQuotes installer matching algorithm has been developed, tweaked and improved over the last 11 years to what it is today - it's actually a pretty complicated bit of code!
For trade secret reasons, I can't go into too much detail on exactly how it works. But I can give some broad commentary on how my system might handle a given quote request.
Let's say Sam in Sydney puts in a request for 3 quotes.
First, the algorithm will do the most basic geographic check - who are currently active (not paused for inquiries) installers in the SolarQuotes network that service Sam's postcode?
It would be a pretty bad experience all-around if it assigned Sam's quote request to 3 installers that only operate in Perth!
Then, it eliminates installers based Sam's answers on the quote form, comparing them to the preferences that they (the installers) have set in their profiles.
For example, some installers don't like to work with tiled roofs or two-storey houses. So if Sam has a tiled two-storey house - that will knock a bunch of potential installers off the list.
Then, it checks installers for their caps. For example, there might be a really great installer 5km away from Sam - a natural fit for a referral - but that installer might elect to take 3 quote requests per day from SolarQuotes, and if Sam is the 4th - then our system will not refer Sam to the installer, as they have hit their 'daily cap'.
So - to answer the question of "Why was I referred to company A B and C, and not X Y and Z?" - it comes down to "Caps and preferences"!
Now - does this mean that caps and preferences filter out all the 'good' installers and you're left with only the 'leftovers' to be referred to?
Nope - every single installer in the SolarQuotes network is one that I have full confidence in and would be happy to install solar on my own home.
So, the ‘best’ installer for you is one who is in our network, is as close as possible, and matches your preferences.
If I'm not able to match you with the number of quoting installers that you've asked for (max 3), I’d rather refer you to less than 3 (or be up front and let you know I couldn't refer you to anyone) instead of compromising my standards and referring you to an installer that I don’t trust.