HomeProvider - Book Any Recurring Maintenance for Your Property
Homeowners know that there are jobs that always need to be done on both the inside and the outside. Mowing lawns, pest control, home cleaning and, if you live in New England, snow plowing.
HomeProvider is an app that allows homeowners to connect with the nearest contractor in your area to take the job and help maintain your property.
HomeProvider Co-Founder Richard Saccone had a chance to connect with us to talk about the company and his own entrepreneurial background. He also went into detail on how the app works and how it’s assisting local homeowners and service providers.
Colin Barry [CB]: Before we get into the details with your new company, let’s talk a little bit about your career. How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
Richard Saccone [RS]: I think I’ve always had the entrepreneurial blood in me. My family has been involved in the construction industry for many years, so most of my career has touched upon the blue collar and service industries in one way or another.
My first business was a junk removal business that I started back in high school with one of my cousins. That experience taught me how to advertise and run a residential service business. The sales dynamics were different in 2006 since social media wasn’t as readily available as it is now, and smartphone technology did not really exist.
After high school, I attended the University of Miami where I co-founded a small transportation service to help students get around South Beach. During the school year, we had shuttles that went from the University’s campus all the way to South Beach, and during the summertime and winter breaks, I would work for my family’s construction company installing underground utilities.
Even after college, I was still working for the family construction business, but I wanted to do something on the finance side of things and started working in sales for an insurance agency that specialized in construction. I did that for a couple of years and had been meeting with all sorts of companies that were hiring dump trucks on a daily basis. At the time, I was living in Southie and was using all of these apps like Uber and Lyft on a daily basis and thought that there has to be a way to download an app and get dump trucks on demand, the same way passengers hail uber rides with a few clicks. So, long story short, I founded a tech startup called TRUX, launching the platform in 2015. This was perfect timing for us since there happened to be an extraordinarily high demand for dump trucks at that time. We grew rapidly year after year, and in April of 2018, we raised a $5 Million Series A round. With a rapid growth trajectory and a once in a lifetime opportunity in front of me, I hired a seasoned technology vet by the name of Jeff Gower to take the reigns as CEO. I stepped out of day-to-day operations, but remain active on the board level, and as a major shareholder and close advisor to the company.
CB: What led you to start your newest company, HomeProvider?
RS: There are a lot of similarities to TRUX when it comes to improving productivity and generating value for users, but strategy-wise there are also many differences.
Having been involved with home services businesses before and having a group of friends involved in similar work, I’ve been able to see first-hand the many logistical problems that they face each and every day.
After beginning to build out the platform that would become HomeProvider, I held in-depth meetings with a good friend [Ty Costin, Co-Founder of HomeProvider] who also owns Eastern Pine Pest Control North of Boston. With our combined experience we began to discover endless ways that our technology could add value and efficiency to the home maintenance industry.
One of the biggest problems in the industry, and especially for independent contractors, is traveling. A lot of independent contractors are spending 40% of their workday on the road traveling between houses. For jobs that may only amount to $50 a pop, most of that will be spent on fuel and employee downtime.
Our goal for HomeProvider is to not only cut down travel time by reducing the need for in-person quotes but also to match providers with accounts near their home-base and near accounts that they are already servicing, thereby reducing unnecessary travel time and making them more profitable.
CB: The name sounds like it covers a wide range of services, but what does HomeProvider do specifically? How does the platform work?
RS: It’s a web and mobile platform that allows homeowners to book appointments for lawn maintenance, pest control, snow plowing, and anything that is a routine and recurring service throughout the year. The jobs are priced based on the square footage of the lawn, yard, or home.
How it works is the homeowner books a home service online and schedules a date for their first service. Providers get pinged with a text letting them know there is a new account available nearby and clicks a button to accept. Customers then get a notification letting them know who their provider is. From there on, service visits are tracked electronically, and HomeProvider handles payments to Providers.
We’ve just released a customer referral system, so neighbors can get a discount for referring to one another.
CB: Who are the typical users of HomeProvider? Are there any use cases that have stood out to you?
RS: Since launching it’s been homeowners throughout the metro Boston area. As long as we have a sufficient number of service providers as we do in Eastern Massachusetts, we can service all areas just the same.
Overall, we’ve had a lot of great feedback. We had a customer in Lynnfield who used it for lawn care. After he booked his appointment, he called us up and asked, “Is that all?” and we assured him that we will take care of it. That really impressed him, as homeowners are used to dealing with a lot of back and forth phone calls and price haggling with providers.
CB: What are some of the challenges that HomeProvider faces as a startup working in the “service on-demand” market?
RS: I wouldn’t say we are in the “service on-demand” market so to speak, and I don’t think this is a term yet, but I would say that we’re in the “location optimization” market. In addition to improving the booking and payment process, our end goal is to reduce the inefficiencies related to non-productive travel time.
It’s a two-sided platform, so getting service providers onboard was a challenge. Our team includes three web developers, an admin, and myself all working full-time to add new features and get more accounts set up with contractors in the Boston area. When those first few accounts were booked we were scrambling to find service providers, but as our network of service providers grows, the system is taking over most of the matchmaking.
One small challenge we have been facing is with our name. Some people think we are similar to HomeAdvisor and other lead gen companies, when in fact we are very, very different. HomeProvider provides instant pricing and a seamless booking and fulfillment process from start to finish. We make booking home maintenance service as simple and easy as buying goods on Amazon.
CB: Any other additional comments you’d like to make?
RS: If there are any homeowners out there that are looking for trusted, local services - or service providers looking to grow their business, please visit HomeProvider.com to see how our technology can make your life easier!
Images courtesy of HomeProvider