Plowguys emerged from our experiences building the Plowguys snow plowing marketplace in Boston. We met or spoke with hundreds of snow contractors, hopped in trucks, shoveled walkways to get older adults unstuck, pushed pricing features in the middle of blizzards to meet demand, answered more support calls than we care to admit (most of them looking for ETAs), moved properties to subs when trucks went down, responded to disputes─you name it, for residential snow, we did it. Three bells constantly rang:
First, service businesses should call the shots when it comes to e-commerce. You deserve to be the visible merchant of record from the start. You deserve tools to configure your offers, pricing, terms and location. You need effective channels to distribute those offers. You need direct interactions with prospects and customers. A technology company should exist to support these core business tasks and interactions. We hear a lot about the "convenience of online booking" as a value prop touted by home service startups, but notice these are consumer-centric positions. Who's building for providers? While we agree consumers deserve a simple and fast booking experience, we think it's a bad idea for a tech company to usurp the local domain expert. (Besides, many of you will tell us to go fly a kite if we tried to 1099 you!) You know your business and market better than we ever can. We're building Plowguys for you to directly offer consumers a great booking experience.
Second, while "on-demand" services generate a lot of buzz, an unappreciated but huge opportunity lies in supporting route-based businesses and their customers. Don't think Uber for X. Think the opposite of Uber. Think buses, not taxis. If you run routes, you know what we're talking about. Route density is everything. You can see the tangible value a tight route produces. And if you're not disciplined or patient (sometimes it's tough to turn down customers), you can feel the wheels spinning in place. One-off customers, if you decide to accept them, represent an opportunity to convert a property to your route, and while we support one-offs, Plowguys is fundamentally built for your routes.
Third, it's the interactions, not only the business or field data, which present huge value potential for your business. There are scores of business or field management tools available in the market. You'll find one that fits if all you require is to manage your schedules, customer data or fleet. We've noticed, however, that one thing glaringly missing is an interaction layer between you and prospects/customer, partners (e.g. sub-contractors, employees) or other third-parties (e.g. landlords, property managers). We didn't build Plowguys to be a management tool per se. We built it to support and log interactions on top of your business data, and only incidentally, as a management solution. To handle this properly, we take a property-centric view of the world, as opposed to a customer-centric/CRM one. Properties are the core units of interest for a route platform. It's how data passes (e.g. the ETA calls we handled can now be automated) and "where conversations happen" and are logged (e.g. the disputes can be minimized with relationship building and captured evidence). It's how route density and optimization are measured and improved. It's even how sub-contracting (a core feature in Plowguys) can be handled.
Thanks for checking out Plowguys. If you run a route business, join us on the journey.
Yeh Diab & Ray Chun
Snow & Ice Management -