We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Brandon Large”, CEO & Founder of the Aliso Viejo, USA based start-up “JobQuotes”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
JobQuotes.com is a free service designed to connect consumers with the right local professionals for any project, service, or task that needs to be accomplished. Post your project on JobQuotes, and within a short time you will get multiple quotes from different local professionals with the right expertise. Before hiring a pro, you can read their past client reviews, check out their qualifications, and see photos of their work.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
I started developing the website with my team in the beginning of 2012, working on nights and weekends. In June of 2014, we did a soft
launch with friends and family. Two months later, after we had fixed a majority of the bugs, we went live to the public.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
We offer a free way for consumers to get multiple quotes from qualified service providers for projects they need accomplished – without the need for making
any time-consuming phone calls or scheduling endless appointments.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Our Vice President, Spencer Large, is my younger brother and has always been my right-hand-man for any business venture I’ve done. We have several programmers and customer service representatives. We are a relatively small group, but we complement each other very well and have accomplished great things in a short amount of time.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
Our service is truly different from any other in the market. We have taken out the corruption by making our services 100% free, no strings attached. Also, a majority of our competitors only specialize in the construction industry, but we offer unlimited services – from pet groomers to auto mechanics to massage therapists to personal trainers, as well as home improvement services.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
Since we went live to the public only eight months ago, we have had over 3,500 users sign up. We average about 4,000 page views a day, a majority of them being organic searches. We have generated an estimated $2 million in revenue for our service providers, with expectations of reaching over $10 million by the end of the year.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Our competitors range from Angie’s List and Care.com to Craigslist and Yelp. The problem with Yelp, Angie’s List, and Care.com is that they all want a cut of the profit. Every time Angie’s List refers a service provider, that service provider gets charged a “referral fee.” Even if they don’t get the job, they still have to pay. The problem with this system is that the consumers are getting inflated pricing because these service providers need to make their
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
I feel our main obstacle is like every other startup’s – how do we get users to know about our service without having to break the bank in marketing and advertising? We’ve studied our competitors and seen which marketing campaigns have worked, and we are building off of their successful ideas. We also believe in trying new things, so we are constantly creating new avenues in which we can gain brand recognition on a limited budget.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Because of our competitors, a lot of companies and service providers that hear about us step very cautiously because they are afraid there’s a catch or some hidden fee involved. They’ve been tricked into signing up with so many other services that they think we are going to do the same thing.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
1. We have an incredible concept that has never been done before. Instead of worrying about the money, we are genuinely focused on getting consumers the best service at the best price and getting our skilled professionals more work without having to waste their hard-earned money on advertising.
2. Our team is determined. We have hard-working individuals who are innovative and constantly creating a better experience for our users.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
As of right now, we are only offering our service to Southern California. Since we have seen success in this small demographic, we are making plans to expand throughout the United States by the end of the year.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
I’ve been a general contractor for over 10 years, and I would constantly see homeowners struggling to find specialty contractors. On the flip side, I would see the constant struggle for my subcontractors to find work to stay busy. After some extensive research, I found out there were a handful of companies with similar concepts, but they all had hidden fees and charges. That’s when I went to work with our team to create an unbiased platform where everyone was on the same playing field.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
I’ve learned that these things take time; you aren’t going to become a millionaire overnight. We were hit with that truth a few months after launching the site, but we’ve learned from that and overall it’s made our success more gratifying.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
I feel our biggest struggle is going to be expanding nationwide. That’s why we are taking our time to strategize the most efficient and effective way to open from coast to coast.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
Our users have a site to find qualified professionals with no inflated pricing and no hidden fees. As for our professional service providers, they are getting introduced to new clientele without the costs of advertising or referral fees.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
A vast majority hear about us through word-of-mouth. After someone has had a good experience, whether they are consumers or service providers, they are very anxious to share it with their friends.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Our users range from young college students to retired senior citizens. With all of the services that we offer, we cater to a wide range of users. The demographic we are currently targeting is 25-40 year-olds, both men and women. These people are established with their careers, and can afford to hire contractors for remodels, tutors for their children, and photographers for family pictures.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
A main reason we have seen such growth is through friends and family and word of mouth. When we started, only our friends and family knew about us. After they tried our service and saw great results, they began sharing the site in common conversation. That’s when we saw our traffic begin to grow and realized we had a phenomenal product.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
They genuinely love our website. The service providers that sign up for our site are just shocked that we don’t take a commission or charge a lead fee. They are elated that they get to keep all the money they have worked so hard for.
20. How are you going to scale?
We plan to build up our team and begin opening in metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Dallas, Miami, New York, Chicago, etc. The greater Los Angeles area is one of the most populated areas of the U.S., so if we can establish ourselves here with the small team we have, we feel we’ll be able to gain a strong presence elsewhere with greater ease.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
The main thing our users wish we offered is a text messaging system where they could communicate with the local professionals without revealing their phone numbers. Also, our service providers would rather get text message alerts of new projects instead of email notifications. Because of this demand, we are currently working on implementing this type of service.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
I think in a perfect world that would be spectacular – but for right now we are going to focus on making JobQuotes a household name in the United States.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We believe, based on our competitors, that we can become a main contender with Angie’s List and Craigslist. Everyone knows that Angie’s List charges their consumers and contractors and no one trusts Craigslist because they’ve heard all the scams and horror stories. JobQuotes is free for everyone, and you can see who is on the other side contacting you. You can see photos of their work, licenses, certifications, and reviews from past clients that you can trust.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We are consistently growing and frequently in need of members to join our team. Anyone who can help us better our service and can bring new and fresh ideas to the table is welcome. Submit your resume to Contact@JobQuotes.com.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
JobQuotes is open to venture capitalists and is willing to speak with anyone who has an interest in investment opportunities. Potential investors can email us at Contact@JobQuotes.com.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
I try and live by this quote: “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let your brain, muscles, nerves – every part of your body – be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
JobQuotes.com fills the gap in the “service provider – consumer” industry. We believe (in time) our concept will revolutionize the way consumers find and hire service providers, and in turn, revolutionize the way service providers find work.