Handlr is awesome. It better be, because I’ve been working on it for over a year and I’ve been dreaming about it for 8 years. Handlr is the answer to all of my business owner prayers. It’s not easy running a small business because you have to do it all when you don’t have the budget for an admin assistant, bookkeeper, marketing director, social media manager, etc. Being a small business owner you are expected to work 24/7 and must always have your phone glued to your side. When a person first decides to start her own business, she may fantasize about personal and financial freedom, but quickly realizes that instead of one boss she just gained 20 micro bosses (if she’s lucky to sign up that many clients when she first opens up her business). If you’re lucky and if you’re doing a great job, you start getting busier and busier and it’s difficult to keep up with the demands of so many customers. You want to do the best job that you can, but the volume of phone calls, scheduling requests and changes just gets out of control. Keeping track of all of your customers, making them happy (because this is THE most important focus when running a service business), and keeping track of the “business side” of your business is no easy feat. I thought I was super human, I thought I could do it all, but I couldn’t and I was not providing the absolute best experience anymore for my customers. That’s when I knew I needed to ask for help. There’s two ways to do this- hire and find the technology that can streamline your operations.
I decided to hire my first employee, my mom, because I knew that I could trust her more than anyone else. It’s hard to hire people because you don’t know if you can trust them. Especially if you have a mobile service business with your employees being unsupervised and going into people’s homes. I needed to find a solution to this so I tried using a different software systems, but there were so many bugs and it just didn’t offer my customers the experience that I truly wanted to give them. That’s when I decided to finally put my 8 year dream into action by developing Handlr. I wanted to have a super automated smart schedule that would communicate with employees and customers within the schedule and then be able to keep track of my customers’ satisfaction with our services and our employees. It’s hard to read your customers mind and know if they are truly happy or not. I wanted an accurate way of keeping track of their happiness. With Handlr, every time a service is completed my customers will be able to give their feedback and be able to see which services people love and which employees my customers love or don’t love. The problem these days that businesses face is that people are very quick to judge and complain on review sites like Yelp (argh!) and don’t give their feedback to the business owner. We want to make people happy because our businesses are our babies and our bread and butter. You can try to be the world’s most perfect business, but if an employee makes a mistake or if the customer is having a bad day, a single bad review online can haunt you for the rest of your business’ life. The reason being is mostly because there’s a negative bias online and not every single service ever rendered is being commented on. It’s totally flawed. For example, DogZenergy has performed well over 50,000+ services for our customers in the last 9 years (that’s a lot of miles walked and a lot of poop picked up!) yet we only have two reviews on Yelp. Yet people look at Yelp and think that we’re not established or that we’re not that good because we only have that many reviews. One ex-employee who I got rid of really quickly because of his dishonesty and bad attitude opened up his own dog walking business and has 30 reviews, has been in business for a year and pays his customers and friends to give reviews. That doesn’t add up right. I’ve tried to encourage my customers to leave reviews, but they are extremely busy affluent people and they simply don’t have the time. If they do graciously leave us a review it gets filtered because they are not “Yelpers” or because I’m not paying enough money on advertising to Yelp. Who knows? They have an “algorithm” that determines my business’ whole reputation online. It feels like extortion to me, and I’m so unhappy about it that it helped me make the final decision to start Handlr. On Handlr, every single service performed will be tracked and people will be able to sign up for our services based on who their friends and neighbors use. They’ll be able to see reviews happening around them in real time and will have all the social proof they need to confidently hire us for all of their pet’s needs knowing that we strive to be completely honest and fully committed to their happiness.
With service industries it’s all about trust. When you are entering people’s homes and taking care of their kids and pets, they need to be able to trust that you are going to take the best care of their most loved family members. With DogZenergy we want to be completely transparent, honest and trustworthy, which is why we want our customers to be able to GPS track our employees and know when we check in and out of jobs. We want to give our customers constant contact with our management and our walkers, which is why we’ve built in a state-of-the-art in schedule messaging platform. This way, if a customer needs to ask a question, make a change or request special instructions, we’re only a message away. Both our manager and our employee will see the messages so that nobody ever misses a request. We also know that people want visual proof that their dog is happy, which is why we can also send photos through the apps.
Handlr streamlines a business’ operations and makes it so easy to grow and scale. I like to think of it as a mobile modern day alternative to franchising. With the smart schedule management platform it’s so easy to make sure that all of your employees are where they are supposed to be and so much easier to trust that you have a good team in place. It’s so easy to set up your business’ availability in all different zip codes that you don’t have to hire on more managers or franchise out your business. You can literally set up your biz by inputting your services, prices, zip codes you service and employees, and then set up your open availability. Once that’s done you can send out a mass email or text blast to your customers to download the app and then they can immediately start doing business with you. Your customers will be able to schedule themselves extremely easily resulting in more bookings and your availability will be visible to all of their friends and neighbors who are also looking for your services. Your employees will be able to take pictures of the jobs getting done and from there you can push those photos to your business’ social media channels. Your customers can also send the photos to their FB or Twitter pages. I like to say that we’ve automated word-of-mouth by making it easier than ever for your happy customers to share their experience with your business. We connect business’ with their customers’ social network within their neighborhood. Oh how I love modern mobile technology!
For both DogZenergy and Handlr, it’s our job to deliver happiness and make people’s lives easier. It’s what we do and with Handlr we’re stepping up our game big time. I’m so excited that it’s almost done! We’re set to launch in early 2015! To get the inside scoop on our development and secret launch date, you can sign up on myhandlr.com. Stay tuned!