“It’s like Uber for (insert word here).”
So many aspiring entrepreneurs have tried hitching their wagon to the app-based car service’s star of late, it’s actually inspired a jokey web site (www.itslikeuberfor.com). Ultimately, the success of these startups will be determined by a combination of financing and the sexiness of the product or service they’re offering.
Like, um… crabgrass?
New-to-Atlanta GreenPal describes itself as (surprise!) being like “Uber for Lawn Mowing.” Only instead of summoning a sleek town car to ferry you from place to place, you use the GreenPal app to get a professional lawncutting truck to come out to your house.
By the next day, in most best-case scenarios.
“I have had some people say, ‘But I want someone today,’ and we have to say, ‘These professional lawn guys are not traveling around with $20,000 to $30,000 worth of equipment just looking for lawns to cut,’” explained Gene Caballero, a co-founder of the Nashville-based GreenPal. “Most of the vendors we work with schedule themselves two to three days ahead. But sometimes we’ll have one of them realize, ‘Hey, I’m right next door, I can win this.’ And then it’s magical.”
Yes, “win this.” Here’s how it works: A would-be cutt-ee lists their lawn on the web site or mobile app (find it by typing “GreenPal” in the App Store or Google Play). Within 24 hours, GreenPal gets them five bids from local pros (“vendors” in company parlance) who’ve been background-checked and vetted, right down to their equipment. It doesn’t cost anything to solicit bids, you don’t have to choose anyone and you only pay the agreed-upon price after the job is completed.
You even get a photo of your freshly mowed lawn sent to you via email and mobile app as proof of No-More-Crabgrass-Life.
Right now, GreenPal has about 25 vendors in the Atlanta area, but plans are to grow that number along with customers here. According to Caballero, he knows who many of them probably are.
“Before this, I was that guy,” said Caballero, who worked in technology sales and consulting before becoming a GreenPal founder and customer. “I wouldn’t get around to scheduling the lawn guy or I’d forget to pay him. And then here would come the letter from the Homeowners Association.”
Ah, yes, the Homeowners Association. It’s like Uber for creating splitting headaches.