Most lawn mowing and snow plowing companies aim for you to sign a yearlong contract committing you to their services. If you are only looking for a one time service, it can be difficult to find a willing company. It can take weeks to find someone who has an available time in between regular customers, and by then your lawn has grown out of control. Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Cuttly, Inc. has been making this process much easier since January, and the mobile app startup is now in eight U.S. cities.
Founder, Clinton Beck, refers to his company as the “Uber of lawn mowing.” According to angieslist.com there are 719 lawn services providers in the Indianapolis area to avoid, nearly double the 443 that are recommended. This shows that it would be easy to accidentally hire one of the companies suggested to avoid. Especially if you are “in a pinch,” as Beck often references. The nice part about Cuttly, is that they too do a background check on the professionals that they hire, which ensures quality care.
As of right now, Cuttly offers two services, lawn mowing and snow plowing. They focused more on the snow plowing side of the business during their January launch, but they hope to scale the lawn mowing side of their business as summer approaches. According to Beck, they hope to be in 24 cities by the end of June. Boston is one of the eight cities in which they focused on building a customer base. With the record-breaking winter, including the Juno storm, this was a brave and bold move for the first few months of a startup company.
Cuttly isn’t the only one of its kind in Indiana. Multiple smartphone apps seem to be popping up, all geared toward ordering services in the palm of your hand. Haven is one example of a growing services app. While it functions similar to Cuttly, it focuses more on home maintenance and checkups. There are other apps that focus solely on lawn services, but they are not based in Indiana.
Cuttly has most definitely entered into a competitive market, however, with ingenious software, a dedicated team, and a well thought out business plan (all of which they appear to have), they may be able to stand out among the rest.
We sent a battery of startup questions to Cuttly founder Clinton and the answers he provided are below.
In the simplest terms, what is Cuttly? What services do you provide?
Cuttly is an on demand lawn mowing app; in simple terms we’re the Uber for lawn mowing. We built a platform that connects homeowners to local professionals and provides on demand homes services. We’re focusing on lawn mowing to start, but will be adding new services to our system in the future.
What are the three most important features of Cuttly? What is your secret sauce?
- We alleviate some of the stress that homeowners deal with when they are in a pinch or too busy to do the work around the house for themselves.
- We aid small business owners across the country in order for them to make more money and grow their businesses.
- We help both the homeowners and the businesses, with no contracts, no phone calls, and with a simple to use app run by a powerful backend system that automates and manages linking the two parties, payment, receipts, etc.
Essentially, finding help, getting help, or making extra money (for service providers) becomes so easy you can’t resist using it.
What pain points are most prevalent for customers seeking your services in the marketplace today?
For our customers if you mow your own lawn it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to call a landscaping company and have them come out to mow your lawn for a single occurrence at the last minute. If you mow your own lawn, there are still occasions that arise that make you unable to mow for a given amount of time, whether it’s because you’re on vacation, a business trip or too busy for any number of reasons. Sometimes you hold off on mowing and then it takes you twice as long to mow the next time and you end up wasting a large portion of your weekend simply catching up.
Cuttly provides a simple solution to the problem. There are tens of thousands of landscaping companies in the U.S., most of which are small businesses that are always looking for more business. Cuttly finds the best nearby service providers and through our app sends them to customers’ homes when they’re in a pinch. All transactions are done through the app so homeowners don’t need to be home to order services. Homeowners’ now have the option to take a week off mowing whenever they want. This is all done on demand without contracts, phone calls or quotes.
Can you outline the thought process behind developing Cuttly? What was the genesis?
My background (Clinton Beck) is in commercializing medical devices. I have a strong understanding of all facets of the commercialization process including research, development, manufacturing, quality, regulatory, marketing and distribution. My experience has given me the opportunity to learn how to build cross functional teams which are often times located throughout the world. Knowing how to build and lead teams and execute corporate objectives has positioned me to do all sorts of different things in the business world.
I was on a business trip some time ago and used Uber for the first time to have a car take me to my destination. I was blown away by how easy it was to use my phone to get a real world service. I’ve wanted to start my own business since before I was done with college. More recently I’ve wanted to start something outside of the healthcare industry and I wanted it to be something in the tech world. After using Uber I was on a mission to find a way to bring that same type of experience to people living in the suburbs and then I came up with the idea of on demand lawn mowing.
I knew my professional experience could be adapted to the tech world, so it was from there that I began recruiting my team. I had my objective, developed a plan, built a team, and began executing that plan. Our hard work paid off, in January of 2015 we had a fully developed system and began our initial launch. Within a few weeks we were in eight cities in six different states.
Tell us about the team who built Cuttly.
We have a great team with diverse backgrounds. I laid out the initial design of the system and was later helped by our Software Architect who has since stepped in and provided all the direction to our engineers. We have engineers that focus on the backend system, DB, security and mobile app developers (iOS and Android). Beyond that we have Business Development managers who establish relationships with our service providers, UI, and graphics specialists and others who focus on social media marketing. We have a very well rounded team. We all end up wearing a lot of different hats, but that’s part of the fun in a startup.
How would you describe your growth trajectory in the short-term and long-term?
Cuttly is designed from the ground up to be able to scale very quickly. Every aspect of our system is designed to easily grow as we grow. That being the case, we hope to expand into different markets at a rapid rate. We want to be in two dozen markets this summer and over 100 markets by 2016.
What makes Cuttly special/different?
We’re building an organization led by intelligent and knowledgeable people who are passionate, ambitious, and determined to never give up. It’s this group of people who are building and distributing a technology that’s allowing individuals to take a break from their busy lives and enjoy a little more free time with their families. Simultaneously it’s helping small business grow all over the country. In my opinion we have the key building blocks required to help us grow to become one of those companies that I look up to.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned through creating and launching your company?
Building a household brand takes time, especially when you’re offering something new. Uber, despite being a company valued at $41+ billion is unknown to many people. Uber’s been around for five years, has billions of dollars in funding and despite their resources many people have never heard of them. Building a brand takes time regardless of the resources you have at your disposal.
Why are you starting this company?
I’ve had the desire to start and grow a business for a very long time. I like designing things and building something from nothing regardless of what it is; it could be some sort of widget, medical device or now a business. This desire to build a business has intensified as I’ve grown as a person and professional. I feel that I have to ability to build something that can help others, be it employees, small business owners or homeowners. I’m born and raised in Fort Wayne and I want to build and grow this company right here. Now is the time to go for it and make it happen and that’s what I’m doing.
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