Over the last months many people have gotten in touch asking what I’m up to professionally since leaving Lokku. I’m exploring a number of different things, one that I’m pleased to now be able to announce is joining the board of MyBuilder.
For those unfamiliar with the service, MyBuilder is a UK based marketplace where homeowners can find quality tradesmen. Whether you need a plumber, want to redo the kitchen, put solar panels on the roof, or whatever, MyBuilder helps you quickly and easily find and compare reputable tradesmen to get the job done.
I’ve known the MyBuilder team for many years, in some ways the story is not unlike my own - an American founder who came to the UK and started a company around 2005. They are based in Clerkenwell, just as we were. Like our own journey with Lokku, it has been one of perseverance. Ryan Notz, the CEO and founder, and his team have tenaciously grown the business over the years. One thing that has really impressed me, and the reason I decided to get involved, is that they are focused on truly helping the homeowner solve the problem of repairing their home. What I mean is, many players in this space just flog leads out to anyone with an email address who is willing to buy them. MyBuilder takes a much deeper, more comprehensive approach. First, tradesmen who want to join the marketplace undergo an identity check AND a thorough test of their skills for the specific category they are interested in. They can not just say “I’m happy to do plumbing, wiring, masonry, gas fitting, really whatever anyone will pay me to do”. Secondly, the job is not simply spammed out to any and every tradesmen. If you want your kitchen redone that’s a big task with lots of decision to be made, the last thing you want to do is to first have to sift through hundreds of possible tradesmen. Instead, what you want is a short list of a handful of reputable, qualified, and available contractors, and that is exactly what MyBuilder provides. As you would expect, you can see reviews and ratings of their past work. It’s an approach that helps the homeowner solve the real task, not just a quick way to sell a lead, which is what many of MyBuilder’s competitors (who have come and gone over the years) have done.
Equally important to Ryan and the management team though is creating a great culture within the team. They are hiring for a bunch of roles. If you want to work with great people building a great service, one that helps thousands of consumers and tradesmen every month, I can not think of a better company for you to join. The spirit of pride in the service is noticeable in everyone you talk with, and just like the tradesmen they aim to serve, there is a great sense of craftsmanship in the product side of the business. If you are interested in a product or tech role, have a look at their tech blog or the code they have open-sourced.
This thoughtful approach is not always quick, but it is solid and it is paying off. The business is thriving. 2015 was a record year, and 2016 should be even better. More and more tradesmen are signing up, and the percentage of jobs posted by repeat users of the service is quite simply amazing.
All of that isn’t to say there are not challenges ahead for MyBuilder. The path from start-up to scale-up, from 5 team members to 50+, and then 200+, is not a simple one. Likewise, providing a high quality service raises customer expectations, and those expectations need to be continually met and exceeded. As MyBuilder moves out of the start-up phase of life and increasingly becomes a household name, I’m hopeful my own experiences and perspective can help on their journey.