A Lawn Care Broker Service? Think Uber, Airbnb!
Good Sense News – Volume 3, Issue 1
Tell your lawn guy to watch out…there’s a new service coming that could change the way people shop for a crew to cut their grass. A rapidly growing platform called GreenPal has recently expanded into the Orlando, Florida metropolitan area, complementing a network that now includes six other major metro areas that evolved out of its Nashville beginning four years ago.
GreenPal has been tagged “Uber for lawn care” by many of its customers, although it doesn’t work quite the same way. In a recent interview with Crain’s email newsletter reporter Hope Winsborough, the service’s founder Gene Caballero likened the service to an online clearinghouse through which people needing lawn service are connected to service providers in an on-demand mode, with invoicing and payments handled through the GreenPal platform. It’s a fairly complete service, with prospective customers able to screen providers using availability information and ratings, and prospective providers using street and aerial views of the property and details provided by the owner to construct a bid.
The online bid and payment process replaces what many property owners prefer to avoid…the need to enter a long-term contract for lawn care, the need to handle payments in person, and the need to interact directly with the guys cutting the grass. Indications are that the service functions just like a mobile app should…seamlessly.
Here’s how the app works:
- Lawn care vendors sign up for sign up as a provider with GreenPal, getting a vendor page on the app where they can list the services they provide.
- Property owners needing service use the app to visit the GreenPal website to list the property, what they want done, and when they’d like the work done.
- GreenPal supplements the details with Google street views and aerial views of the property.
- Vendors examine the list of property owner listings and bid on the requested service based on the availability of their resources.
- Property owners review the bids and select their preference, using vendor-supplied pricing and ratings compiled based on prior jobs.
- An appointment is created and the work gets done. Vendors snap a picture of the job when done and use it to create a digital invoice to the property owner, with payment made directly to the through the GreenPal platform. A 5% fee is collected at that point from the payment, so there’s no direct cost to the property owner.
GreenPal’s strategy calls for limiting the number of vendors available via the platform. As vendors matriculate into the app, and are successful enough to build a repeat clientele, additional vendors are added carefully so as to avoid saturation of the marketplace. The functionality of the app has also been expanded over time to include a daily scheduling service for vendors showing jobs they have upcoming, and the overall platform has been broadened to include ancillary services like gardening, leaf removal, and so on,
The success of GreenPal validates the business premise that people—customers—would embrace technology to facilitate a service as commonplace as getting their grass cut. In fact, when the service expanded into the Tampa, Florida region, their first weekend produced between 300 and 400 property owner signups. Last year, GreenPal grossed $100 million in revenue, and current projections are looking toward at least tripling that number in 2017.
Uber for your lawn care—who’d have thought?
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