From cooking to laundry and cleaning, there are a multitude of chores around the house. While most of these get accomplished with begrudging “Yes, ma’am” or “Yes, sir” answers from the kids (and maybe also from significant others), there are two areas of the home that may be more likely to be neglected: the yard and driveway.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Throughout the year, two of the more cumbersome chores are mowing the lawn from spring to fall and plowing the driveway every winter. As those in the New England area are especially aware, snow removal can be one of the most back-breaking and time-consuming one of these two outdoor activities.
One company that’s hoping to alleviate the headache of both snow removal and lawn mowing, via its on-demand service, is New York–based startup company Plowz & Mowz. We sat down with one of the company’s cofounders, Wills Mahoney, to learn more about how he and his team plan to revolutionize the yard care business.
PYMNTS: What’s the story behind how Plowz & Mowz got its start?
WM: We are based in Syracuse, N.Y., which happens to be the snowiest city per capita in the United States almost every year. During one particularly large snowstorm, my mother called me in a panic. She needed help getting out of her driveway and couldn’t get any snow plow drivers to answer her call. All the while, there was at least 10 residential plow trucks that drove right past her home. Basically, at that point, it clicked — the idea was born. Over the next few weeks, the idea went from thought to action.
PYMNTS: In your own words, what is Plowz & Mowz about?
WM: Initially, Plowz & Mowz was really about helping during a storm but quickly started to take on another lifeform. After our first winter season, we introduced our on-demand lawn mowing service. We have created a process where in under 60 seconds, a customer can get a price to mow their lawn, rake their yard or plow their driveway. Before, a landscaper would have come out to the property for a quote. Payment is done through the app along with the customer receiving a picture of the completed job. The consumer rates their job, and that allows us to maintain high standards of quality control.
PYMNTS: How does the pricing model work, and how does Plowz & Mowz get paid?
WM: Our pricing model is a 70/30 split. The contractors make 70 percent, and for our end we take 30 percent for the daily operations, technology, marketing and customer acquisition.
PYMNTS: Who does Plowz & Mowz see as its competition, if any, and why?
WM: We see the DIY consumer who chooses to do the job themselves as our biggest competition. We are introducing an entire new market of customers to landscapers, most who have never hired a professional landscape company before to mow their grass or plow their driveway.
PYMNTS: Since its inception, how much has Plowz & Mowz grown year over year? Does it have any future projections for where it hopes to grow within the next few years?
WM: We don’t release specific numbers, but we have completed close to 100,000 jobs to date. We have placed a strong emphasis this year on improving the technology in our platform to benefit both the customer and landscape provider. We have also focused on growing out the customer base in the markets we are currently in. We plan on opening up more markets and adding more services in the near future.
PYMNTS: How many rounds of funding has Plowz & Mowz received?
WM: Plowz & Mowz has had a round of seed funding with L.A.-based company Science, Inc., and an undisclosed angel investor. This is the company behind success stories like Dollar Shave Club and Dog Vaca. We may seek additional funding in the near future.
PYMNTS: What does the term Uber of X mean to you, and how does Plowz & Mowz fit that mold?
WM: Plowz & Mowz has been referred to the Uber of lawn mowing and snow plowing by many. We believe we are an outdoor marketplace for three of the most burdensome outdoor tasks. We have completed snow plowing jobs in as little as five minutes due to the technology we have incorporated in the app. Route density along with technology has allowed us to be able to service our customer base much faster than ever before.
PYMNTS: As most startups have their fair share of hiccups, can you share a few lessons-learned anecdotes?
WM: I think that as a startup there are so many things you want to accomplish at once, but bandwidth can be limited. We have learned to focus on specific initiatives to grow out our customer base quickly along with developing technology to help our landscapers more efficiently conduct business and earn more money. We also believe customer service is imperative. We offer 24/7 phone and email support, so during a snowstorm, we are just a call away if there is an issue.
PYMNTS: What are Plowz & Mowz’s 2017 goals?
WM: Our goal is to continue to be the leader in the mobile on-demand space for lawn mowing, snow plowing and leaf removal. We will continue to improve our technology to make it even easier for a customer to schedule these three services. We will also be adding more tools for our large fleet of over 3,300 landscape companies who use our app to grow their business. We will be adding other outdoor services as well this season to better serve our customers’ needs.