J. Luciano Cabrera, Growth Strategist & Kenzie Dutka, Marketing Guru at JobJar
1. What does JobJar do?
KD: JobJar connects homeowners with tradespeople (or as we call them Skilled Doers) to complete small home projects. We provide multiple quotes, while also handling all payment transactions.
That being said, we are so much more than a website. JobJar provides an opportunity for everyone to succeed within the construction industry. We provide tools and education to help people who are new to Canada, or who simply lack the necessary resources, to excel.
2. What inspired you to start? What problem are you solving?
KD: In our opinion, some of the challenges newcomers face seeking jobs in construction companies or small businesses stem from language barriers and the stigma that they aren’t qualified. This is a problem that continues to grow and needs to be addressed. As more talented people immigrate to Canada, they should have the same opportunity to excel in their trade as do born and bred Canadians. We aim to make this possible for them and for anyone else looking to expand their experience.
As a building manager, I personally struggled to find a reliable, affordable tradesperson. I wasn’t sure who would show up or how reliable they would be, and I was always worried they would try to negotiate the payment once the job was done. JobJar made it so easy to find and pay for a Skilled Doer. You know exactly who is coming and pay securely once the job is completed.
3. How did you determine who your audience might be for this product?
KD: JobJar is a two-sided market, catering to both homeowners and Skilled Doers. It is exciting because we get to glimpse into the lives of both the homeowners and the tradespeople. This contrast is compelling, especially when we get to understand them separately as audiences and then work to achieve the goal of connecting them.
4. How did you go about building your team?
KD: We are focused on developing a strong team. One of the strengths of our team is that we have extensive construction experience. Many of the JobJar team members have been in the shoes of both sides of this marketplace, which is unique.
Our team culture can be summed up in a few words: family and pet-friendly. We are a very close-knit team supporting each other as we work towards our shared goals. Every day at the office is fast-paced and full of fun and there is never a dull moment. We love our little team mascots (pets) and you can even catch us doing the salsa to celebrate our accomplishments.
5. What are your greatest achievements so far?
KD: Building a full team of employees this year has been extremely exciting. It allows us to grow at a faster pace and brings so many new ideas to the table!
We were also awarded as the People’s Choice Award finalist and Innovation finalist through the Calgary Chamber's Small Business Week Awards. That was a huge honour.
Lastly, we also launched Job from the Jar Day, a community initiative where we select a different community every two weeks and give two residents a free tradesperson or Skilled Doer for a day. The second person to receive the free time is a deserving neighbour. This way, we get to know the residents of Calgary, but also get to connect local homeowners with local Skilled Doers!
6. What are your future goals for your company? Any specific milestones for 2018?
KD: Our goals are very ambitious this year, but with the right attitude and team, I have no doubt that we will achieve them. We have the goal of creating as many jobs as possible before 2019. This year is all about building brand awareness in Calgary, but we also have plans to expand into Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver to generate more traction.
7. How has Startup Calgary helped you?
LC: Startup Calgary acts as a great hub for connecting people and inspires individuals to pursue their goals. It really helped us connect with the entrepreneurship community in Calgary and provides a great opportunity for growth.
8. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to take their idea from the back of a napkin to the marketplace?
LC: The advice I would give is to have persistence, perseverance and a clear vision of the problem that you want to solve. Often, validating this problem with people in your life, even friends and family, can help establish that it is a real problem that needs a solution. Everyone (especially in Canada) tends to be too polite, which means people often say every new idea is a good idea. Yet, it is important to secure the fact that you will be providing a solution to a relevant and real problem.
9. Who do you look up to in the Calgary startup community? What companies are doing cool things?
LC: There are so many inspiring startups right now, but I’m motivated by Bootkik. The work they do for the entrepreneurial atmosphere is extremely innovative. Other amazing companies are ClickDishes, Acuspire, TikTiks and PlayCity.
10. If you could do one thing differently while building your startup, what would you have done?
LC: I wish we could have created a minimum viable product (MVP) as quickly as possible, so we could have continued to iterate based on feedback. Time is not always on our side, but this really would have helped us make improvements and really learn from every interaction with our customers.
11. What event, program or resource in Calgary's startup community has made the biggest impact on your company?
LC: One of the greatest events for us was the Startup Calgary Launch Party. It really inspired us to maximize our impact within the community and motivated us to expand into other cities in Canada!
12. If you had to tweet another startup advice, what would it be?
LC: People often assume that startups are a one-person show when it’s really a team effort. You may start by yourself but growing beside a strong team is ultimately what can lead to success. You need to be able to relinquish control if you want to grow!
Learn more at https://www.jobjar.ca/
Published on May 31, 2018