Aidan Klingbeil, CEO and Founder of MowSnowPros
1. What does MowSnowPros do?
MowSnowPros is an on-demand lawn mowing & snow removal app. The app let's people - called MowSnowPros - pickup snow removal and lawn mowing requests. We provide them with training, business support and marketing tools. Our customers simply push a button and can have their walk shovelled or lawn mowed within hours. There’s no need for them to sign a contract or pay a monthly fee.
2. What inspired you to start this? What problem are you solving?
When I was 13, I shoveled walks and mowed lawns for neighbors in my community. I did this for 9 years and eventually served dozens of customers. The money I earned helped pay for my business degree at University. I started this company to provide others with that same opportunity that I had. At the time I would offer services on a pay-per-use model and customers loved this as most landscaping companies forced them into a monthly contract. When I started MowSnowPros, it was to fill this niche in the market that still existed - customers only pay for work that's actually done, when they need it.
3. How long did it take you to go from prototype to launch?
About 10 months. I launched a Minimum Viable Product in August 2015, that was simply a landing page and form. The website advertised on-demand contract-free service, while the form allowed customers to request it when they wanted, initially just signing up for early access. By December 2015 I had collected enough names through the form and my old client database to move forward with developing the app. Until the release, I planned to continue servicing requests myself that came through the website. The app was officially launched in June 2016.
4. How did you determine who your audience might be for this product?
Since I had already served customers in this market while running my landscaping company, I knew my audience would be similar to them. After launching the app, I further determined there was a market of more tech-savvy, busy young to middle-aged professionals that this service also appealed to. Speaking with our customers has been the best way to further determine who are audience is.
5. What are your greatest achievements so far?
Receiving 300 MowSnowPro applications and 2500 downloads has been our most recent achievement that further provides us with validation on both the contractor and customer side. Expanding into an additional 4 cities in the last 6 months has also been a milestone, as it confirms our model is scalable and there is little preventing us from further expansion. We have exceeded our revenue and growth forecasts for this year. Participating in several Startup initiatives including: Successfully raising $10 000 through ATB BoostR crowdfunding and pitching onstage. Selected as a finalist for Startup Calgary Launch Party. ATBX Accelerator.
6. What are your future goals?
Growth. We are solely focused on growing our users in the cities we're currently operating in: Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Saskatoon & Winnipeg. We then plan to expand West for the lawn mowing season this summer, and then tackle Eastern Canada next winter. Alongside that growth we aim to foster customer relationships and provide a legendary customer experience that generates word of mouth. Our ultimate goal is to become the leading app for on-demand landscaping services across North America.
7. How has Startup Calgary helped you so far?
They have provided us with access to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and given us the opportunity to showcase our business. We have also benefited from the events and workshops that Startup Calgary hosts.
8. How can companies make the most of their experience with Startup Calgary and Launch Party?
Startup Calgary and Launch Party provide great opportunities to connect with both new and familiar faces in the community. Ask others what they're working on and determine the best way that you can help them.
9. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to take their idea from the back of a napkin to the marketplace?
Just do it! There's never going to be a perfect time to pursue your idea. There's so many tools out there to help easily and inexpensively create a MVP to test your idea. If you gain some traction, move onto developing a further iteration. If not, pivot and try again.
10. Who do you look up to in the Calgary startup community?
I've been lucky enough to have a few mentors that have founded companies doing very cool things locally. Specifically Matt Diteljan at Glacier and Leighton Healey at Bootkik have both provided me with a lot of insight while I was just starting up. There are too many Calgary companies doing awesome things right now to name them all - it's a great time to get involved in the community.
11. If you could do one thing differently while building your startup, what would you have done?
Spent less time worrying about "how" I was going to do things, and spent more time just doing them. The "how" always seems to fall into place when you just take action. Don't get caught by paralysis through analysis.
Learn more at: http://mowsnowpros.com/
Published January 19, 2018