Featured Startup Pitch: Handybook wants to end the frustration of finding and booking quality household service providers

By Editor January 22, 2013

Handybook logoCompany: Handybook

Website: www.handybook.com

Founders: Oisin Hanrahan and Umang Dua

Year Founded: 2012

Headquarters: Boston

Investors: David Tisch, Highland Capital Partners and General Catalyst

Employees: 7

Twitter: @handybookhq

Facebook: facebook.com/handybook

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BOisin Hanrahan, Handybooky Oisin Hanrahan, co-founder

“I’ve been waiting three hours for the guy to fix my heating to show up.”

Booking household services is broken.

The Problem

“I’ll be at your apartment tomorrow sometime between Noon and 5 p.m.”.

The next time a plumber or handyman says that please just hang up. Take the phone and hang up. When the home cleaning company says “I’m not sure if we can clean your home tomorrow, maybe the day after, we’ll call you back.” Just hang up.

You and I and everyone else are collectively wasting hundreds of thousands of hours a year on the phone, and then worse, sitting at home waiting for the guy to come fix something or clean something.

Why? So we can save some time by not cleaning, doing our own plumbing or handyman work.

This makes no sense.


Just for a second, imagine a solution that actually worked.

While studying in Boston, my co-founder, Umang Dua, and I were in search of a cleaner for our new apartment, and became impatient and frustrated with our inability to book a simple cleaning service. It got to the point where two months after moving in we both had furniture still in boxes, pictures on the floor instead of mounted on the wall, and an apartment that was increasingly dusty—and if we’re honest, starting to get pretty dirty.

Yes, I’ll admit we were both a bit lazy. But we weren’t so lazy that we didn’t try to use other services. We tried services online where you post listings, post jobs, fill in forms, look at ratings, try and assess services providers credibility, post how much you might pay, send emails and try and schedule availability.

Why does it need to be so difficult?

Why not have a service where you enter your zip code, select home cleaning, pick a time and date, and press ‘book & pay’?

That’s what we set about building. The three-step booking process for service professionals that would actually show up on time.

We called it the ‘3Ws’: Where? What service? When?

Team. Traction. Capital.

In March we built a small team that included a couple of engineers, and by May we pushed out the first product. We recruited the very best service providers we could find and put in place a satisfaction guarantee and an on-time money back guarantee. If a Handybook professional is late or doesn’t make you 100 percent happy we’ll give you a full refund. In just a few short months, Handybook grew from an idea to the instant booking platform for those that wanted to book service providers in New York City and Boston.

In October of 2012, we raised a $2 million+ round of Seed funding from General Catalyst Partners, Highlight Capital Partners, and individual investors including David Tisch.

Right now we’re focused on expanding our platform to include additional services for our existing users. By expanding the number of household services users can book instantly, we want to build Handybook.com as the platform for real-time instant booking.

Our Wonderful Customers

We spend a lot of time asking our wonderful customers questions. Reading their feedback. Reviewing their usage patterns. Examining data. Coming up with hypotheses about our customers. Testing our hypotheses. Discovering we’re wrong. Dreaming up new ways to interpret our customer data.

More than anything else we want our customer experience to be amazing. Specifically, we think about customer happiness at two points in time: right after they have made the booking online or on our app, and right after the task has been completed. After the booking has been made, we want customers to feel that this was the easiest and most seamless way they could have booked a household service. We want them to feel that it was an enjoyable booking experience. And after the task or service has been completed, we want our customers to feel incredibly happy and satisfied with the job done and that this is a professional they would like to recommend to their friends.

In order to do this, we have two big challenges: to build a technology platform based on massive amounts of real-time and historical data that allows our customers to book professionals in real-time, while also making them smile, and secondly to ensure that we continue to recruit Handybook professionals that do excellent work and make our customers’ lives easier.

If you’re interested in helping us build the best real time instant booking platform for the world’s professionals then send us a mail: [email protected]

If you’d like us to send someone to clean your home just send us a tweet and we’ll probably send you a code: @handybookhq. We’re generous like that!

Handybook – www.handybook.com