1. Hillsborough

Tampa-based Homee grows fast in niche home repair market

Homee, Inc. co-founder and CEO Doug Schaedler at the company’s Tampa offices. [Emily L. Hay Hinsdale | Special to the Times]
Published May 30

In 2016, Tampa-based Homee, Inc. introduced a home repair service app. It was a new idea for old problems in a time when the "on-demand" concept was launching into a different market daily, from car service to food delivery.

In 2019, Homee's third year in business finds the company active in 23 states, 85 metro areas, with more growth on the horizon.

"Our goal is, within six months, to have a full national footprint," said co-founder and CEO Doug Schaedler.

Here's how the app works. Leaky kitchen sink? Enter pictures and details into the Homee app. Within a few minutes, a plumbing company will respond. Customers can track the repair person's arrival time. Pricing is a set per-minute fee and only starts when the plumber is on the job. Customers pay through the app. Service providers are paid through the app.

For consumers, this means no more waiting at the house all day for a repair person to show up; Schaedler says their average time to arrive is 28 minutes. For service companies, this means no more downtime between appointments; they can take a Homee job at any time.

A successful partnership with investor Home Depot has taken takes the guesswork and time waste out of sourcing materials, too — service companies can enter needed parts into the Homee app and follow a map to the closest Home Depot, where they will find those parts ready to go.

Although since Homee's launch other home repair companies have entered the "app world," Homee's model remains unique. It's not a referral or recommendation app; each home repair problem gets immediate service at a fixed rate. Each service company is fully-vetted and background-checked by Homee. Schaedler says the company has a 90% customer retention rate, measured by repeated use within six months.

The Tampa metro area, Homee's "home base," is the company's largest consumer market, but it is also where Homee found its biggest development: business-to-business service.

Schaedler described a chance introduction to a property manager over coffee in Ybor City in 2017. This meeting resulted not only in a contract to service the property manager's 250 single-family residential rental holdings, but also Homee's next evolution in expansion.

"The property manager is not in the scheduling business anymore — we service it on-demand," Schaedler said. "That's really been our growth engine."

Renters can text property managers a problem and, if approved, contact Homee directly. Property managers can monitor the whole process via the app, from a service company's arrival to the project's successful completion, without having to be present or involved.

"As a property manager, you can run up to 100 jobs at any time," Schaedler said.

Kyle Hanson, who oversees one hundred mobile home communities owned by Lakeshore Management, has recently started using Homee for rental repairs.

"The benefit of Homee is that eliminates the waiting — estimates, waiting to schedule service, waiting for the stuff to be done. It's fast, on-demand service," Hanson said.

He also noted that he compared what he paid for Homee to complete service projects with direct quotes from service providers and found Homee to be on or under budget each time. "It's been fantastic for my company."

Approaching new regions, Homee connects with large-scale rental property holders like Lakeshore Management. Launch teams in expansion areas personally meet with each service provider and provide training on the Homee app. New markets from Seattle to Denver to Orlando have driven a 250% growth in revenue in two years with employees based in markets across the country in addition to a Tampa staff of 50.

Schaedler attributes the company's rapid growth and continued success to its commitment to making sure each step in the process is clear and easy for the consumer, whether that consumer is an individual homeowner or to a property management company with hundreds of rented homes.

"We're customer obsessed," Schaedler said.


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