Launch New Startup for Small Contractors
Steve Raines, Greg Dooley, Steve Kiernan, and Dave Thiemecke create simple, powerful and free software for small contractors.
Everything you need and nothing you don’t — Field Nimble is a new business management software that provides easy tools for small contractors to turn into “lean, mean, fighting machines,” positioning them to compete with larger field service providers.
Cofounded by active angel investors Steve Raines and Steve Kiernan and first time founder Greg Dooley, with the help of business development expert Dave Thiemecke, this power team has launched a new company that calls upon their 10 years of hands-on experience.
“We’re going back to the fundamentals to help take businesses to market,” says Field Nimble Business Development Representative Dave Thiemecke. “Together we’ve started twelve businesses, including Algonquin Studios, SW Remote and our nonprofit, Algonquin Sports for Kids. Now it’s time to for another adventure!”
Field Nimble software was designed for small contractors that work in the residential home services industry generally earning less than $2 million in revenue a year with less than 15 employees. The tools offered are among the first steps needed to become a more successful business.
“We’ve come across so many great heating & cooling, electrical and plumbing technicians interested in starting their own business. All they need is a set of tools to help them mature into entrepreneurs and solid business owners,” says Thiemecke. “Based on our many years of experience in the field service industry, we’ve packaged these tools in a way that’s easy to understand, so small contractors can start using them right out the gate.”
Field Nimble’s collection of tools covers everything small contractors need to run a more profitable business, from tracking contact details and scheduling workers, to providing customers with efficient proposals and invoices. The mobile app even allows service providers to capture credit cards on-site with real time payment processing. Combined, Field Nimble software allows owners to assess how their business is running and create happy customers by managing expectations properly.
“Field Nimble is an incredible resource. It helps small contractors connect with their customers professionally, collect payments faster and make sure their technicians are being utilized properly — all in real-time,” says Thiemecke. “The tools transform expert technicians into business owners with happy employees and repeat customers.”
Right now the Field Nimble team is putting the final wraps on their product and they anticipate the beta to be available within the next couple of weeks. Contractors can sign up on their website at http://fieldnimble.com.
With several contractors already on board, the team is now taking a more hands on approach to gain new partnerships by riding along with service providers, experiencing their day to day. Thiemecke says these “field trips” will also help the company gather extensive customer validation, which the executives will use to refine their value proposition and present the startup to potential investors in the near future.
“We want to speak with as many small contractors as we can to understand their business. Small contractors have a different set of problems to solve than larger contractors do, so it’s really important to us that we engage with them directly,” says Thiemecke. “Our goal is to provide a powerful set of tools to help small contractors work on their businesses, instead of in it all day.”
Diving into a hands-on customer discovery process, Dave visited the home of a small contractor from the Buffalo area to learn more. While the owner’s children were upstairs getting ready for school, he was busy in his home office scheduling his technicians for the day. The man started his business in November 2014. Since that time he has more than doubled the size of his business. He was excited to show Dave what he was doing, and quickly scheduled a ride-along with one of his HVAC technicians for the day. With notepad in hand, Dave hopped into the technician’s van and away they went on their journey.
“I must have taken 12 pages of notes in a six hour period. There are tons of subtle things you would never guess,” says Thiemecke. “We teach our startup founders to talk to at least 100 potential clients to determine if your product or service has legs. In our case, we already know we’ve created something faster, better and cheaper, but we need to see problems through the business owners’ eyes. If we just launch a product with A/B testing, we would miss the context needed to truly solve their problems and deliver something disruptive. That is our main goal.”
Dave paid attention to how the technician outfitted his truck, how he communicated with each homeowner and how he paid attention to potential problem at each site outside of the task he was assigned to perform. Prior to the ride-along Dave was positive a pain point would be locating the necessary parts needed to repair the furnaces. “Not so!” reports Thiemecke.
Instead Dave says he discovered tons of other ways Field Nimble could help grow the contractor’s business — none of which he believes would be apparent solely by speaking with the business owner on the phone. With each ride-along he’s learning more and more about his partners and potential customers. Knowledge the team intends to use to create better business practices and expand their service offerings. “Did you know big contractors offer customers yearly service agreements to increase repeat businesses? Why don’t small contractors offer the same?”
“We’re also earning the opportunity to get potential customers to listen to us, understand our value proposition and how we tell our story,” he added. “The important thing we need to figure out is what Field Nimble can do to be disruptive, and maybe we’re not recognizing that in our product yet. We need to continue diving into the customer discovery process to prevent us from making assumptions. We want to do more than faster, better, cheaper. We want to be a game-changer in the industry!”
Understanding the true needs of their partners is the bedrock of what makes Field Nimble’s business approach so unique. For example, fees for the tools are added into homeowner invoices, making the software free for contractors. Homeowners pay a percentage that is much less than sales tax and enjoy the convenience of an efficient experience from start to finish.
“When the contractor makes money, Field Nimble makes money,” says Thiemecke. “This provides extra incentive to make sure each of our partners is on the right path, and we’re here as advisors every step of the way to assist them in growing their businesses.”
Field Nimble is growing in VCAMP’s co-working space in Buffalo, NY.VCAMP is a rich environment that provides high speed internet, conference rooms and even a gym to sweat out the stress of being a new business owner. Steve, Steve, Greg, and Dave will also be on hand to mentor and engage with their new Field Nimble partners and other founders looking to learn and grow into successful entrepreneurs.
Want to learn more about Field Nimble or VCAMP? Contact Dave Thiemecke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to ready more stories about Upstate NY’s startup ecosystem? Check out the UNY Pulse on UVC.org.