Hmm, do I fix this drain myself or hire… Of course I need a plumber, but I still need to find one. With today’s tight budgets, all options – whether planning an event or making a home repair – are on the digital table. Peer-to-peer platform HireJungle.co.uk makes it possible to hire goods and services from either businesses or individuals.
HireJungle displays search results as both products and services, which allows users to assess if the best option is to hire skilled professionals or to purchase products and go the route of a cheaper, DIY solution. Owners win by earning extra income from hiring out products / services and “hirers” win by being able to make cost-effective, informed decisions.
There are no fees attached to listing goods and services classifieds (though businesses have pay options for featured ads), because providing commission-free transactions and publications – empowering the crowd – are among the founders’ core values. HireJungle serves only as the interface between parties, allowing owners and buyers to formalize individual contracts.
This fast-growing startup based in London has thousands of local businesses registered, taking advantage of free listing. Geo-location features and a car hire price comparison booking engine are just a couple of the dynamic elements the innovative team has assembled to help visitors find the best deals around. Director Marcelo Barreneche tells us more:
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I can argue that my curiosity, ambition and creativeness powered my entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. Internet was the medium that allowed me to obtain scalability and cost-effective ways to get started.
What inspired your current startup?
The international crisis context was the trigger, where new ways of getting value for money and extra income became a must. From a practical perspective, the first “Eureka” moment was when I needed a drill for a home refurbishing task and I didn’t have one, but I was not happy with the option of buying a new one only to use it just once a year. Then I thought it may be a good idea to hire one, but where, from whom, and there started the brainstorming that lead to this peer-to-peer platform.
I took the opportunity of being in my MBA entrepreneurship class – where a feasibility study of new project was required as part of the course deliverables – to present HireJungle. It was another incentive for conducting the whole research and to start connecting the dots.
What makes your startup so killer? How is it different from the competition?
Our USP [unique selling proposition] could be summarized as follows:
- The only platform that allows any individual or company to hire and hire out GOODS and SERVICES
- It’s unlimited and free
- Product and Services categorizations are linked in a fashion that ensures relevant search results, displaying service classifieds on the left-hand side and product classifieds on the right. For instance, a search query for “builders in London” will display results of builders’ services available in that area, as well as building-related products for DYI such as drills, ladders, and screwdrivers just to name but a few
- Safe trading. All users are requested to define a deposit to insure the products that they are hiring out.
Other add-ons such as the detailed design, friendly brand, easy-to-reach and responsive customer support, powerful search algorithm and multimedia content available for uploading (videos, images, rich text, etc.) contribute to a better user experience overall.
How do you motivate yourself and your team?
As an entrepreneur, I embrace difficult challenges. The idea of creating a brand new concept on the Internet, which is an awfully difficult task, motivates me – as it fulfills the entrepreneurial spirit of conquering the unknown and taking the lead in an industry.
After long months of thinking and working hard, when we reach a point where the project proves to be useful for Internet crowds and its popularity starts growing – it’s a pleasant experience that keeps us going. Being part of something special keeps us all pulling together toward the final objectives.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are struggling to get their businesses off the ground?
- Get started now with the toolkit they already have, no excuses are acceptable, and prepare themselves for a long but rewarding journey.
- See the bigger picture yet focus – tackle their day to day obstacles to get where they want to be. On their way to achieve the final goal, they will find short-cuts and new opportunities that will enrich their experience and get them where they want even faster.
- Work hard, but be smart.
How do you handle frustration or disappointment?
By enabling plan B or C. Entrepreneurship is like survival in the animal kingdom, you don’t have time for being upset. If something went wrong, you need to fix it asap. Fast decision-making in those critical moments could be the difference between success and failure.
You can’t lose faith, that’s not an option. Tough moments will always be there. An entrepreneur will be assessed not for being the most creative, intelligent, or hard working, but for how he or she overcomes adversity.
What are the top 3 online tools / websites / devices that you couldn’t live without? (And why?)
It’s the largest source of information the world has ever seen, and also provides a lot of critical services for day to day operations – and comes with applications such as adowrds, adsense, gmail, maps, docs, analytics, etc. In most cases, it’s the largest source of marketing for online ventures.
2. SeoQuake / MozBar
Either of these toolbars are critical for labeling or benchmarking websites and for quickly identifying their authority on the go. Knowing “who is saying what” can change your perception and acceptance of any statement, as well as the value you attribute to it.
It’s imperative to have Internet in your pocket – access to your email, affordable communications and maps.
If you had $1 million and one year off, what would you do? (Other than work on your current startup)
I would enjoy traveling abroad with my wife and daughter. An investment of time and money in our house or cars would always be welcomed too.
How do you maintain work / life balance?
Well, the fact that I have a wonderful and supportive wife makes everything easier. We co-work on the vast majority of our projects, an ideal scenario for balancing work / life on a daily basis.
I find it very important to wake up really early and start working before 8am, to sometimes be free at 6pm and do some sports and have family time.
Reducing traveling times is also key to achieving this balance.
How has being an entrepreneur changed you for the better? How has it enriched your life?
Being an entrepreneur is very stressful sometimes but hugely fulfilling. It teaches you a lot of core values and skills that you won’t get elsewhere.
With your feet on the ground, you get to appreciate everything in a whole new dimension.
What is the tech scene like where you live?
London has one of the most advanced tech scenes on Earth. Both private and public entities make good use of the available technologies – reducing times of bureaucratic paperwork, time that can be spent on leisure or working.
On top of that, the high credit card and broadband penetration makes it a very attractive spot for launching any tech endeavor. Banks also underpin the overall operations, creating a favorable entrepreneurial atmosphere.
How can the KillerStartups community help YOU?
By sharing suggestions or constructive criticism. KillerStartups is a truly tech-savvy community, and its feedback is very valuable for any online business and entrepreneur.