How an Old-School Handyman Used an App to Repair His Business

How an Old-School Handyman Used an App to Repair His Business
Image credit: Hey Ray Handyman (logo)
This story appears in the April 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Handyman Ramon “Ray” Gonzales III admits he was living up to his profession’s negative reputation: archaic business practices and scattershot reliability. Six months after launching Hey Ray Handyman in Nashville, Tenn., he was falling behind on trafficking and tracking invoices and estimates, communicating with clients and collecting payments. And he was showing up late for appointments. His makeshift mobile office—consisting of a dog-eared appointment calendar and loose-leaf notebook—wasn’t cutting it. 

“The way I was running my business was really old-fashioned, and I was losing a lot because of it,” Gonzales says. 

The fix

Searching for a mobile app that could help, Gonzales discovered Breezeworks, an iOS and Android micro-business organizing program. For a monthly fee of $20, the app helps mobile solopreneurs, small-business operators and franchisees (up to 20 users) manage scheduling, appointments, client and internal communications, invoicing, payment processing and bid and job status. In other words, it puts the stuff that all service professionals—from plumbers to photographers to landscapers—see as necessary evils into the one tool that never leaves their side: their phone. 

The results

Gonzales knew he was onto something good when he received an alert from Breezeworks telling him he needed to be at a job in 45 minutes, and that given current traffic conditions it would take him 32 minutes to get there. “I arrived 10 minutes early, and the guy told me, ‘You’re my handyman from now on,’” he recalls.

Admittedly tech-challenged, Gonzales says it took him less than an hour to get up and running on Breezeworks, and only a few days to get comfortable using the program. 

“It has saved me a lot of stress with handling appointments alone,” he says. “It has literally saved me hours, even days, of work a week with my receipts, my invoicing and my books. It keeps me organized and gives a professional front to my brand that I think really sets me apart from the competition.” 

A second opinion

With its ability to coordinate, automate and track essential business functions and customer touchpoints in a timely, professional fashion, all via smartphone, a mobile platform like Breezeworks provides an immediate competitive advantage in fields that are “always way behind the [technology] curve,” says Paul Sanneman, founder of Dream Business Coaching in Novato, Calif. 

Sanneman, who consults with construction contractors as well as other service professionals, believes the hardest part about Breezeworks is getting the tech-averse to change their behavior and actually use it. “If you’re in an industry that’s slow to adopt technology,” he says, “you can leap ahead of the competition for very little money, just by being an early adopter.” 

Edition: December 2016

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