(Photo by Flickr user urbanfeel, used under a Creative Commons license)
Teris Pantazes knows that finding a contractor to make home repairs can be tough. “It ranks right there with buying a car. It’s a stressful time for people,” he said.
Working in real estate management, Pantazes said he found that it was hard to find good source of information about who is reliable. And a lot of referrals still happen through word of mouth.
“A guy with a truck who doesn’t have a lot of marketing dollars, sometimes those are the best craftsmen in the area,” he said.
With EFynch, Pantazes is looking to make it easier to find those contractors. He said the app can also help the contractors get more work. Or maybe a college student who wants to make some money doing work around a house.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to get done, and a lot of people who want to do it,” he said.
EFynch’s goal is to make it more efficient to connect the two. It’s designed to contain everything needed for a competitive bidding process for homeowners’ jobs. It lets contractors sign up to look for work, and offer a resume. People who need work done can take a picture of the job and describe the job through a questionnaire. When contractors bid, the homeowners choose who they want.
It also has a system where homeowners can pay with a credit card, and the money is held until the job is complete, Pantazes said. The company makes money through a 2 percent fee charged per job.
The City Garage-based startup has three employees. So far, Pantazes said the company raised $70,000. In the first part of this year, they are looking to raise more money, and hire to continue to building out the platform.
The app launched in September for the Baltimore area. It’s been used to arrange 75 jobs so far and has more than 400 members, Pantazes said. With the 50th job, the company found itself in the rare position of celebrating a water softener installation.
While he has 20 years of experience in real estate management, Pantazes said there hasn’t been anything quite like launching a tech business.
“It would’ve been the most successful contracting business in the state of Maryland if we got this kind of feedback,” he said.
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