Most people have experienced the problem — something is broken, dirty or out of place, which results in an incessant nuisance.
That annoyance grows as you interact with the issue on a frequent basis, like an inconvenient pothole right inside of your office parking lot, a constantly empty hand-towel canister in your favorite coffee shop’s bathroom, or even a few-days-old roadkill in the middle of your street. And you have muttered it dozens of times before: “Someone should do something about this” (possibly said with a few expletives under your breath).
You eventually build up enough frustration to do something about it, but you are not even sure who to tell. Do you send an email to the office management company? Will they even respond to your request? If it’s property-related, does your homeowners’ association or apartment maintenance team already know, and where does the request fall on their priority list?
Outside of phone trees and emailing maintenance inboxes, people use a few apps try to solve this issue. Facebook groups are only as good as how often the property manager or the lead maintenance person proactively checks the group feed. If it’s checked sparingly, your issue will linger, unresolved. On Nextdoor, the app geared toward neighborhood-specific groups, neighborhood leaders have to sort through unrelated posts — garage sales, criminal activity, general inquiries, etc. — to find maintenance requests and incident reports.
These apps help to a degree, but they essentially fail to instantly and directly connect the responsible party with the incident reporter — which is why Mark Vande Guchte and Nic Gavalas are building FixMob.
Vande Guchte was annoyed with his office bathroom consistently being out of paper towels or hand soap or the sink being clogged. Gavalas had previously lived in an apartment complex with a pothole at the entrance to its parking garage.
They found that the issue-reporting process either took too long or the reporting system was cumbersome to submit the maintenance details and photos.
“FixMob was born out of that frustration that there is too much friction in the process of just telling someone about an issue that you want fixed,” says Gavalas.
So how will FixMob solve the issue-reporting problem? The app will allow users to quickly record details about the issue at hand, snap a picture of it, and send it to the owner or manager — fitting FixMob’s mantra of snap, send, fixed.
On the backend, the responsible party will immediately receive a notification about the request. He or she can respond to the user to say, ‘thanks for the notice’ and can send a note verifying the issue was fixed.
“We can help a coffee shop or a restaurant or an office park use a more efficient communication tool. It can help any [organization],” says Gavalas.
It’s all about the customer experience, which is critical to any business’ success.
“Customers today expect a lot more than 20 years ago. They expect perfection. It’s all about being responsive to your customer and really addressing what the customer is telling you is important,” adds Vande Guchte.
It is still early in FixMob’s journey. They have been mostly focused on product development, but they plan to pilot the product this spring or summer. Being that this solution can solve maintenance reporting issues in a wide array of industries, they are being very selective about which areas to pilot. Initially, Gavalas and Vande Guchte are focusing on spaces — apartment buildings, homeowners’ associations and office parks — where people spend most of their time.
Their goal is to create a simple, universal maintenance reporting tool that spans from your home to your workplace to your favorite store or restaurant.
To learn more, check out their website.