#124 – Businesses I Love #2 Mobile mechanic, AirBnB management, the trades

Show notes from Episode #124 of the Sweaty Startup Podcast.

Nick, Dan, and Max join us again to talk about businesses they love, most of which you can find on the Sweaty Startup business idea list. Compared to the ideas discussed in the first episode, these will have a little higher barrier to entry and require some more skill, which makes them even better opportunities to win business through great service.

Mobile Mechanic

  • Max has dealt with many mobile mechanics and never found one that’s good for more than one or two services.
    • No one answers the phone, no one is reliable, and no one is professional.
  • When commercial trucks break down they need servicing ASAP.
    • Time is money, and your business is losing money if a truck is sidelined.
    • Having a mechanic meet you on the spot is much preferred to having a tow truck take you to a shop, and most issues can be fixed on the road.
  • Nick has done two mentoring calls with mobile mechanics and their business is booming.
    • Quality service can be your simple differentiator.
      • Professionalism is key.
      • Go to every small moving company and offer your services. Get branded air fresheners to hand out. Offer to jump trucks for free so that when real maintenance is needed, you’re the one they call.
      • Develop a two-way referral stream with local mechanic shops.
  • $5-10k can get you a cargo van and sufficient equipment to start up.
    • You can charge up to $150/hour and consistently bill over $1k for your fixes.

AirBnB Management

  • Dan recently bought a place in Athens and has been renting it out on AirBnB.
    • When looking into the cost of having somebody else manage it for the peace of mind, he found that it runs 20-40% of total revenue.
  • As a listing manager you don’t need to own the house or handle maintenance, and you can outsource the cleaning.
    • Your main tasks are to respond to people, work with calendars, take pictures, handle reviews, and make the listing popular.
  • The value add is that you can find people that don’t even know they want AirBnB.
    • A lot of owners who are renting out their house can make more if they exclusively list on AirBnB.

The Trades

  • Nick hopes that his young boys go to trade school, and would love nothing more than if they were general contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc.
    • Electricians are desirable because there’s less wear and tear on the body.
    • If you know the business and can provide great service you will find success.
  • General contractors are Nick’s favorite option.
    • General contractors go in a house and set up a vision with the owners for renovations.
      • They contract out the work to plumbers, landscapers, electricians, etc. and take a 10-15% cut of the total project.
    • Success will rely on managing the contractors and managing expectations.
      • If a job can be done in 6 weeks, you need to tell the owners 10 weeks and tell the contractors 4. Come in under time and under budget every time.
  • Most of your competition in the trades don’t consider themselves entrepreneurs, don’t understand marketing or sales, and aren’t leveraging services like Jobber or Google My Business.


Mobile mechanic [1:40]

AirBnB management [12:20]

The trades [19:00]

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.