Locate Express makes it happen, on the spot

By Robb Hicken/ chief storyteller

When Troy Paulin, of Optimum Underlayments and Plumbing in Nampa, was doing a floor repair in Boise, he was uncertain but curious about a New Yorker’s idea of generating customers by cellphone. 

“The idea was great,” Paulin says. “To be honest, I didn’t think the technology was there, or know how fast it would take to get it running.”

Smartphone technology had already collided with GPS navigation units to track users’ location instantaneously. The concept is simple: connect consumers to service providers – carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc. – based on where the provider is working at the time of a call.

“It was a lead generator, of sorts,” Paulin says, “and, it seemed to be a good idea that could work.”

Paulin says he walked away from the conversation thinking it would take several years to develop, but remained curious.

Over the course of several weeks as the work concluded on the former-New Yorker Douglas Joseph’s home, ideas were bounced off Paulin as the software was developed. At the end of the construction, Locate Express was completed and ready to launch.

“The technology was developed and we got it on our phones,” Paulin says. “We were up and going, it was great. The best part was it helped to track down leads and allowed us to provide the services, without a large investment in time and money.”

Almost 18 months later, Locate Express is generating leads for numerous businesses in its data base. 

“No one does it quite like we do,” says Joseph as he talks about the development of Locate Express . “No one has made the connections in quite the same way as we have with GPS. This is a technology that works 24/7, and works around the world.”

When Better Business Bureau CEO Dale Dixon heard about the lead generator, he immediately jumped into making it happen.

***

Dale Dixon, President BBB

Dixon had heard of the fund-raising efforts of the software developer and witnessed the product first hand. Joseph was looking for financial support to get the service provider finder funded and populated with credible businesses.

“BBB’s mission is to elevate the business community so every business works ethically, providing the best service, honoring their commitments and being responsive to consumers,” Dixon says.

The thought was populate the new locater with BBB accredited businesses, tell the public about the new system and channel service request through Locate Express.

“Better Business Bureau can connect you to a trusted company that is close to your house right now,” says Dixon. “If you share your address and phone number with Locate Express, within less than a minute,  a BBB accredited business will be available to serve you.”

 After soliciting BBB business participation, Locate Express now has providers in more than 20 categories of service. Beta testing has been done and its first service calls are being completed.
***
Boise resident Jennifer Hales had lost part of her backyard fence to weather. As she visited with her neighbor, they agreed to get someone in to effect the repairs. Within a day, a contractor called, offered a repair price and a deadline.
Hales asked for a written bid, and was told it wasn’t necessary. She thought otherwise and turned to the BBB seeking a trusted contractor.
“I went to the BBB website and I saw the Locate Express logo, and clicked in,” she says. Within 38 seconds, she had an accredited BBB contractor calling her with a written bid for the repairs.
Dixon says, “If you choose to use the company, the customer hits accept, and they’ll receive a call from the company immediately.”
 
Douglas Joseph, Locate ExpressJoseph says this immediacy is the leveler in the playing field between the bigger and smaller contractors. Phone calls are directed on two methods, location and call response time.
“You need to have the GPS on to be located, in the Locate Express data base,” Joseph says. “If that’s the case, there’s a high probability of getting a job request to where you are at that a time.”
Paulin says when Joseph first broached the idea of making it pay for itself, the discussion went everywhere from taking 8 percent to 10 percent of a job billing to paying a straight finder’s fee.
“It boiled down to a solid number that you would pay when you get the lead,” Joseph  says. “As long as you make the connection, the price is great.”
Joseph says in the world of marketing a $10 referral fee is probably the least expensive referral fee out there.
“It’s a huge value proposition,” he says. “This is a one-on-one sales opportunity, it’s not you and five other businesses in that category.”


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