My start-up: Handy – changing the way people buy services
Oisin Hanrahan: founder and CEO of Handy
Oisin Hanrahan: One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was ‘focus on the people’
Handy, which works across 28 cities in the US, Canada and the UK, is the leading platform for connecting people looking for household services with top-quality, pre-screened independent service professionals for common household services. Irishman Oisin Hanraco-founded Handy with Umang Dua and over four years they have served over three million bookings.
Tell me about Handy and how the business came about? We started Handy over four years ago to change how people buy services. Before Handy I worked in real estate development and construction
I always thought it was very hard to find a handyman or a cleaner. Handy is the easiest way to do that today. You can go to Handy put in your post code and pick your time and date and instantly book cleaners and handymen and after the job is done pay directly through the app. I went to business school and myself and my co-founder started to think about how could we change the way people would buy these services. If you could make it seamless for people to book these services it would be a better experience for customers and for the people selling services as well.
Tell me about your business background I grew up in Dublin and went to Trinity College and then spent three years in Budapest working on real estate development and construction. I started a small business there focus
ed on developing apartments. I moved back to Dublin, then to London before going to Boston to go to Harvard Business School. Between first year and second year I actually stopped going, myself and my co-founder dropped out to start Handy. Over that summer the business really started to take off and we had offers of investment for a couple of million dollars so we focussed on the business full-time.
What was the biggest business challenge you faced? It’s easy to come up with ideas and think that you can bring them to life. The whole idea that you can press a button and book a handy
man and that person will show up requires massive operational and technical work to actually bring these things to life at any sort of scale. That’s the challenge that we face every day.
What do you love about your job, what are the most challenging parts? The most challenging and rewarding part of running Handy is working with so many talented people. Every day I have the opportunity to motivate and lead a group of people dedicated to figuring out how to build the best platform for our customers and professionals.
What advice/key tips would you give to someone starting a business? Don’t fight big waves. Changes are happening in technology constantly and there is a major shift in opinion and execution of processes, it would be beneficial to jump on board. Think about what you believe to be true and write it down as crisply as you can and dedicate a lot of time to proving it to be correct or incorrect. Combine your thoughts on what you believe to be true, follow your instincts. Expect the unexpected
– at scale and pace.
What was the best and worst advice you were given starting the business, did you take the advice? One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was “focus on the people
”. It’s true that you need to be passionate about what you’re building, but also you need to like and invest in who you’re working with. I’ve really taken this to heart and believe Handy is truly the sum of its parts. I’m incredibly proud of the team we’ve built over the years.
Is it possible to achieve work life balance being your own boss? When you are surrounded by a team of amazing people it’s possible to achieve work life balance. At Handy, building and cultivating a great team has always been a priority. When we are stuck on a hard problem or when parts of the business get complicated, we ask ourselves, “Who is the absolute best person we could work with, or who can we get advice from to help navigate this?” Having a team of people I trust to hold
the fort when I’m away from the business gives me peace of mind.
For more see handy.com