Like many businesses in New Zealand, Builderscrack has been navigating lockdown and the uncertainty of Covid.
We’ve reached a good point to reflect on the recent months, and provide insight for those who are keen to know more.
This is for tradespeople who have invested time and energy through BC for their business over the years – and for those at the start of that journey – who might be curious about what things have looked like for our business recently.
I wanted to share a few thoughts on the recent decisions we’ve made, the impacts we faced, and how we’re looking to the future with an intent to help our tradespeople succeed in a post-Covid economy.
A brief history of our small business
We launched in 2007 by current Managing Director Jeremy, with fellow co-founders Mark and Keith. The original founders remain the sole owners of the business and employ 10 full-time staff, all in Christchurch.
We’ve developed Builderscrack in-house, with everyone collaborating to improve the service from their unique positions within the business. Every customer service request we receive is not only worked through for the customer, but insights are fed directly back into future product development to shape our offering. Almost all revenue generated is reinvested into procurement of jobs for our users, maintenance and continuous improvements of our service.
Observing the impacts
We’ve operated through various economic states now, and have seen steady growth of our service over the years. In February 2020 we had one of our biggest months in terms of job volume (almost 8000 jobs), but in April due to lockdown, we only saw a small fraction of that.
Like the shock that went through most businesses at the time, we began to crunch the numbers on various scenarios; how the government subsidies would play into our commercial viability and so on. Although we’re a tech-based business, our service caters exclusively to the trade industry; unlike some other tech businesses, it wasn’t business as usual.
When lockdown hit we refocused our effort toward projects that were already in progress behind the scenes. We reduced our outgoings where we could and accessed the government subsidy, which allowed us to keep all staff employed. Recognising that tradespeople could only use our platform for essential services over lockdown, we extended Pro subscriptions for free over this period and halted invoicing.
Underlying all of this we were optimistic that things would play out as favourably as they could, and that the economy could open back up as soon as was reasonably possible.
Beginning early May, once it was clear that Alert level 2 was on the cards, we rolled out a major marketing campaign encouraging homeowners to post jobs on Builderscrack, to fix the “quirks” of their home (that had annoyed them through lockdown), hoping to generate some enthusiasm and get people thinking about improving their homes. It was well-received, and we began to see a steady increase in job post volume right up to May 11th, when Level 2 was introduced.
Throughout May, we saw a steady increase in job postings, which could be characterised as a bounce back, right through to June. We’ve seen the highest volume of jobs posted this June, compared to any other June in our history. This is encouraging, but within our business we’re not allowing this demand to create a sense of security.
It’s been encouraging to see the desire of Kiwis to improve their homes post-lockdown, and we’ve got our work cut out to continue to inspire homeowners to direct that money they may have spent on a holiday pre-covid, towards improving their home. There is strong competition for the domestic dollar, and we see our challenge and role to build a case for directing it into the trades.
We share a sense of uncertainty along with many Kiwi businesses of what the economic implications will be short and medium term, but for now we’re in a strong position to continue procuring jobs for our trade users.
We’ll be continuing to work hard (on both product improvements and marketing) to grow our service as a place where Kiwi’s go to find a great tradesperson for any job around their home, and that they should spend their money on local tradespeople, to improve their home.
We’ve been through similar days with the GFC – and we hope to help our trade users weather this storm too.
Thanks for being with us through this time. We’re working hard to keep the work coming through our service for you, and as always we’re here to assist with anything you need.