Written by Robert Leitch.
Cincinnati, Ohio’s, HireWheel makes finding someone to do work on your home easy. While most people head to popular review sites like Yelp when looking for contractors, those reviews can be highly subjective. HireWheel has created a more objective-driven approach to selecting a contractor by removing customer reviews from the equation. The company uses geographic data to identify who has worked on homes in your neighborhood in the past, and how many jobs in the area they’ve completed.
“Home improvement isn’t like a restaurant or a spa where people post a lot of reviews online,” said Matt Lenahan, CEO of HireWheel. “In fact, less than 1 percent of homeowners ever leave a review for home services, and if they do it’s often because they had a negative experience. Instead of reading reviews, we think it’s just as important to see that a contractor actually shows up and finishes the work.”
HireWheel’s website allows users to search for everything from electricians to plumbers to roofers. By simply entering your address, the HireWheel technology can analyze the details of your home, identify contractors who work in the area and give you a list of who would be best to do the work.
“A contractor who does 90 percent of their work in new-construction condos is probably not the right person if you have an historic townhouse,” said Lenahan. “You’d have no way of knowing that without looking at all their completed past projects. HireWheel compiles and analyzes that data so our users don’t have to.”
The search results also include a list of all prior work done on your home and who completed that work. All listings are from companies or individuals who have proven track records in your neighborhood, based on permit records acquired from city and county permitting departments.
Lenahan has worked in real estate for more than a decade, including time as a mortgage broker and a licensed property and casualty insurance agent. This experience taught him the most important aspects of buying and selling a home, and what information buyers should know when signing a mortgage.
“The average homeowner lacks 22 years of knowledge regarding the repair and inspection history of their property,” said Lenahan. “HireWheel supplies this information to give greater context to existing homeowners and those in the market to move.”
HireWheel has worked closely with Cintrifuse, The Brandery and CincyTech, all southwest Ohio partners of Ohio Third Frontier. Cintrifuse offered the company office space and introduced them to other venture capital funds to help raise money. HireWheel is a 2014 graduate of The Brandery, which invested $20,000 in the company. The company also received investment from CincyTech to expand their team and scale their business.
When Lenahan started HireWheel in 2014, the company consisted of himself and chief technology officer Stephen Sperry. Today the company has four full-time and four part-time employees.
Lenahan moved to Cincinnati from New York City right before founding HireWheel, and has found the city to be a hub of technology innovation.
“When I first moved here, I expected to have to commute to Chicago or New York all the time to create a successful tech company,” said Lenahan. “I had no idea that I could get the same caliber of expertise with just a 20-minute commute to downtown Cincinnati. This city is home to nationally-recognized resources like The Brandery and is a hotbed for startups and entrepreneurship that shows no sign of slowing down.”