In a busy and vibrant city like Miami, it is often difficult to find time to take care of one’s own home. Packed work schedules leave little time for everyday tasks like cleaning your room and walking your dog. In this modern age of convenience, it seems hard to believe that there is not a more efficient way to complete these tasks.
Hello Alfred is the solution to this problem. This company is a time saving, operating system for your home life. This means Hello Alfred is a service provider that connects you with trustworthy personnel that does household tasks for you. They do this by combining human-centered technology with personal hospitality. Through the Hello Alfred app, customers can create a list of chores that their “Home Manager” will accomplish while they are at work. These tasks can range from things like watering your plants to buying groceries for the week. The Hello Alfred Home Managers can also handle fun one-off requests. From picking up a birthday gift, to even planning a party for that special someone, the Hello Alfred personnel can do it all.
Interview with Rick Rios (South Florida Market Lead):
In your own words, can you explain how Hello Alfred works?
Hello Alfred can be broken down into 3 key things. First is technology. Our simple app allows you to make a custom routine, that an actual person will perform for you. These activities can be things like finding a dog groomer or going grocery shopping. Next is the fact that all of our Hello Alfred (Home Managers) are W-2 employees. This means that all people employed by Hello Alfred are actual employees. They get vetted and receive the benefits/insurance of any employee. We did this because, when you have to trust someone to go into your home, you want to make sure that the person will empower the resident. It’s like how Alfred helps Batman, a man without superpowers, do superhuman things. The third is the in-home commerce platform. When you order food, for example, you still have to facilitate the delivery, put it into your fridge, and dispose of the waste. If your order through Hello Alfred, your Home Manager will do these things for you. Think of an espresso machine. If a resident wants to always have their espresso machine ready to go but does not want to buy the pods themselves or fill the machine, they could potentially buy the espresso package. This means that not only would the Home Manager buy all the pods and supplies, but also fill it up and have it ready to go as a part of their weekly routine.
What makes your company different from other service provider companies, like Craigslist or TaskRabbit?
The biggest difference between us and our competition is that we leverage actual company employees. On websites like TaskRabbit and Craigslist, you can ask someone to hang a picture on your wall. What you can’t ask is: Is this person trustworthy? Do you want this person coming into your home? When you use Hello Alfred, you ask us once and it’s done. All while building an actual relationship with a person, not just an app. We have your credit card on file, people ready to go, and all the vendors vetted. It is just a matter of you sending us a request, and we facilitate it. Also, we are the only company trying to put people back into the service, and build relationships with the residents.
When searching for people to be the actual service providers, what kind of background and qualification checks do you do?
We are always recruiting great people. Our Alfreds come from different backgrounds and experiences. We have former real estate agents, hospitality specialists, stay-at-home moms who want something to do, and people that are authors/artists who want a stable income. While some people apply online, we usually recruit through Linked-In. We follow that up with a phone screening, and if they pass the normal test then we go onto face-to-face interviews. After that interview, we go onto the background checks and the vetting process
What were the most difficult obstacles in getting your business off the ground?
When we first started we were purely B to C; business to consumer. This didn’t allow us to scale and it became difficult at the beginning from an efficiency standpoint. As a resident there is only one way to access the service, you have to live in a building that partners with Hello Alfred. This means that Hello Alfred is an amenity and that we look to buildings for further business opportunities, not residents.
Why did you choose to expand into Miami and how are you looking to expand in the future (specifically into houses)?
Well, right now we are in about 20 cities, and our goal is to be all over the United States. We expanded into Miami because it has one of the most attractive markets in the United States. There is a lot of need for high-end services and value creation. If you look at the skyline, all those buildings are potential partners. And, with the rate we’re growing now, we should continue to expand throughout the rest of Florida by the end of the summer.
What reasoning do you use when choosing to partner with certain businesses?
We currently partner with two kinds of businesses: building and vendors. In buildings, there is a sort of class system, with buildings being A, B, or C. A buildings are like the really luxurious buildings in Brickell. Those types of buildings are our typical partners that we pursue to build relationships with. For vendors, we test them, vet them, make sure they have insurance, and see if they can handle escalation with our residents very quickly. And of course, we make sure they do great work. And when they mess up, what does that interaction with the resident look like.
What is the most challenging part of running your company?
Probably awareness. When we scale into a new building, sometimes residents will think it sounds too good to be true. They assume there’s some kind of gimmick involved, so not everyone utilizes right away. But, once people realize that were solid and complimentary, it gets much easier.
What made the LAB the ideal place to work for you? What made you decide to join a coworking space?
At the end of the day, we are a start-up. There’s something to be said about being around other people going through the same problems. But, we specifically chose the LAB because this place is special. There’s a lot of collaboration between people, the fun environment, and the connections brought with LAB ventures.