Paytradie is a fintech startup aimed at simplifying the processes for tradespeople, launching this week. We interviewed founder Brendon Ross to find out more.
//SN: What’s the story of Paytradie? What prompted you to start it, how did you form the team and build it?
At dinner with some friends I was chatting to an electrician who was expressing his frustrations and outlining the pain points he experienced within his small business. He explained that 20 years into his business, cash flow is still an issue, and that it is the same issue that is experienced by many fellow tradies. I was absolutely shocked to hear just how much money was sitting in arrears.
After some extensive research, my primary objective for Paytradie was clear. I needed to create a solution that would make it extremely affordable and simple for any small business in Australia to get on top of their cash flow. They needed to have the option to take their accounting with them on the road using a device they already own; to quote, invoice and receive payment on the spot.
Being a technical founder, I at least had that part in the bag. My focus was then to surround myself with team members who have experience in the same field as my target market as well as members who can provide creative insight.
//SN: What’s the business model and sector you’re targeting? How are you planning on getting customers?
The business model is to charge the customer a flat fee per month. Our most popular package is the Full Package which is only $8 per month. This package gives you full access to all features of Paytradie. We also have a PRO package for users that are doing a turnover of more than $60,000 per year in credit card transactions. This package offers the same features of the Full Package, whilst providing an even more competitive credit card rate. Users are encouraged to start on the $8 p/m package and we will notify them as soon as it makes financial sense for them to jump to PRO.
Target market is an interesting one as we are clearly branded towards the Australian tradie. However, nothing stops us from being perfect for any sole trader type businesses like fitness instructors, photographers, mompreneurs, mobile car-detailers etc.
The start-up trend at present, is to support niche targeted products/services. We have found that our brand stands out to tradies, quite simply because the name specifically relates to them.
//SN: There’s a lot of “fintech” products launching in Australia lately, what do you think is driving this? What’s your point of difference over the competition?
The timing is perfect with mobile being the main driver. Australians are ready to manage their business finances from their own mobile device.
Our strength is that we built our system as a mobile webapp, at an extremely affordable price. Focussing on servicing the zero employee small businesses, we can keep it all very straight forward and jargon free; Paytradie customers don’t need complicated accounting features.
We are bringing tradies and their customers a lot closer together. The job can be wrapped up start to finish on the spot, leaving no loose ends.
//SN: You’re a developer, so what’s been the key challenges building the product? How have you coped with them?
Having a long corporate IT career behind me I am accustomed to Enterprise technology. I had to adjust from corporate culture towards ‘startup’ bootstrap principals and technology. There are also SO many technical implementations to choose from right now. I had to spend a lot of time trying to make things like “Backbone or Angular?” into a simple decision. I can handle the technical challenges as that is my strength, however, being a born introvert means getting in front of people and talking about it is definitely out of my comfort zone. I have a great product though, so I just have to take the first step and then the product speaks for itself.
Prior to bringing on investors, we also had very little budget. We had to be extremely frugal and smart about what we chose to spend funds on; only absolute essentials. This forced us to find ways to keep our operating costs down to the minimum. Now that we have investors, it’s important not to lose that mindset. You obviously still need to be smart about what you spend your budget on, you just have a wider scope to consider. Not only was the business budget small, we also had to live even more lean than usual as I had to quit my full time job in order to dedicate the necessary time to building Paytradie and my wife had just had a baby. Sacrifices that all turned out to be worth it.
//SN: Will you or did you raise money?
We recently received and accepted an offer from two very well established and successful Perth based tradesmen. It feels fantastic to have shareholders with such strong ties to our customer base. We have raised funds and have the right people to assist with our early traction.
//SN: It can be hard launching a product in Perth because of the small local market, how are you coping with that?
Perth is a fantastic place to launch. In WA we often feel a bit left out with everything happening over east, so when you build some ground swell at grass root level, it’s incredibly powerful. This is another reason why we are encouraged by the backing of our latest shareholders who have a proven track record by providing strong support and leadership in communities all over WA.
//SN: How can the Perth startup community help you succeed?
It would be great if they could introduce me to just one person who they think would benefit from using www.paytradie.com so that I can personally provide them with a demo and answer any questions. We are also in the midst of building our social media presence so it would be fantastic if everyone could simply like the Paytradie Facebook page: www.facebook.com/paytradie
//SN: I’m sure there’s a few people out there who can help out. Thanks a lot for talking to us, and the best of luck with the launch, we look forward to seeing more of Paytradie.com!