Our Response to the TaskRabbit Outcry

Within the past few weeks we’ve been getting a lot of emails about the frustration that people are now having with TaskRabbit. These emails are coming from people that had never heard of us or simply just looking for a new platform to offer their services. After reading our response many of them seemed quite excited to learn that we have actually been around longer than TaskRabbit while leveraging a similar bidding platform- which we have yet to abandon.

So let us say this publicly and for the record, we have heard your outcry and we will be reopening our bidding system to the general public once again starting August 15th. Currently we only allow authorized agents to post jobs but we will soon allow posts from the general public once more. We will offer a range of categories so don’t worry, you will be able to offer whatever services you were offering on TaskRabbit — and maybe even more.

We will begin reaching out to investors to help us quickly raise financing to market our website outside of our current Orlando, Fl. home so please continue to check back frequently. We will begin our expansion efforts in the Bay Area and cover all 50 states within the next 3 months.

Thank you again to everyone that reached out to us. And stay tuned for the next social marketplace that was already first to begin with. (smile).

Leave any comments you have below.

-CEO

BidWilly Founder Plays Undercover Boss

BidWilly CEO plays undercover boss.

BidWilly CEO plays undercover boss.

Today was a real eye opener for me as I had the chance to play undercover boss after hiring a handyman on BidWilly. I didn’t know what to truly expect since I rarely get to interact with our contractors being that my VP handles most of the day to day tasks. This year I wanted to do things a little different so I decided to use BidWilly… undercover.

From the moment Arthur pulled up this morning at our scheduled time of 9:15am, I could see that he was a really great guy to have on our team! After showing him all the things I needed done around the house he proceeded with hanging my ceiling fans. Once he was done with that he then took on the task of making my front yard look beautiful! He cleaned my flower beds by removing old mulch and weeds, went to purchase new mulch from Home Depot and also installed some black trim for me to make things look really nice.

While working he was telling me about his clients in Orlando and all the types of work he had been doing. I was actually stunned lol. I couldn’t believe we were so busy! In fact, once he left my place at 4:30 he had two other jobs to go do. All I can say is that I am happy to see BidWilly make a difference to many small businesses.

You are invited to attend!

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the very first TeenLET seminar dedicated to assisting teenagers who wish to pursue a career in leadership, entrepreneurship, or technology. Our goal is to reach Central Florida teens in a non-traditional way that caters to each individual kids uniqueness and personality. In order for us to do this, we can only service 100 students during our first enrollment.

Be sure to check out TeenLET and don’t forget to register. We are looking forward to meeting you in March.

Orlando’s very own, Mayor Buddy Dyer, will be giving  the opening remarks at our very first TeenLET seminar. We are very excited to have the Mayor’s support as we help to educate more teenagers on leadership, entrepreneurship, and technology in Central Florida.

Mayor Buddy Dyer to give opening remarks

The Daily Deals Makeover: Deals are Now Offered by Your Neighbor

PeopleDeals: Powered by BidWilly

PeopleDeals: Powered by BidWilly

We’ve all heard of deal sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial. In fact there are now several hundred of them that all offer deals from local companies in your city. As bargain shoppers we have all fell in love with the deals being offered, in fact, many of them are hard to resist (see a list of these deals on our website)!

But today we have turned the corner in who can offer daily deals. We’re not sure who came up with the idea that daily deals should only be offered by companies, but it’s time that someone changed that. Yep, you guessed it! BidWilly.com will begin showcasing Daily Deals offered by your neighbor. Think about it, isn’t that the way it used to be years ago anyway?

Beginning October 1st you will see a new section on our site called PeopleDeals. PeopleDeals will showcase deals provided by skilled people in your community looking to earn extra money or just willing to lend you a helping hand. The best thing about PeopleDeals is that we do not charge the person offering a deal as seen with other daily deal sites.

So don’t forget to check out our website on October 1st as we launch our PeopleDeals feature. We think you will find it quite amazing. If you don’t find the deal you want, you can always request that people submit a deal to you. Gotta love it!

40 under 40: Solomon Williams

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Solomon Williams (second from left), founder & CEO, BidWilly.com

See more at Orlando Business Journal 40 Under 40 2012

Name, title and company: Solomon Williams, Founder & CEO, BidWilly.com

Age: 34

My best business achievement in the past year: Being able to put more small businesses to work through winning contracts. We are now up to $720k a year in small contracts/jobs awarded, our best year to date.

Key business lesson learned: To not wait until things are perfect when launching your business or new service. Test the market as early as possible to gauge a response from your potential customers.

Community involvement: I spend a lot of my time speaking to at-risk youths and educating aspiring entrepreneurs. I also like to work one-on-one with the homeless to provide job placement assistance or food/shelter.

First job: Williams Floor Covering & Carpet Cleaning (family business)

Favorite reward for myself; A fresh pair of Adidas

Favorite eatery: New Orleans Cajun Seafood (Orlando)

Little-known fact about me: I’m from a small town that no one probably heard of – Gretna Florida.

Motto: Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

I’ve always wanted to learn: To speak Spanish and Chinese

Where I spend most of my disposable income: Traveling

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere I haven’t been (up next, China)

Favorite phone app: Zite (for now)

Favorite song on the radio now: Best You Ever Had (John Legend)

What superpower I’d want and why: The ability to teleport. Because it’s cheaper than flying to all the places I want to go.

Favorite cartoon as a kid: Popeye

What celebrity I’d like to trade places with for a day: Donald Trump

BidWilly CEO chosen as one of Orlando’s 40 most successful and influential people under 40

ImageSeems like all the hard work is starting to pay off for our Founder & CEO!

Believing that he can somehow change the way business is won, Solomon Williams, founder of BidWilly.com, created a website where entrepreneurs, businesses, and the unemployed can compete head-to-head for odd jobs submitted by everyday people. Solomon believed that creating a platform where businesses can see what others are bidding would eventually lead to more work being rewarded to small businesses. It turns out he was right.

Just this year, BidWilly is seeing tremendous growth. The kind of growth you’d expect from a company operating by a team of 25 or more.

But that’s not the case.

Solomon has executed flawlessly on his plans which shows that it only takes one person with a vision to change the world. Today, BidWilly has only 3 full time workers, yet more than 3,000 people in Central Florida are using this new service to find contractors to do small and odd jobs. Today, more than $60,000 a month is being poured into the hands of small businesses and the unemployed because of BidWilly.

With Solomon being selected as Orlando Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 is an indicator that this small-town entrepreneur is well on his way to changing the way business is won in America.

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BidWilly to host it’s First Teen Entrepreneurship Competition – Orlando, Florida

ImageIf you haven’t heard, entrepreneurship is the key to a thriving economy. What’s even greater is that entrepreneurship gives people a chance to live out their dreams.

In order to make this dream a reality sooner rather than later, BidWilly will be hosting the very first teen entrepreneurship competition to reward our most talented 9th-12th graders. The first part of the competition will require teens to submit their video on our website and accumulate a minimum of 250 votes to be considered in the top 12. The top 12 will then present Live on stage to a group of business experts as well as one celebrity judge. The grand prize will be $2000 and a full year of business coaching to ensure the success of their new business. We will also honor our other 11 participants with prizes and gifts from our sponsors.

For contest rules and to officially enter, please check back on September 1, 2012. In the meantime here are some helpful tips as this date approaches:

  1. Start by thinking of a great idea that you would like to implement. Remember, your idea should be something that isn’t too far fetched. Most successful businesses keep it simple and just add a slight twist to cater to their target customers.
  2. Start preparing your video pitch. Your video should be a 2 minute pitch about your business explaining who you are, what your business is about, and how you plan to make money. Lastly, tell us how your business will help people in your local community. All videos should be uploaded to YouTube. And remember, you will not be judged on the quality of the video, but instead by the quality of your presentation and personality.
  3. Seek advice. Don’t try and go at it alone. There are a ton of resources in Orlando ready to help you at no charge. Some great resources include the UCF Small Business Development Center, SCORE, and the National Entrepreneurship Center.

To kick off the event we are working with Mayor Buddy Dyer and other prominent figures in the Orlando Community. We look forward to a fun and exciting event!

Get Out of the Office – Best Work Locations in Your City

Today, being confined to a physical office is not what entrepreneurs prefer. Nor do we like being confined to our home office. Below, we have listed some of the best work locations in your city that won’t cost you a dime.

Your Local Library
Trust me, libraries aren’t what you think. Turns out that many local libraries have a variety of free to low-cost services that an entrepreneur could only dream of. Whether you are conducting a team meeting in one of the large meeting rooms, or just using the free internet access, libraries are the way to go. And what’s even better is being able to bounce your business ideas off “real” potential customers as opposed to like-minded people just like you. Libraries are a great way to get a different perspective on your business.

Barnes & Noble
Yes, bookstores are still around despite the fact that Amazon is taking over. Working out of your local bookstore gives you access to a wealth of knowledge, all at your fingertips. This has been a favorite getaway spot for me to get the creative juices flowing while banging out a little work at the same time. Your local Barnes & Noble offers free internet access and typically has a Starbucks located inside. The only drawback is finding a spot with a plug. But if you carry an iPad as I do, you have nothing to worry about.

Best Work LocationStarbucks
Sometimes its good to grab a cup of coffee and relax on the scene while using the free internet access provided by Starbucks. Plus, you get to meet a ton of people with different backgrounds ready to be engaged in good conversation. Just remember,  don’t forget your business cards! Your local celebrity or millionaire investor may just spark up a good conversation with you this time.

Cigar/Wine Bar
On Friday, treat yourself to working at a local cigar bar downtown. Just remember, it’s not about getting a lot done, the purpose is to simply not go idle while having a couple of adult beverages. Free internet access isn’t always guaranteed but in most cases it will be. Besides, you’ll only be there for a couple of hours anyway, so find some offline work to do if you don’t have your own wi-fi hotspot. Come up with verbiage for your blog or something, just don’t post it yet until you are sober. 🙂

So, who needs an office? I sure don’t.

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BidWilly is now on AngelList

Finally, BidWilly is on AngelList. This means that we are entertaining the idea of raising capital to grow our business on a national level. The good thing is that we have proven that our business model is viable and that we can sustain our growth. Don’t forget to check us out.

BidWilly vs. TaskRabbit vs. Zaarly

Truth is, BidWilly never saw TaskRabbit or Zaarly as competitors. In fact, these two companies have now validated something that the BidWilly founder believed for quite some time.

I’ve always thought: Winning new customers should be about having the best service at the best price.

My inspiration for creating BidWilly started when I was 7 years old working for my dad’s carpet cleaning business (plug: Williams Floor Covering & Carpet Cleaning). I still remember seeing the faces of happy customers after showing them the great work we had done! Our carpet cleaning services were so outstanding that one customer thought it would be a good idea to give my dad a horse to show his appreciation! Yes a horse! Unbelievable I thought.

“We didn’t get any other gifts the size of a horse but we did have raving fans that gave us $10 and $15 tips.”

Despite creating raving many customers were still choosing a bigger company to provide carpet cleaning services. In fact, the company they chose probably received 75% of the carpet cleaning business in our town. A lot of our new customers had already given this company a try and called us after feeling they didn’t get the quality service they deserve. I overheard conversations like this all the time as I sat in the van waiting to ride to our next job.

Customer’s would say: If I had known I would have called you guys first!

It wasn’t long before I realized how winning new business really works. The companies that won were the one’s listed in the Yellow Pages, had coupons in the Sunday’s paper, TV commercials, and radio ads to crowd the market. Everytime I heard a radio advertisement I would think about how cool it would be if my dad’s business was the one they were talking about! I believe it was moments like this that inspired me to change the way business is won.

Solomon Jr (me): If I have my way, winning new customers will be based purely on having the best service at the best price. This is how it should be.

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BidWilly is stirring things up

This is a video that was posted about us on Youtube. I thought it was worth sharing. We’re hoping to see a lot more of these  spring up over the next six months.

Zipcar rival targets UCF students

Only 4 months after launching Zipcar at UCF there is already a new alternative  being presented to students. But this time the students will be calling the shots.

BidWilly is an Orlando-based technology company that allows for people to name the price for the services or tasks they need done. Other people in the area can bid to perform the task  and in many cases the prices are driven lower than the named price. It’s being called competitive bidding.

In this competitive marketplace bidders get to see the price that others bid, helping to drive competition. This means if you offered to provide transportation service for $15 someone can immediately come back and under bid you right in front of your eyes. Sometimes by as much as 90%.

As for trust, BidWilly is fully integrated with Facebook. You can see ratings, reviews and more on the person offering to give you a ride – and vice versa.

Using BidWilly for finding rides is expected to be a very popular service amongst college students. By March the company will be releasing its mobile app dedicated strictly to this effort. We’ve been told its called FaceTaxi.

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