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This article was published 25/4/2016 (1363 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Justin Streich and Aaron Lapointe believe in keeping things green.
The friends are in the process of launching Moweco, an electric mowing service they say offers a smarter approach to lawn maintenance.
At the core of the concept is a patented "sharing economy software" that allows them to assign "close to home" assignments to their lawn care team. This means team members can start their working days from home and eliminate the need to drive their personal vehicles to a centralized office and then drive company trucks back into their neighbourhood to undertake jobs. This approach not only reduces operational costs, but also reduces extra emissions into the atmosphere.
Streich, who lives in Sage Creek, owns Fleet Profit Center, which specializes in implementing GPS fleet tracking solutions to help companies across North America increase efficiency and profitability levels. He said the seeds for the idea for Moweco were sown years ago.
"I started working in the lawn care business as a summer job while I was in university and worked my way up the ladder," said Streich, 43, who has an academic background in computer science.
"During that time, I was exposed to GPS tracking, which is something I use in my current business. At the end of the day, the concept of Moweco is about offering a simple service showing how technology can make things better. It’s about a sharing economy.
"In terms of Moweco, we’re trying to create a distributed workforce rather than a line workforce. In a traditional model, the employee often has to do a lot of driving but if you start your working day in the area you live, you don’t even need a vehicle," he added.
The software used by Moweco to connect customers and service operators can be used on a computer, tablet or smartphone.
While the concept didn’t begin as an exclusively ecologically-focused one, Streich said moving in that direction "solved so many problems."
"An eco-mower is ridiculously powerful and does a great job, so it became a no-brainer. Technically, you can mow all day with two batteries," Streich said.
"As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest problems is trying to find a balance between paying an attractive wage to staff and not pricing yourself out of the market. Our approach is that we don’t want employees, but a collection of mini-franchisees in a given area, so it’s like an owner-operator running their own business and using our software and technology."
Streich said his ideal service provider at this stage is someone attending college or university who is available to work during the summer months. There is an upfront cost for equipment but Moweco is "sponsoring the equipment, so they can pay back the cost as they earn."
He said the company’s website is now up and running and the goal is for it to become completely automated.
"We’re in the early stages and we’re still determining what the public wants, but we’ve had lots of good feedback so far," Streich said.
Lapointe — who is running the day-to-day operations, as well as managing social media, advertising and flyer distribution — said Moweco is about bringing people together.
"I think a big part of the model is the sense of community," said Lapointe, 36, who lives in Transcona.
"We’re trying to connect people, so that neighbours can help their neighbours. In some ways, technology makes things more distant, but our technology brings two human beings together. If you work in the community that you live in, I think it fosters a sense of pride."
Go online at moweco.ca for more information.
Community journalist — The Lance
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7111