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Andrew Lawton

Honest Day's Work Founder Andrew Lawton, has established an online platform to match up prospective clients and contractors. Picture courtesy of the Gisborne Herald

“If you imagine what buying products at auction was like before Trademe – no one was doing it – I believe that is what buying services will be like in the future.

“I really want to create opportunities for people to get services easily with an open-costing model where the charges are visible, not bundled together with all the other costs. On the contractor side it creates an avenue for people to enter the market and create their own future.”

For more information, or to book or register a job, go to www.honestdayswork.nz

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All in an Honest Day's Work

13 June 2018

If it takes a village to raise a child then it takes a team to start a business, something Andrew Lawton learned the easy way through Activate Tairawhiti.

After more than a decade working in roading, Mr Lawton saw a gap in the market – where the process of pricing jobs was taking up unnecessary resources.

He took the idea of creating a personal tender system where tradesmen and women can use their skills to find the work they want – vice versa for prospective clients who may not have the time to ring around for pricing.

The result was Honest Day’s Work, an online platform where clients register a job – small home jobs such as a deck rebuild for example are free, whereas complex or commercial jobs pay one dollar per document uploaded, up to nine dollars maximum.

Contractors then select jobs that fit their skill set, with clients having the option to accept or decline – or treat the job like a tender process, should numerous operators submit a price.

Once the job is done both sides then rate the experience, creating a self-regulating eco-system – much like Trademe.

In fact, that is kind of the point, says Mr Lawton.

“If you imagine what buying products at auction was like before Trademe – no one was doing it – I believe that is what buying services will be like in the future.

“I really want to create opportunities for people to get services easily with an open-costing model where the charges are visible, not bundled together with all the other costs. On the contractor side it creates an avenue for people to enter the market and create their own future.”

Mr Lawton had the idea and knowledge of the contracting industry, pricing and commercial tender processes but the business side was new – enter Activate Tairawhiti.

First Mr Lawton was put on to AT Business Growth Advisor David Pardy, after a family member mentioned he might be a good candidate for AT’s Economic Investigation and Research Fund.

“I had seen the funding application online and completed a draft. My first impression was that the process would be simple.

“David sort of stopped me and said, ‘hold up, we want to see a robust structure, business plan and financial understanding of where you are heading’.”

AT BGAs Mr Pardy and Tui Babbington, work through the Regional Business Partner Network. They cover the East Coast region and their purpose is to enable businesses to find stability and growth. They do this through a number of avenues - whether it be business planning, vouchers for professional development services and access to national networks. BGAs also run in-region events that better the business sector, like Tairawhiti Startup Weekend and Tairawhiti Techweek ’18.

In Mr Lawton’s case, he needed to develop a business plan.

“Working with David was hugely valuable. There were levels of detail he added that I definitely did not have earlier and it will really set me in good stead for the next three years.”

With Mr Pardy’s support, Mr Lawton went on to receive a 20,000 dollar EIR Fund grant, due to the strength of his budget outline and sound business plan.

Mr Pardy says Mr Lawton is a great example of how AT wants BGA services to function.

“Andrew had a unique business concept, started the journey and then came to Activate for support. He is intelligent, motivated and brave enough to pursue his idea.”

“We want to develop and grow Tairawhiti’s business community. It makes sense for us to help people like Andrew achieve their goals, he really has taken full advantage of our services and that is exactly what they are there for.”

Mr Lawton also signed up to AT’s Business Mentor Programme in partnership with Business Mentors NZ.

BMs are for business owners who want to improve their business, implement change, or need inspiration and guidance.

“There are 16 BMs in Tairawhiti with experience and expertise across a broad range of sectors and disciplines. All BMs are locals that volunteer their time, knowledge and experience,” says Mr Pardy.

Mr Lawton was matched with Gisborne District Councillor, Boutique on Main Street BMS and Twenty Two Above co-owner, Larry Foster.

 “It has been a really great experience,” says Mr Foster.

“I have been in business for 40 odd years and I think it is easy to take your knowledge and experience for granted. It is great being a mentor, using your experience, offering positive advice and helping businesses identify their strengths.”

Mr Foster says Honest Day’s Work is a first for New Zealand.

“We love ‘firsts’ here and that is a strength that Andrew has now realised he needs to utilise. I think being a business mentor is also about letting people know that you cannot do it all on your own, there are people in Tairawhiti willing to contribute and make it easier for you.

Mr Lawton says thanks to Activate, he feels confident about the future of Honest Day’s Work.

“I am much better-off having that contact with Larry. He has a huge wealth of experience, he knows the community, sees value in my idea and has really been encouraging me to push forward.

“I recommend businesses work with Activate Tairawhiti from the outset. David helped set me up by working through the business plan and providing those funding and mentoring channels – now Larry is helping me into the future, he is someone really positive to answer to.”

Six months ago, Mr Lawton saw a gap in the market, now he is self-employed and helping better the trade industry.

It has taken a few leaps of faith along the way and a few willing helping hands, but Mr Lawton has no regrets – well maybe one.

Unsure of whether he would receive an EIR Fund grant, he sold his beloved boat to fund his business through the startup phase.

“The next day the grant was approved,” he says.

“Worth it though.”

 

 

 

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13 June 2018