On-demand lawn mowing app launches in Durham

Aug. 24, 2014 @ 05:07 PM

When Durham resident James Wilson’s lawn mower failed several weeks ago, he said he wanted to find a lawn service without flipping through the phonebook.

He had a half-acre of grass to cut, which had grown to around 8 inches tall.
But, he discovered he could solve his problem with a smartphone app.
Launched in Durham earlier this month, Mowz is an Apple and Android application that connects customers with local lawn care services.
A customer downloads the app, enters their address, grass length and some other details about their lawn. The app then calculates the price, and a customer can schedule the service as early as the next day.
“With our app, you know exactly when providers are going to be there,” said Wills Mahoney, co-founder of Mowz.
Once the Mowz provider is done mowing, they take a picture of the lawn and the customer rates the job for quality control. Customers can then use the provider for future jobs.
Wilson said the service cost him $69, which include the mowing, weed-eating, and grass blowing.
About 70 percent of the Mowz revenue goes to the providers.
The application hires local contractors who choose from submitted requests. Mahoney said the contractors must have at least $500,000 in general liability insurance and that Mowz checks on the service itself.
“You’re not just scheduling some random guy on the street” he said.
Jeff Brantley, a provider who works for Lawn Works of Raleigh, said the Mowz app now makes up about 20 to 25 percent of Lawn Works’ business.
Lawn Works has about a 40-mile radius of coverage for requests that come in.
Since the app launched in Durham, about 2,300 customers have signed up, Mahoney said.
Mahoney launched Mowz after launching a similar app in Syracuse, N.Y., called Plowz, last November.
Plowz uses the same model to connect customers with snow plowing services.
Plowz and Mowz serve 31 cities throughout the U.S., and Mahoney said for the majority of covered cities, both apps provide service.
Wilson said the weather in Durham would probably not require the Plowz app, but, he said it would be an extremely beneficial service up North.
“Not everybody has a snow plow,” he said. “(Most) people have a lawnmower.”
Mahoney said the company evaluates demographics and judges interest for service based on how many people in a city download the app.
“Durham’s a home run for us right now in terms of consumers and providers,” he said.