Timmy Curran & TheProPost.com in VC Star
Professional surfer Timmy Curran is trying to ride an entrepreneurial wave to success with the launch of a website that helps Ventura County residents hire other kinds of pros.
TheProPost.com connects people with local, qualified roofers, Web designers, acupuncturists and other professionals. People can post jobs free at TheProPost.com and get up to five bids from prescreened professionals.
Curran and his business partner, Realtor Dylan McLaughlin, got the idea for the website last March when they were trying to find qualified home repair professionals to help them fix up Ventura County houses and sell them.
"We thought it'd be great if there was a site where you could go write one post and get the local pros to call you back instead of calling yourself to see who's available," said Curran, who lives in Ventura. "We wanted to make it more convenient for everyone."
Although the concept was simple, the Web programming was not, he said. Curran and McLaughlin hired Web developers and over the course of a year fine-tuned the website.
Professionals pay $2 to $30 to bid on jobs. TheProPost will donate 10 percent of all proceeds from the site to food bank FOODShare and to Casa Pacifica, a home for abused and neglected children in Camarillo.
"This was an incentive for me to want to get more involved in this project," Curran said. "Every post helps a charity."
Professionals can join the site for free but must go through a rigorous application process, McLaughlin said. The ProPost checks each applicant's references and work history and ensures the person has the relevant licenses, bonding and insurance. McLaughlin also checks applicants' Better Business Bureau ratings and online customer reviews, including those at Google and Yelp.
Residents working in the home improvement, automotive, beauty, health, legal and financial industries are among those who can apply to join the site.
Dozens already have, including Tim Ahern, a pool contractor who has worked in Ventura since 1978.
"The professionalism and quality of his work really exemplifies what the site is all about," Curran said. "We're hoping that when people go to our website and post, they know that what they'll get is quality responses.
The recently launched website TheProPost.com is aimed at helping clients quickly solicit bids from multiple contractors. After posting a job on the site, people can expect to receive bids within minutes or hours, McLaughlin said. Each post is limited to five bids to simplify matters for the clients and ensure the professionals don't feel like they're wasting their time.
"We're trying to avoid being a huge, big business," McLaughlin said. "We really want to get tied in with local professionals and local charities and hopefully keep everybody happy."
McLaughlin, who has been a real estate agent for 10 years, said he gets emails daily from other Realtors seeking recommendations on home improvement professionals.
"Other Realtors are always asking me, 'Do you have a good contractor?' or, 'Do you know of a good painter?' " he said. "So I saw that there was a need for this kind of service."
McLaughlin and Curran are working to expand the site to Santa Barbara County and then plan to roll it out in Los Angeles, Kern, Orange and San Diego counties.
Although Curran helps manage the site, he doesn't deal with day-to-day operations. He leaves that to the pros he's hired, he said.
"Thankfully, I've been surrounded by such a great team, there hasn't been too much work for me in the office," he said. "That's good because I still get to spend plenty of time surfing, and my gills dry out if I don't surf."