Friday, January 30, 2015

Plowa? Wowz! Finally, an app that does something worthwhile

It seems as if, whenever I despair of running out of blog topics, I read about some worthless, silly must-have app that launches me into a near-Luddite swoon. Not to mention a breast-beating lament about why the Millennials are spending all their time and talent on frivolity, rather than focusing on the cure for cancer, the common cold, income inequality. Rather than putzing around with yet another ridonculous time-wasting, relationship-destroying, brain-numbing little app. (I have seen the best minds of your generation…)

So I was completely heartened to come across Plowz and its companion piece, Mowz, which meet a real, honest-to-goodness need.

Plowz and Mowz are the Uber of the snowplowing and lawn-mowing world, seemingly without all the baggage that Uber drags along like a bunch of tin cans tied to its bumper. (You know, stuff like encouraging folks to take out bad loans to buy cars, stuff like uninsured drivers, etc.)

This week – for obvious reasons – Plowz, which provides on-demand snow plowing in a growing number of locales (including, just recently, Boston  - good timing!) is the side of the business that’s of interest. Here’s what they say about themselves:

A wintertime chore made easy

PLOWZ is a snow plowing service that lets you order a Plow anytime, anywhere.

  • Ease of use: Schedule a plow with the touch of a button
  • Flexible: Select the day you want your driveway cleared
  • Fast payments: Pay right through the app
  • Peace of mind: Receive photo confirmation of plowed driveway
  • No hidden fees: You’ll know exactly how much you will pay

And not just any jamoke with a plow bolted on to the front of his F-150 can become a Plowzman (or Plowwoman, but let’s face it…). You need to have professional grade equipment and a minimum of $1 million in liability coverage.

Plowz launched in Boston last fall:

Co-founder William Mahoney said that this bout of weather has been their biggest effort yet, as expects to service over 2,500 customers over the course of the storm.

“We knew very quickly that there was going to be a huge amount of orders,” he said this afternoon from Syracuse, where they only saw five inches of snow. “This Boston storm will be a record for our company.” (Source:

Plowz was not born of anyone’s being a lazy-arse who wanted someone to deliver quarters so he could do his laundry.

The idea for Plowz and Mowz came to Mahoney after his mother called him in the midst of a snowstorm, frantic that she couldn’t shovel her car out of her driveway. Mahoney said that as he called around looking for a private service that would help his mom out, he watched as dozens of plows pass his house.

So Mahoney’s mother was actually the mother of invention. Sweet!

“I thought it was a missed opportunity,” he said. He and co-founder Andrew Englander, who are both Syracuse University grads, decided to create an app that would let users book private plow drivers.

Snowmageddon, or the Blizzard of 2015 known as Juno, turned out to be a boon for the Boston-biz:

…Plowz and Mowz spent about $10,000 on a localized social media campaign starting Monday morning. And it paid off: Mahoney said the company had “orders coming in nonstop” and at some times during the day were booking every 15 seconds.

I don’t have a driveway, and will never, ever, ever have one to worry about. (Nor will I ever have a yard to mow.) But I love these guys.  (Maybe they should extend their service to plain old shoveling. If they do storm drains, I’m in…)

I also love the Syracuse connection. SU has become quite a hot spot for entrepreneurship. (My friend Sean is involved through the Newhouse (communications school) as Director, Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship.)

Anyway, with all the complaining I do about nonsense apps, I was delighted to come across one that really meets a need.

Way to go!

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