SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Ben Johnson, Founder and CEO at Spruce

How can platforms that enable local partnerships be good for end users seeking specific type of services? Ben Johnson, Founder and CEO at Spruce shares a few thoughts: 

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Welcome to this SalesTech Star chat Ben, tell us about your platform Spruce and what inspired you to build this?

Spruce is the comprehensive provider of lifestyle services to residents in both  multifamily and single family homes. Our platform serves both residents and local services businesses. Residents and homeowners use our platform to book everyday services, such as housekeeping and daily chores.  Local businesses are able to increase their productivity and quality by using Spruce’s proprietary logistics platform (the SpruceOS) to manage their growing companies. 

I had the idea for Spruce while living in an apartment in Houston. Like a lot of people in my building, I had a dog and needed a dog walker.  But I noticed that over 15 different dog walkers came in and out of the building each day. I thought: “If everyone in the building banded together to hire the same dog walker, this person could spend more time walking dogs and making money, instead of traveling between each appointment.” This would enable them to lower their rates and save everyone money while enabling the dog walker to earn more as a whole. What started with dog-walking  evolved into some of the main ideas that make Spruce successful: grouping together jobs in close proximity, providing an incentive for resident retention, serving homeowners and residents’ daily lifestyle needs, and a way to foster and grow small businesses in the area.

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How are apps like Spruce enabling smaller businesses and services like repair/housekeeping stay connected with a healthy work pipeline? How do you feel the future of apps and platforms such as these will shape up to look like?

At Spruce, we create partnerships with local companies that are looking to take on more work and grow their business. Most of these businesses are acquiring customers through expensive lead generation platforms, but they are using only a limited amount of software to manage their daily operations. Through the SpruceOS, we provide these local partner companies with a batch of bookings that can be more efficiently serviced, and we give them the workflow management tools to move efficiently from job to job.   Business owners and their managers use the SpruceOS to assign bookings, efficiently route their team, and track progress real time throughout the day.  The end result is that each worker can deliver 2-3x as many jobs per day than they otherwise could without Spruce.

We’d love to hear about the Spruce growth story, your sales-marketing model and more about the B2B side of the business.

Spruce was founded in 2016 and has been exponentially growing since. In fact, in 2021, Spruce saw a 400% growth over the previous year. Over the next 18 months, Spruce will continue its expansion to the top 50 cities in the US.

Spruce makes money in a couple of ways: a small annual fee from each multifamily property, plus a percentage of each job. However, because Spruce allows housekeeping businesses to book more jobs, the local businesses are even more profitable with Spruce. In fact, some of the companies we work with have grown from just six employees to nearly 100 because of Spruce. We are also proud to say that more than 65% of Spruce’s partner companies are women-owned and more than 70% are minority-owned.

As a startup, when it comes to sales initiatives and sales platforms, what are some of the top things you’d tell B2B sales teams to keep in mind?

In building Spruce, I believe that we have found a way to create a net benefit for all parties involved, especially partner properties and their management companies. Their main concern is ensuring resident engagement and satisfaction as it’s what ultimately leads people to renew leases and keep occupancy rates high. By bringing Spruce onboard to service their residents, our partner properties have discovered a way to provide an additional and highly valued amenity to their residents, often at little to no cost. Breaking the expectation of a zero sum situation in our B2B sales, and showing that residents, properties and services pros can all gain from Spruce’s presence in a building, has been incredibly helpful to build trust with property management companies across the country. It continues to be one of the drivers behind our expansion.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital growth tips and best practices before we wrap up!

While on the surface, it might seem like Spruce provides Housekeeping and Chore services, what we’ve heard time and time again from our customers is that the real value of Spruce is the time that they are able to get back by using our services. This is time that they can then spend with their friends or families, on hobbies, on passion projects or simply to rest up and just be. Giving people back time, whether it’s to our Services Pros to complete more jobs and earn more, or for residents and homeowners to do more, is in my opinion, as rewarding a mission as it gets.

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Spruce

Spruce reduces the growing burden of managing 20+ different providers arriving each day, and provides security and oversight for property management.

Ben Johnson is the Founder and CEO at Spruce

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