A Year Later, Student Entrepreneurs Have A QuikFix

by Samuel X. Cicci

During their sophomore year at Rhodes College, Ben Siegel and Parker Pell had an enterprising idea while helping a friend’s dad move furniture into his new home. “We didn’t get paid that day,” says Siegel, “but we realized the work wasn’t that hard, and we’d definitely do it again if somebody were willing to pay us. Growing up with our parents, we knew that they were always hiring people to help out with little things, and we figured if we can save homeowners’ money and also make money at the same time, we’d give it a shot.”

Along with a third co-founder, Evan Deere, they began laying the groundwork for their company, QuikFix. To meet the demand for all the odd jobs homeowners would need, they turned to an untapped pool of potential workers: college students. “We looked at the campus and realized that college students are a pretty underutilized workforce, in that they have a lot more skills than people give them credit for,” says Pell. The summer before their junior year, Siegel and Pell created a logo and canvassed the midtown area, passing out flyers in porches and mailboxes. From there, the company gained traction by word of mouth and officially launched on September 1st, 2017.

QuikFix jobs are mainly concentrated in Midtown, but it also provides services as far out as Cordova. To sign up as an employee, students fill out a form and provide a valid .edu email address and photo of their student ID. Then, Pell and Siegel meet with the potential handymen to verify identity, explain terms of service, and thoroughly go over conduct when working in someone’s home. After approval, workers are paired with prospective clients who require specific skills. QuikFix workers are paid hourly rates, with the compensation funneled through the company, which takes 40 percent of each check.

QuikFix has expanded to include students from University of Memphis while the company’s app is currently under review on the Apple app store. A new website is also slated to provide promo codes to former customers, who can then share them with other prospective clients interested in the service. QuikFix is set to expand to Fayetteville in a few weeks and then Nashville at the turn of the year.

For now, there’s no shortage of interest in the service for both workers and consumers. “We have a little over 240 students working for QuikFix right now,” says Siegel. “We’ve done 930 jobs for around 500 customers in about 12 months, which has come out to around 3,100 hours of work.” Despite the initial success, Siegel and Pell, who majored in finance and economics, respectively, remain grounded. “One of the bigger things that we stress to students as we try to grow, and kind of grow as efficiently and as fast as we can,” says Pell, “is to always do the job right. That’s what we kind of hone on. Do the job right, and do what the homeowner wants.”

With plans for new cities underway, Pell plans to graduate this semester and focus on QuikFix full time before Siegel joins him in the spring. With buzz building, the young entrepreneurs should have no shortage of business with the coming expansions.

Visit quikfixjobs.com for more information.

WHAT’S GOING ON

– There was a 5 percent increase in domestic visitor spending for 2017, according to data released by the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development & the US Travel Association.

Previously released data from Memphis Tourism, formerly the Convention and Visitors Bureau, showed that 11.7 million people visited Memphis and Shelby County in 2017, a 4.1 percent increase from 2016. The data indicates that people are staying longer and spending more in Memphis than they have in prior years.

The local tourism economy generated $3.503 billion in spending for 2017, up from $3.335 billion in 2016 and $3.196 billion in 2015. State tax collections from visitor spending increased 3.8% in 2017, generating $174 million in state tax receipts; $98 million was collected in local taxes, an increase of 3.1%.

Payroll for the tourism and hospitality industry in Memphis and Shelby County was up 5.9 percent in 2017, totaling $742 million, an increase from $701 million in 2016. The leisure and hospitality industry remains one of the leading employment sectors in Memphis and Shelby County.

Read the report on Tennessee tourism here.

– Meanwhile, Airbnb says it remitted more than $647,000 in home sharing tax revenue on behalf of its Memphis hosts in the first year of its tax agreement with the city. In May 2017, Airbnb announced a tax agreement with the city, authorizing the home sharing platform to automatically collect the Memphis Short Term Room Occupancy Tax (3.5 percent) and the Tourism Improvement District Assessment ($2 per bedroom per night) on behalf of its host community and remit the revenue directly to the city. That agreement took effect June 1, 2017.

– However, The Daily News reports that local hotel occupancy in 2018 has flattened from previous years. Partly to blame is the increase in home sharing and the expansion plans for the Cook Convention Center. Read the story here.

– Foundation Gaming & Entertainment has acquired Fitz Casino & Hotel in Tunica, Mississippi. The property, on more than 50 acres, includes a 38,000-square foot casino, 500-room hotel, three restaurants, and a 8,000-square foot event center. Foundation announced that Donn Mitchell will be joining the company as chief financial officer and principal. He says, “The acquisition of the Tunica property, coupled with Foundation Gaming’s Vicksburg property, will provide us with a firm platform for the continued development and growth of the company.”

– Instacart and Kroger are offering same-day grocery delivery to stores in the Memphis area. The fast-growing Instacart is working with Kroger by adding hundreds of stores nationwide. Locally, the service is now being offered in Memphis, Bartlett, Cordova, Collierville, Germantown, Arlington, and Lakeland. Go here for more info.

– Your dream wheels are coming to the Memphis International Auto Show September 21-23 at the Cook Convention Center. Cars, trucks, SUVs, and crossovers will be sporting the latest tech and fanciest accessories. The show is owned by the Greater Memphis Auto Dealers Association and produced by Motor Trend Auto Shows, the nation’s largest auto show producer. Get info here.

NEWS FROM OTHER SOURCES

– Southwest Tennessee Community College and Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Memphis are partnering in a program to make advanced training in automotive technology more accessible. Read the Tri-State Defender’s story here.

– MATA’s lack of funding may result in elimination of some routes. Read The Daily Newsstory here.

– Ted Evanoff in The Commercial Appeal reports on the unveiling of a rendering of the proposed convention center hotel that shows what would be a sleek glass tower. Read his story here (subscription).

THE HOT SHEET

Inside Memphis Business magazine has long been running the Hot Sheet feature of promotions and achievements in local business. We’re now running it in our weekly TipSheet email blast to keep the info more current.

– Lucky Cat Ramen will move from their current location in the Cooper Young neighborhood to 2583 Broad Avenue, formerly the location of Jack Magoo’s. The move will take place later this fall.

– Trezevant, a continuing care retirement community, was recognized with awards from LeadingAge Tennessee, the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), and Holleran Choice Community Awards.

– Frederick M. Azar, M.D., the chief of staff at Campbell Clinic Orthopedics, has been selected to serve on a commission investigating the culture of University of Maryland’s football program.

POWER PLAYER

Inside Memphis Business magazine publishes a list of local Power Players every year. These are the movers and shakers in more than 30 categories who get things done in their respective fields. IMB’s April issue has the complete list. We also publish individual categories in other issues throughout the year, and we feature individual Power Players in our weekly Tip Sheet.

This week’s Power Player: Ari Litvin

Senior vice president and complex manager, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. B.A., Political Science, University of Colorado at Boulder; California Lutheran University M.B.A. Program. Graduate, American College’s Certified Financial Planner curriculum. Named to list of Wall Street Top 100 Branch Managers. Wells Fargo Advisors Premier Manager Award Winner. Branch Manager Development Committee. Crescent Club Board of Governors. Member, ASPCA. Supporter, Habitat for Humanity.

For the complete list of Inside Memphis Business Power Players, go here

CEO OF THE YEAR

Nominations for the 2019 CEO of the Year awards are open. Memphis is graced with tremendously talented, inspiring executives in charge of their companies and organizations, and we want to hear from you about the best in the business. Email your nomination to [email protected]insidememphisbusiness.com and include the CEO’s resume and a description of why he or she should get the award: vision, achievements, business philosophy, employee relations, management style, special qualities.

Inside Memphis Business gives out four awards in categories according to the number of employees in the companies: 1-50, 50-200, 200-1,000, and 1,000 and up, so include that information as well. The deadline for CEO of the Year is November 16, 2018. When the nominations are in, an impartial panel will consider the nominees and pick one for each category. Each will be notified and interviewed for the February/March 2019 issue of IMB — and each will appear on the cover of the magazine. A breakfast in late January will honor the four CEOs.