“How do you plan on paying for all this?” These words changed Woody Klemmer’s life.
Klemmer’s father asked him this question prior to attending a Baltimore high school lacrosse tournament in the summer of 2006. With hopes of being recruited by a college lacrosse program, he began searching for part-time jobs to support his expensive athletic endeavor. When this proved to be futile, along with his father’s advice, Klemmer began asking his neighbors if they needed help with anything around the house. Inspired by this work and with the help of a friend, Klemmer started WAK Jobs, which eventually evolved into his startup GladlyDo.
After leaving a sales job in New York, Klemmer returned to his hometown, Needham, Mass., where he decided to launch GladlyDo into a full-fledged business. Through a few mutual friends, he met his current COO Liam Cunningham. Cunningham, also from Needham, met with Klemmer this past summer while working in the non-profit sector.
GladlyDo is a service in which college students who would like to earn some extra money apply to be “doers.” These “doers” respond to job posts on the website, and perform services ranging from babysitting, to driving, to moving, to vacation needs. Doers also get to keep 100 percent of their tips, either through the website or in person.
“Doers get compensated very well—$15 per hour—comparatively to other options,” Klemmer said. “I could sit in the school library and make $8 an hour, or I can bang out two jobs with a flexible schedule for $50 and have money for the weekend.”
Posters can select from one of the nine categories of work on the GladlyDo website, or can submit a request which is then reviewed by Woody or Liam. Prices of the tasks are shown on the website, and posters can pay online by credit card using GladlyDo’s simple payment system.
Currently GladlyDo has “doers” at various universities across the Boston area, including recent students from Babson University and Boston College. Not all “doers” are currently studying. Some are recent graduates in between jobs. In one example,the “doers” are a few semi-pro baseball players who are trying to earn some extra money.
One of the hardest things for Klemmer was “transitioning the business from a group of kids who were unorganized into a legal entity—hiring people, solidifying processes, building the website, getting all the legal stuff in order, and starting marketing functions.”
Klemmer believes that workers take a lot of pride in the jobs they do with GladlyDo and understand that they have the opportunity to make connections. The biggest difference for Klemmer is the quality of work. A host can rate a “doer” 1-5 stars after his or her work is completed. The doers’ recognize that their work is not only a reflection of themselves, but also GladlyDo and their referrals.
Currently, GladlyDo bills itself as “the perfect neighbor,” and touts its doing business and goodwill for others in the community. Rather than traditional marketing, GladlyDo is physically outreaching to users and hopes to link up with local nonprofits, senior living communities, and realtors.
“People are generally overwhelmingly satisfied with the product and happy with the jobs we’ve done,” Cunningham said. “What we’re constantly striving for is adding new customers. When they have a good experience, most of the time, they’re going to be a repeat customer.”
Recently, GladlyDo has been seen a surge of popularity across the city. Many local small businesses are even starting to use GladlyDo as a courier service. Due to the recent holidays, GladlyDo was called on to help setup, cleanup, and even serve food at events. The startup also benefited from the large amount of rental turnover in the city during this past fall before classes started.
January has been one of GladlyDo’s most successful months, with almost 60 jobs already completed. To Cunningham and Klemmer’s surprise, job requests have not dwindled during the winter months, but continue to achieve a high number of requests. Klemmer’s startup is hoping to expand to Cape Cod this summer. “If it can work here, I have a feeling that it can work in a lot of places,” Klemmer said.
Klemmer wants to see his “doers” succeed using their experience through GladlyDo. “If we can get college kids working, making money, and make it so it’s a good thing to put on their resume so that they can leverage being a doer to get a job or an internship because that shows that they’re a high integrity kid, but also working hard during school and also making extra cash,” Klemmer said. “We also want these kids to be on board with us and our goal to give back—which is a cornerstone and the foundation for the company.”
Klemmer hopes to grow his network of “doers” and clients in the city. Looking to the future, the startup would like to achieve a greater presence in the Boston community and link with nonprofits within the greater metro area.
“Right now we’re a helping hand to those that need odd jobs done, but long term we’d also like to be a helping hand for people in need,” Klemmer said. “That’s the type of work we’d like to get more and more involved with in the future.”
Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor