We were lucky to catch up with Dave Heimbuch recently and have shared our conversation below.
Dave, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Almost every entrepreneur we know has considered donating a portion of their sales to an organization or cause – how did you make the decision of whether to donate? We’d love to hear the backstory if you’re open to sharing the details.
Our company is built upon the idea of giving back. Homeowners that use our platform to get projects done by off duty firefighters are also giving back to same people who are always there to protect them. At Hidrent, we wanted to find a way to give back as well. In November, 2021 we entered into a unique and strategic partnership with the International Association of Firefighters – Financial Corporation (IAFF-FC). The IAFF is the largest firefighter labor union in the United States covering over 325,000 firefighters. The IAFF-FC works to protect the financial future of these firefighters. The partnership between Hidrent and the IAFF-FC allows us the opportunity to donate 2% of our revenue directly into the IAFF Charitable Foundation. This means that we not only get to help firefighters now by finding them opportunities to supplement their incomes, but we can also donate a percentage of the same revenue right back to help protect their financial futures. We see this as a win-win.
Dave, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I’m actually not a firefighter. My background is in digital marketing and sales. I live in Dallas now, but the majority of my career was in Chicago. I’ve worked for several successful ad tech startups, and I was always the first person hired in Chicago and charged with growing sales, hiring a team and opening an office. The most recognizable company that I did this for was Shazam, where I was the first person hired in Chicago to open up their Central region office back in 2011. I loved working for startups and knew that one day, with the right idea, that I could do it myself.
During this time, I married into a family of firefighters. I was having a conversation one day with my brother-in-law, who is a firefighter, about some home repairs I was having done. I told him about how I used this really cool app to find a contractor. He looks at me and says, “Dave, I know how to do that type of work. In fact, anyone at our station could have done that. All firefighters have side hustles.” I said, “Really?”, and then my marketing mind started kicking in. “So how do you guys market your services, because if I had known I could have hired an off-duty firefighter I would have done that instead.” He said, “I don’t know…word of mouth. We’re firefighters not marketers.” I thought, there has to be something out there that’s exclusive to firefighters looking to find extra work.” I searched…and there wasn’t…so with his help, and with the help of other firefighters along the way, I built it.
What’s been the best source of new clients for you?
The best source of new clients for us has been word of mouth. Our company is inherently viral given the firefighters helping homeowners narrative. There have been countless examples of new customers telling us they heard about us from a family member, neighbor or friend. A lot of businesses use a referral marketing program, but people seem to feel good about telling others about Hidrent regardless of whether or not they are incentivized to do so.
Any thoughts, advice, or strategies you can share for fostering brand loyalty?
There are a lot of great tools out there that help startups facilitate communication with existing customers and foster brand loyalty. It’s been said before but bears repeating that it is a lot more time consuming, expensive and difficult to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one. However, many new businesses fail to realize the importance of communicating with their existing clients. We like Customer.io as it is very startup friendly and helps us automate most of the communication that we have with existing customers. The best part about it is that you set it up once, and it continues to run in the background while you are busy acquiring new customers.
- Website: https://hidrent.com/
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- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/hidrent/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/hidrentapp