I’m Ryan Fenn, Co-founder & CEO of Chiirp, a ServiceMonster integration that lets you automate text messages, emails, voicemails and so much more… Here’s the story of how CHIIRP came to be:
Determination: In 2010, after having worked for someone else for a while, my brother and I decided that we would start out on our own and become business owners rather than remain employees. We had learned a lot from that employer - just as much about what not to do as what to do. We decided to start our very own windshield repair business.
I had been married only a few years and my first son was a newborn. The three of us lived in a tiny apartment and I had zero dollars in my savings account. I didn’t finish high school so I felt that advancement through traditional employment wasn’t an option for me. If we were going to make it, it was entirely up to me. But I wasn’t about to let my wife and son starve so I hit the pavement.
Our First Business: We started selling windshield repair and replacement services door to door. Within only a couple of weeks, I was making more money than I ever had and I felt like I could support my family as an entrepreneur. This was an empowering time for me and I was excited about our future.
As the weeks went by we grew tired of selling door to door and began brainstorming methods to grow our business without knocking on doors every day. It took us a while to figure it out but we ended up providing windshield repair services to customers in auto dealerships when they came in for other services like oil changes and maintenance. Soon we had grown our little startup into 9 dealerships.
The Light Bulb: That’s when it hit me! An idea that changed everything. I wanted to help young entrepreneurs start their own windshield repair businesses. I started putting together training videos and within about 4 months I had created a digital course that taught how to start a windshield repair business from the ground up. I also reached out to windshield repair tool manufacturers who agreed to sell me equipment at wholesale pricing with my company logo.
I taught everything from setting up your business, sourcing glass, repairing chips, dealing with payment and insurance, and getting locations like dealerships.
Success: I first started posting local classifieds and leads started trickling in. I got my first sale - Josh! He bought my equipment and my training course in March of that year and started his own windshield repair business. By August he had made $60,000. I legitimately helped somebody start a successful business. The fulfillment I felt was like nothing else. I loved helping him succeed! I started advertising more heavily. Leads started pouring in. Some days I’d get as many as 300 inquiries. I couldn’t keep up. As the leads came in I’d text them and try to get them to schedule an appointment. We were booked out for days and we were selling a lot of windshield repair equipment.
Automate to Grow: That’s when I started to learn about automation and that’s when it all came together. I would automatically text my leads as they came in and automatically follow up with them to get them to book an appointment. Once I had it dialed in, I didn’t have to do anything manually except SELL to my red hot appointments. Everything else was taken care of with automation.
We were selling our product for between $1500 and $3000 and we’d typically sell 2-3 per day. My brother and I sold windshield repair equipment and training for 3 years and we grossed over $2,000,000. Quite a jump from zero savings and a tiny apartment. We helped over 1000 people start their own windshield repair businesses. We had hundreds of text messages from people thanking us and telling us how awesome their new life as an entrepreneur was.
CHIIRP Was Born: At this point, I knew that the process we were using with text message automation was working extremely well. This would be great for any business. This was the future of sales! So once again, I started over. This time with a much bigger picture goal - to create software that would allow any business to get the same benefits that I was experiencing without piecing together many different applications.
I raised a small amount of investment money through a friend of the family, contacted an old friend who was a software developer (one of the best software engineers in the world in my opinion), and invited a close friend to join us. The three of us started building what became CHIIRP. Our goal was to build an automated lead follow-up and customer nurturing tool that would allow small business owners to grow their companies and still have time for their families. Venture Capital money seemed focused on profits over value, which was not the way we wanted to build a business. We believed that slow growth focused on our customer’s success would build lasting customers and ultimately, friends.
In our first couple of years, we built CHIIRP by introducing it to any and all business types that would use it. We basically sold it to any business we felt would benefit from its automation capabilities. We knew we wanted to focus on a specific niche but we just weren’t sure who could benefit the most from it. That’s when Oscar, a carpet cleaner in Denver found us. He started using CHIIRP to create follow-ups for his carpet cleaning business. He created lead conversion campaigns, estimate follow-up campaigns, appointment reminder campaigns and so many more. Oscar started experiencing huge improvements in his business - just as I had learned from my previous business. More of his leads were converting into jobs, more of his jobs were turning into 5-star reviews and more of his past clients were re-booking with him.
Oscar opened our eyes & minds to the home services industry. We found quickly that CHIIRP was the perfect tool for home services companies. Small businesses where entrepreneurs could grow through automation. CHIIRP's capabilities and automations lined up perfectly with the industry’s needs.
CHIIRP began to focus and started integrating with the leading home service CRMs. We are now just finishing up a very deep integration with ServiceMonster and couldn’t be more excited to introduce our product to the ServiceMonster family.
Sure, CHIIRP provides text messaging, ringless voicemail, email, Facebook Messaging (and soon Google Messaging). But the real-time saving and money-making benefits are in the automation. CHIIRP provides…
Our goal with CHIIRP is to give you, the home services industry entrepreneurs, the freedom you need to create the perfect customer journey for your business. By automating your communication from the very beginning you will build deep and lasting relationships with your customers. This process will free up your time while nurturing your leads and maintaining communication with your customer base. It’s literally relationship-building on autopilot.
Come check us out and see how CHIIRP can help you capture more leads, connect more authentically, and close more deals using our newly launched ServiceMonster integration.