No doubt as society moves further along into this 21st Century, App technology will continue to transform the economy. Two Colorado entrepreneurs, Blake Craig and Josh Moser of Laborjack know this instinctively. Or rather “organically” as Craig described it. “Laborjack emerged from a text message and a spreadsheet, he said. We were initially seeking out college students like ourselves to do a moving/hauling job.”
That was back in 2016 when Craig and Moser were on campus attending Colorado State University at Fort Collins. Like so many in college, they were finding ways to earn/raise extra money as it helped with tuition and other things. “But in our search, we noticed a lot of artists were seeking work, Craig noted and their eagerness for flexibility attracted them to us as we sent word out.”
Fort Collins in Northern Colorado has a thriving art scene. “A lot is happening here, said Moser. Specifically with music as Red Rocks Amphitheater hosts an annual Red Rock Music Festival. The Amphitheater puts on 160 concerts and events each year. It’s practically right in our backyard he said, so to speak.”
Like the magnificent Rocky Mountains in the distance but ever so present, it became obvious to Craig and Moser. The makeshift text message and spreadsheet then quickly evolved into a more efficient software platform. “We built a mobile app,” said Moser. Once that app got established as Laborjack, Craig and Moser had created a market space utilizing technology.
Dedicated, They quickly transitioned their entrepreneurial effort into a full time business. In a short span of three years, “Laborjack has completed 10,000 jobs and counting,” noted Craig. App technology over the past 15 years, through the use of a ‘smart phone’ has reshaped the way business is conducted. According to Deloitte, Pew Research and others, the introduction of the App in commerce and various transactions has reduced costs and eliminated barriers in developing a business.
The fact that Laborjack has grown expeditiously in only five years says that this type of platform is here to stay. Laborjack has branched out. It went from moving-hauling jobs to odd jobs, even some landscaping. And then in 2018, Laborjack took on staffing jobs. “That’s where much of shift has been since the onset of COVID,” said Moser.
“Moving and hauling is still a bulk of our business, he added. But we have been coordinating a business to business angle as more businesses are using an App platform to get help.” Both Craig and Moser envision the App platform as the “Temp/Staffing agency” of the 21st Century. App platforms are ideal for “gig work” and the increasing “gig economy.” Taking notice of this shift even the opinion section of the New York Times had something to say about the ‘Gig Economy.’
The COVID-19 pandemic may have induced a labor shortage, especially when work places went into quarantine. But as Craig and Moser see it, there are lots of people who are seeking gig work or companies seeking gig laborers.
“If I had been working at a regular 9 to 5 job my headliner concert of 300 people would have suffered tremendously,” said artist/musician Gray Whitney. Laborjack allows working artists like Whitney to take on temporary jobs according to their own schedule. They can work as much or as little as they want.
When asked if Laborjack was looked upon by critics as “another Uber or Lyft” both Craig and Moser had this to say. “We have an extensive vetting and screening process, Craig said. We conduct a 30 minute interview and are very conscientious of everything. There’s a lot more that goes into our business than simply an app. (Things like Insurance, etc.) The main qualities we look for in a Laborjack candidate is Accountability, Consistency and Attitude,” they both said simultaneously. Laborjack’s typical starting pay is 24.50 per hour. Yet some sources like SideHusl say that could differ according to circumstances. And, Laborjack’s success, even with stellar reviews on Yelp, has met up with some criticism; that according to the local chapter of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has yet to be completely resolved.
Moser & Craig are aware of the apparent inconsistencies and are committed to correcting them. It is all part of being in business. And right now Colorado is experiencing the impact of this new decade in the new 21st Century. Since COVID, more people have moved to Colorado than anywhere else in the United States Moser explained his reasons as to why it has attracted an influx of so many people, as he said. “300 days of sunshine a year. There’s hiking, skiing, cycling and some of the best scenery and experiences of nature a person can experience in a lifetime.”
Interestingly, with so many Californians leaving the ‘Golden State’ they might be surprised that Colorado has its own wine-growing region, which according to some is rivaling that of the world-famous Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Pointing back to the artist community in Fort Collins and elsewhere in Colorado, Moser said. With all the natural beauty and bounty of outdoor activities, “it’s the lifestyle, that’s what’s unique about being here in Colorado. The inspiration an artist gets from a place like Colorado is immeasurable. Our Laborjack platform allows people the flexibility so they can enjoy Colorado.”
Other than COVID, the one challenge that Craig and Moser are amazed and invigorated by is the “ever-changing scene. The amount of growth here is astounding, it’s like on a swivel,” said Craig. The competition we face here is a validation of the market we are in. We’ve been able to acquire a workforce at a better rate and quality than the traditional staffing agencies. Some staffing agencies have turned to us for help.”
Laborjack has exceeded expectations with its lucrative expansion. Craig and Moser want to take Laborjack nationwide. They believe, well actually, they know the time has come in this emerging 21st Century for a new ‘App-roach’ to businesses, Laborjack is eager to be among those leading the way.
“That’s the business model, our model wholeheartedly, said Craig. We take care of our workers. We want them to make money and be able to pursue their passion and any artistic-creative endeavors.” To learn more about Laborjack, visit the Laborjack website.