By Emma Peterson.
In Season 1, Episode 14 of the MetalCast series, Heidi J. Ellsworth discussed the labor shortage in the contracting industry with ToolBelt CEO and founder Josh Engelbrecht. Josh started in the industry as a general contractor and that’s where the inspiration for ToolBelt came from. He explained that “one of the biggest challenges I faced was, how do you find good quality crews, whether it's subcontractors or even your individual installers.”
In his contracting business, they went to many of the recruitment sites with little to no success. Tools such as ZipRecruiter, Craigslist and Indeed just didn’t work to connect the industry. The only semi-successful method he could find at the time was word of mouth. But this meant a lot of skilled crews were not finding work because they didn’t have the network necessary to get in contact with the contractors. In the advent of the digital age, Josh knew there had to be a better solution. And the idea for ToolBelt was born.
ToolBelt went onto the market in 2019 with a mobile application. Josh and his team had to build a two-sided marketplace. He explained, “It's kind of like Uber, Airbnb and DoorDash. You have people that need labor, and you have to people that need work.” ToolBelt was designed to connect these two groups more, as Josh explained “Whether you have 40 years of experience or you're just getting started, you can be found on our platform.”
Their services started small, with a local focus on the Pacific Northwest for the first year or so and just a mobile app. Today, their service crosses state lines with plans for growth and has a newly developed desktop program. All this growth and development circles back to their driving force, Josh’s original realization about adapting how the industry connects for the digital age. He described their driving force, “What we always focus on is reducing friction. We want to build technology that mimics the existing word of mouth process for both parties.”
Emma is a content intern for the Coffee Shops and AskARoofer™. When she's not writing, she enjoys a good movie night with friends and trying to cook new recipes.
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