- Nicolas Cole Featured Contributor.
When you searched for your last apartment, what was the process like?
Sites like Zillow, HotPads, and more, have made the first part of the search a whole lot easier. Where before you would have to walk up and down your neighborhood of choice looking for rental signs, now you can search online by zip code, neighborhood, price range, etc.
However, that’s really only a small part of the overall process. The next step involves (using these still somewhat clunky sites) messaging the property managers or the rental owners themselves to schedule a showing of the place.
Unfortunately, most of the time, your initial e-mail does not get a response. People are busy, people forget, etc. And of course, when you do get a response, that’s not the end—but the beginning. You then have to go through the annoying task of bouncing times back and forth to find what works for both of your schedules.
Frontdoor, this simple but oh-so-needed mobile app wants to fix that tiny but crucial part of the process: scheduling apartment showings.
Frontdoor is a mobile application on a mission, and was started by three entrepreneurs who have had a long history in the rental market space. Founded by Alain Kapatashungu, Emilie Elice-Label, and Wissam Abirached, the idea for Frontdoor came from Alain and Emilie’s first venture in Canada: a real estate marketing company operating in Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto.
They went from representing 0 to thousands of apartments, and a whooping $3 Billion in market assets. The company’s mission was simple: marketing vacancies.
However, it was their small team responsible for answering e-mails and calls from renters looking to schedule viewings that they realized just how tedious the entire scheduling process truly was—and began to question whether this process could be automated entirely.
This is a perfect example of how the best ideas are discovered. Often times, entrepreneurs create for others what they first needed to create for themselves.
For Frontdoor, the apartment scheduling process has been reduced down to three (but really two) steps.
1. Set Your Preferences
Within Frontdoor, you can set what date you are looking to move, your neighborhood of choice, your price range, etc. This part of the process is already being done by many competitors, but it’s what Frontdoor does with this information that no other apartment rental platform is doing.
2. Share Your Availability
Let’s say you can only look at apartments between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You would plug those time slots into Frontdoor, and its “virtual assistant” would begin booking times for you to view apartments. Frontdoor then connects directly to your calendar, and you are notified as soon as a showing has been scheduled—and you can make adjustments from there.
3. Show Up & Pick
It’s on you, of course, to stick to your own calendar and look at the apartments that have been scheduled for you.
If you are a renter, especially a consistent one, then you can already see the value in shortening this leg of the process. Instead of sitting there emailing a landlord or an agent trying to coordinate schedules, you can simply set time in your schedule to go apartment shopping and let Frontdoor handle all the booking.
Truth be told, this very much speaks to the ever-escalating direction of tech becoming more and more automated. We are living in an age where we want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible—and automation tends to be the fastest route for doing so.
Often times, the world of tech startups is thought of being the land of flashy and “trendy” ideas (usually related to social platforms). But the truth is, it’s often times the simplest of ideas that can solve a very clear pain point for the target consumer that provide the most value. In this case, automating the small inconvenience of doing your own calendar scheduling when it comes to apartment hunting.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.