Fed up with the complicated and time-consuming process of shopping for professional quotes, Brad Fekula had the thought that nearly every entrepreneur has at one time or another – There has to be a better way. Armed with years of sales experience, Brad teamed up with developer Dwayne Melcher to create what would become FIX IT UP, a one-stop marketplace where businesses and contractors bid for jobs, saving customers the arduous task of quote-shopping.
Five years later, the business has expanded its offerings to four provinces and even the U.S. FIX IT UP now allows customers to post jobs for everything from snow removal, to auto repair, to accounting, and so much more in between. As Brad says, they’re quickly becoming “Amazon for services”. The team even plans to launch a new and improved version of the platform with even more service categories this year. We recently asked Brad a few questions to get to the heart of his entrepreneurial journey.
Besides money, what motivates you to put your all into FIX IT UP everyday?
I’m a person who likes things to be as convenient as possible and I'm always looking for a better way to do something. I really enjoy helping people save time and money when getting quotes on our software. Picking up the phone and calling business after business isn’t something I enjoy, and it’s really time consuming. Our idea was to build a software that not only solves that issue, but also takes it to the next level where users can post one project in 5 minutes, sit back, and let local businesses quote. What gets me excited is bringing together Saskatchewan people and businesses under one ecosystem and supporting local companies, which is big right now given the pandemic.
Who or what has been your biggest godsend as you’ve started and grown your business?
I can honestly say I’m lucky to have started a business in a place like Saskatchewan. We have such a tight-knit community and honestly just the best people. So many doors have been open to us through programs like the Conexus Cultivator, Audacity, the MIST (Made in Saskatchewan Technology) program, etc. Saskatchewan is definitely starting to carve out a place on the map for tech startups in a Canada.
Another godsend has been our FIX IT UP team – Dwayne, Brock, Glen, Jose and Choa. These guys have put in so much time building our software from scratch, pivoting, fine tuning, and solving complex programming. It’s been a ton of head-scratching and fun with this crew.
Was there ever a moment where you came close to giving up? How did you push through?
I think there have been multiple times where I thought about throwing in the towel. Bootstrapping a tech company can be financially tough, especially during a pandemic like the one we're going through. However, again, I give our team credit. Each one of us has picked another up that is having doubts about what we are building.
I can honestly say I’m lucky to have started a business in a place like Saskatchewan. We have such a tight-knit community and honestly just the best people.
What advice would you give people who are on the fence about starting their own business, or are just starting out?
If you're thinking about starting a business I can tell you it has been one of the most difficult but rewarding things I have ever done in my life. Life is too short not to follow your dreams, so go for it. At the same time, I also think about how important it is to find a life balance, as the business can consume you if you don’t. Everyone wants to see their business succeed and nobody likes failing, so structuring a good work-life balance is also very important.