Colin Hartlieb’s dry-erase board is covered with bullet-point tasks and check marks.
Hartlieb, a 2019 Winters Mill High School graduate, likes to “grind now, chill later,” and uses this personal motto to prove how much time and energy he has invested to create his own business, Friendly Neighbor Services LLC. He has spent the past eight months crafting and developing a mobile app to correlate with the business, using the dry-erase board to track his progress.
Hartlieb said his father Eric, a U.S. Navy veteran, hurt his back and was unable to perform various outdoor tasks. That’s where Hartlieb stepped in, and bystanders began to notice.
“Neighbors started seeing me doing it all and started asking if I could do it for them,” Hartlieb said. “I had some people I was doing stuff for, like dog walking and pet sitting, and I started doing it for even more people. Then, I created business cards with my dad and I think my dad doing this really got me to want to expand.”
Hartlieb went door to door with business cards to spread the word that he was available to provide services for people. He designed yard signs and magnets as well. His inspiration to create a mobile app stemmed from his desire to create a space where services could be requested, provided and paid for all in one place.
Friendly Neighbor Services LLC is an on-demand service provider platform that gives users the chance to become a provider or request services from providers. Services included in the company’s guidelines include basic yard work, landscaping, power washing, dog walking, pet sitting and babysitting.
Providers can select services they’re capable of completing and wait for customers to request them for that particular job. When customers request a service, providers are notified and can choose to respond to that particular request.
Hartlieb created a “Create Your Own Service” section for those who want to add additional tasks as well.
The business has steadily grown, Hartlieb said, and he has more than 100 providers in 11 different cities.
“I designed the app through Microsoft Word, through clipart,” he said. “I had notes about each page screen and how it’s going to work, how you click to get to the page, where you click on the page to get you to another page. Once I got that done, I had to take it to Adobe Photoshop, I learned it so fast … "
Hartlieb designed 65-70 screens for the app and put it in a working design prototype. Then, he sent the information to a coder in Pakistan to ensure the app would be presented in good quality.
The stage is almost set for the app’s release, and Hartlieb said it should be available for iPhone and Android users July 18-20 via the App Store and Google Play Store.
Hartlieb spent one year at Towson University and played club lacrosse for the Tigers before transferring to the University of Maryland to study finance. He learned how to financially support the creation of an app and how much he could invest in the business with branding and social media advertisements.
“I’m 18 years old, I had no knowledge of any of this,” Hartlieb said. “I haven’t really taken any business classes, and the only guidance I had was my brain and my dad’s mindset that I was trying to follow. I learned this all through just doing it, figuring it out through Launchpad at Towson University, asking him questions, googling, YouTube videos, it’s been crazy.”
“Everyone throughout this process has made it so much easier and less stressful,” Hartlieb said. “Without the support from my friends, family and peers, I could not have done this because it is very costly. I’m 18 years old attending college and paying for my own college, so it’s stressful at times.