Tell readers a bit about starting The To-Do Dudes and how it’s grown over the past few years.
Just over 3 years ago now (May 2020), unbeknownst to me I was completing the first job that would launch the To-Do Dudes organization. In the heart of the pandemic, with school all online and every high schooler in the nation having more time than they knew what to do with, my grandmother put me to work. She had countless small chores around the house. Organizing her garage, rearranging furniture, and other yard cleanup just to name a few. On a day back in early May of 2020, the project on grandmas list was helping lay down 200 bags of lava rock. While at first, I was not thrilled, I would never fail to fulfill my grandson’s duties (I would later thank her BIG time for this).
My grandmother lives adjacent to the golf course in Hammock Dunes, so as I was spending time in her back yard, five of her friends in different golf groups stopped to see what I was doing. Once they understood I was helping grandma with a couple of chores they exclaimed “Can you help me with my trimming?” and “Can you help me with indoor cleanup?” I believe I even recall someone asking me for a business card that day, which I most definitely did not have. It was crazy that it took five different people for it finally to register as a potential business idea, but once it did I got to the drawing board.
I created the first name we would go by: “The Hammock To-Do Dudes.” The first order of business was to begin passing out flyers around the neighborhood. It started with a few neighbors on the same street that gave me a shot, then a couple neighbors from other streets, and then other gated communities, and then the rest of Palm Coast. It has been a crazy journey since our founding with countless failures and learnings. I have no doubt been humbled. It has now been three years in business where we have served 1,000+ customers and have completed 3,000+ jobs in the local community. This summer we grew to 25 part-time team members to fill our growing demand. The rest of this year has some very exciting things planned!
What has it been like to create opportunities for younger people in our community to earn a living, and how do you select To-Do teammates?
This is one of the most fulfilling parts of the To-Do Dudes to me. At our organization, we like to say that, “we exist to empower the next generation of leaders by advancing their personal and professional skills.” Seeing so many young professionals strive to be better has no doubt pushed us all to be our best.
To find great quality team members we are careful in our decision-making process. To date as a company, 95% of our hires have joined by word of mouth from active team members. We have a careful review process to find our students. They must have the ambition to make an impact within our company, community, and well after their time with us. While we may have some time until we get here, we want to establish the To-Do Dudes brand as “the best place for a student to work.”
I believe everyone has been created to do something unique, and often we just need the right people in our corner to help us get back up when we fall. I believe the culture we are building here does that. It has been so fulfilling to see the growth and development of so many of our students over the past couple of years.
You all seem to be everywhere! What’s been happening with the To-Do Dudes over the past year? (community involvement, competitions, etc.)
The past year has been such an enjoyable experience! The people we have come in contact with, the events we have been able to speak at, and the support from the community have all been high on that list. There are many things I am probably missing, but here are a couple of the opportunities that meant most to our team:
Pitching our business in two pitch competitions. The first was in the Cairns Foundation Competition in Volusia County where the To-Do Dudes went on to win 2nd in the competition winning $5,000 in funding. The second competition was held in Chicago where the To-Do Dudes placed top-20 in a global competition.
We have been able to share our story with the Rotary Club, 1 Million Cups Daytona Beach, Stetson University Showcase, and the Marketing classes at Matanzas.
As one of our core values as an organization is community, we have tried to get involved with local organizations. Volunteering at the Tunnels to Towers, Garden Club event at FPC, and our most recent partnership with the Flagler Education Foundation have been a great experience.
Talk about the growth of the company and your plans for the future. Will we see To-Do Dudes branching out across the country?
We plan to keep our focus on improving our experience for the members of the Palm Coast community while continuing to grow to someday become a nationwide brand. The first plans for expansion are getting ready to happen in September of 2023 with a branch opening in the Ormond Beach area. We are actively recruiting new members from the colleges and high schools in Daytona and Ormond Beach. The long-term vision of the company is to provide this experience to students and neighbors all around the country. That being said, long-term success takes time. We want to make sure through any expansion we undergo that we remained focused and committed to serving our team and customers.
Did you ever envision this taking off the way it has and to what do you attribute the company’s success?
To be honest, when I started this company I was doing it for some extra side money. I intended to step away when “I left for college,” and then it was, “when I actually moved to college,” and then finally I decided “when I graduated college.” But for some reason, this never happened. From the beginning, my time and attention have only increased my focus on building the To-Do Dudes.
The passion for entrepreneurship gets more intense when you realize you can provide a solution to your community’s pain points.
One of the biggest reasons for success has no doubt been the team of amazing individuals that have come into the To-Do Dudes organization. As a group, we have adopted this mission of helping students grow while serving our customers. The opportunity to connect our rising scholars to local neighbors has created a stronger well connected community.
None of this would be possible without the countless hours of mentorship, advice, and feedback that have helped improve our company. The Flagler community has been so encouraging to us during the beginning of our story. We hope to be that same resource to Volusia County and beyond!