Detroit’s Locqus Gives Simple Mobile Tools to Contractors, Plumbers

There’s hardly a plumber, electrician, or contractor these days who doesn’t have a smartphone with them on service calls. But much of the software available for managing jobs and customers in the field is overly complicated and hopelessly outdated. That’s what gave serial entrepreneur Sandy Kronenberg the idea for his latest venture, Detroit-based Locqus, back in 2011.

He had just sold his first company, Netarx, to global IT conglomerate Logicalis. Logicalis asked him to stay on as chief technology officer to manage the absorption of Netarx employees into the larger company. Part of his duties involved selecting a field services management tool that would assist workers who were out answering service calls.

“I looked at dozens and dozens of [tools],” Kronenberg says. “I narrowed them down and finally picked one that I’ll call the chief of the pygmies. Six months after I left the job, they pulled the plug on it, even after spending thousands and thousands on licensing fees, because it was so complicated.”

Kronenberg, who’s also a partner at Ludlow Ventures as well as an angel investor, was spending time in the Madison Building, mentoring startups, when he decided to launch his own company based on the lessons he learned with Netarx and Logicalis.

The result, Locqus, is a free mobile and Web app for those working away from the office—contractors, electricians, plumbers, and landscapers, to name a few. The Locqus app allows field workers to tell customers they’re on the way over, schedule jobs, record customer history, do invoicing, process payments, and track vehicles. The app also shows users traffic and weather updates.

Kronenberg says Locqus has plenty of competition, but much of it is from huge corporations like Intuit and Oracle whose priority isn’t field service management and whose tools aren’t really meant for small businesses.

“Intuit makes accounting software,” he explains. “Their tools are focused on larger organizations and they aren’t comprehensive. With Locqus, all the tools are in one place, so you don’t have to leave our app.”

Though Locqus doesn’t charge users to download its app, it does offer a premium version with added features and unlimited cloud storage. (The free version gives users up to 2GB of storage space.) It also charges for credit card processing, though Kronenberg says its rates are competitive. “We charge the same as Square,” he adds.

Locqus rolled out as a soft launch last December, and Kronenberg says that so far, about 100 companies are using the app. The Locqus team is at 11 right now, with five more hires expected in the next few weeks.

Also forthcoming is a partnership announcement later this summer that Kronenberg says should help “catapult” Locqus nationally.

“A lot of these companies were initially hesitant to put their information in the cloud, but then they saw the capabilities and functionality of Locqus,” Kronenberg says. “We’re pretty excited about our product.”

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