Student-Run Business Aims to be Uber of Workers
KENNESAW, Ga. (Apr 17, 2018) — Mobile apps have changed the way that many consumers book services. Rideshare apps have replaced taxis, home-share apps have replaced hotels, and food delivery apps have replaced trips to the grocery store. Kennesaw State University student Chris Dancy says his new app, called Click-a-Shift, is a worker-share app that will do the same thing for professional services.
Dancy, a senior philosophy major, has been working with the Michael J. Coles College of Business Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center for more than a year to grow Click-a-Shift, which launched summer of 2017.
Click-a-Shift is an online marketplace where a pool of available workers – all local college students – offer their services to businesses on a shift-by-shift basis. When businesses have an immediate need for a worker, such as if one of their employees calls out, or if they need help setting up and breaking down equipment at an event, the business logs into the app and posts the opportunity. Available student workers receive a notification about the shift, and can choose to accept or deny.
“Students are able to choose when and where they want to work,” Dancy says, “and it’s great experience for learning new skills. At the same time, businesses get dependable, viable contractors who can work for them and operate as if they are part of the firm.”
Dancy and his team perform background checks on the students and verify all skills and credentials. “If they say they are a lifeguard, we check for that certification. We don’t want anyone jumping into the pool who doesn’t know how to swim.”
Click-a-Shift’s small size, flexibility, and focus on individual shifts over long-term placements makes them more attractive to their clients than traditional staffing agencies.
Since launching in July, Click-a-Shift has enrolled more than 100 student workers into the program, who have picked up a cumulative 700 hours in shifts. Click-a-Shift’s clients are primarily looking for students to work in their warehouses, assist with data entry, and provide event support.
Like many business ventures, Click-a-Shift started as two friends bouncing ideas off each other. Dancy and fellow Kennesaw State student Adam Rose wanted to go into business together. Rose was working on a concept he pitched during the 2016 KSU Top 100 to create an organization offering career and educational guidance to high school and college students. Meanwhile, Dancy wanted to take the rideshare business model made popular by apps like Uber and apply it to labor.
“I said why can’t we mold the two ideas together and only work with students,” Dancy says. “That would let us help students be who they want to be by not tying them down to a single job. They can work when they want and can gain the skills they feel are the best fit for them. It would also differentiate us from a lot of the competition.”
Dancy and Rose soon teamed up with Kennesaw State student Katrina Townsend and entered their Click-a-Shift concept into the 2017 KSU Top 100.
Organized by the Entrepreneurship Center, KSU Top 100 brings together the 100 best student-submitted business ideas. Students work with mentors during the spring semester to develop a business plan, establish key performance indicators, and address potential challenges to the business’s success. At the end, they pitch their concepts to investors, with the winning project receiving $100,000 in investment funding.
Although they did not win the 2017 competition, Dancy and his team gained valuable experience participating in the program.
“A big part of it was being able talk about our ideas with likeminded people who were having the same kinds of challenges we were,” Dancy says. “We also got to speak with a lot of different business owners in the area. That was an invaluable resource for us.”
Thanks to the guidance received at the Entrepreneurship Center, Click-a-Shift officially launched in July 2017, with Rose in charge of student recruitment and Townsend managing contractor payments. Using the business connections made during the KSU Top 100 program – and by literally knocking on doors to get the word out – Click-a-Shift built up its client base, which includes organizations like Technical Elements and Stor Square. The company began generating revenue within the first month.
Regan Durkin, assistant director of the Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center, attributes Click-a-Shift’s success to the tenacity of its leadership team.
“Chris not only clearly and passionately casts his vision, but also models the way,” she says. “He is incredibly humble in his leadership in Click-a-Shift, gaining the respect of his partners, investors, and customers. Like all great entrepreneurs, Chris is action-oriented. I never see him sitting around complaining, but instead taking ownership and creating.”
Despite Click-a-Shift’s initial success, Dancy says the company is waiting for additional capital before significant expansion. The team have entered their business into the 2018 KSU Top 100 competition. If they win, Dancy will use the money to buy enough insurance to cover the enrollment of additional student workers. Click-a-Shift currently has student contractors from Kennesaw State, Georgia State, and Valdosta State Universities.
As Dancy continues working to grow his business, he says Click-a-Shift would not have been as successful without help from the Entrepreneurship Center, and he wants other students to take advantage of that resource when developing their own business ideas.
“Look at what’s already available to you at the school,” he says. “It’s not that difficult to reach out to someone who has already done it and find a mentor.”
Durkin also wants Kennesaw State students to know that the Entrepreneurship Center is there to help them succeed.
“I hope that students who want to do something wildly different and meaningful with their lives don’t overlook the EC because our resources go far beyond skillset,” she says. “Not only can we help students craft their financial projections, pitches, and proposals, but we are a group of people who will stand behind and champion students willing to do the hard work to create something great.”
– Patrick Harbin
Video by Rob Witzel
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers close to 200 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.