John Terneus, a 2005 mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate from West Virginia University, has developed a website designed to link people who need work performed together with people willing to do the jobs.
ChoreDoor.com, which was launched in August 2013, is an online bulletin board for help wanted ads. Posts can be made for free to help anyone find reputable help. It allows craftsmen, tradesmen and laborers the chance to peruse hundreds of potential jobs, place a bid on the work and then wait for contact from the person willing to pay them for the job through internal messaging on the website.
The idea was sparked by Terneus’ community email group, where he would see messages from members asking others if they knew of someone who could complete a task for them. He saw a problem in this search method and, as a good engineer does, he began to solve it.
“I’ll never forget my first day of Engineering 101,” Terneus said. “The professor came in and asked the class, ‘What is an engineer?’ The class spent a few minutes spewing out a lot of incorrect answers. Finally, he answered his own question for us, ‘An engineer is someone who solves problems.’”
Terneus, a Morgantown, W.Va., native, developed the itch to start his own business during his first stint as a professional engineer. His job helped inventors secure patents for their ideas, which included analyzing and evaluating the ideas and sometimes writing specifications for the idea.
“It was a good starting position and helped my creativity,” Terneus said.
Terneus then worked for a defense contractor as a process engineer. After two years he moved into his current position as a project manager.
“I wanted more than just bringing a part to life; I wanted to see the whole process from the need, to the design, to the building, testing and delivery process,” explained Terneus.
While working as a project manager, Terneus returned to WVU to earn his master’s degree in business administration in 2012. He wanted to expand his expertise on the “business side of managing a project.”
Terneus used all of these experiences to bring his dream of starting his own business to realization.
While contractors are charged a small monthly fee to use the site, ChoreDoor.com does not take any percentage of the cost of the work. On other sites, customers and contractors mutually agree on a price on the website, and the site takes a percentage of that price.
“There is a downside to that business model,” explained Terneus. “Most contractors won’t agree to a price without first seeing the job to provide a quote? There is a huge market that business model is missing out on that ChoreDoor.com can capture.”
Terneus believes his engineering education at WVU helped him see that there is no black and white when it comes to engineering; there is more than one way to solve a problem. He saw what he believes is a better way to link those needing help with odd jobs to those who can do them.
“An engineer solves a problem. I saw a problem and I hope that ChoreDoor.com becomes a major solution to this problem,” said Terneus.
CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
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