The tech start-up that acts like an office manager

In a landscape full of start-ups, one company is making its mark by capitalizing on other start-ups.

The strategy is paying off, Managed by Q’s client list has doubled in the past four months to 200.

Knowing that there’s typically no such thing as a set of extra hands when you work for a small company, Managed by Q’s founders Saman Rahmanian and Dan Teran set out to help businesses run more efficiently. The company provides a technology-enabled “smart” office service that allows employees to schedule cleanings, maintenance and even order a handyman. Think of it like tech support meets maintenance.

“No company is in business just to run an office space, yet most companies give headcount toward people running the physical space—the products, services and technology,” Teran explains.

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Source: Managed by Q Saman Rahmanian, Managed by Q

Source: Managed by Q
Saman Rahmanian, Managed by Q

As Rahmanian puts it, Q aims to make the office run more efficiently. The company installs a free iPad with their software and provides 24-hour customer service via FaceTime and messaging. Users can schedule a customized office cleaning, leave notes about what they need done and rate the staff. If they’re running low on supplies like toilet paper, they can order a refill though Q’s app.

“Our customer is a 26-year-old woman who is the office manager. She is generally not interested in re-ordering orange juice so there’s always juice in the fridge. She wants to deal with somewhat more aspirational things in the office, but the reality is she also has to deal with those things.”

Teran said he expects it’s the interaction that sets his company apart.

“It’s transparency and it’s communication and if you have those things you know, it’s amazing what else you can do. I think we live in a time where people have come to expect that. When it doesn’t exist, it becomes increasingly painful. A generation ago, people would just assume that’s the way it is, well it’s not just the way it is,” Teran said.

In an effort to make their own business run efficiently, Q recently launched an iPhone app that allows its workers to check their schedules and get directions to their next job.

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Unlike many of the start-ups they work for, Q found they could only offer a superior level of service if they hired their own employees, rather than contract out, because it’s easier to train them and motivate them by offering incentives. The start-up has hired 175 staff members with wages starting at $12.50 an hour. They even provide benefits for those working at least 30 hours per week.

Jose Lara, a Managed by Q supervisor, said benefits are definitely an incentive for top talent.

“When employees come to Q they’re getting paid at a higher rate than they were normally and now they’re getting benefits on top of that and it’s flexible so they’re just overall much happier,” Lara said.

Managed by Q expects to launch in cities beyond New York during the first half of 2015.

So far they’ve already secured larger clients, like Uber, Kickstarter, VaynerMedia and Bitly. Ultimately, rather than take on individual accounts one office a time, the founders hope their future lies in partnerships with entire building owners to embed their services within a tenant’s lease.

—Sofia Pitt & Andy Rothman contributed to this report.

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