Since its inception, New York-based startup Managed by Q has deviated from the on-demand model popularized by the likes of Uber and Airbnb. Initially conceived of as a cleaning company, Managed by Q’s cleaners were brought on as employees who earned well over a minimum wage and received full benefits; last year, the company announced it would give all of its employees a 5% stake in the company.
But that doesn’t mean Managed by Q isn’t thinking big. Over the past three years, the company has sought to become the “operating system for offices,” as CEO Dan Teran puts it, which means introducing maintenance and admin services, along with a marketplace for local service providers. Now, Managed by Q is fleshing out its marketplace with profiles on each provider, allowing clientele to submit and read reviews from other offices that have already enlisted their help. For smaller outfits, the platform also doubles as marketing—and a stamp of approval, since the pool of providers is curated by Managed by Q.
“As companies have outsourced major components of running their office over the last couple of decades, there hasn’t been a place where you can get information beyond price,” Teran says. “We think it’s really important to prevent a race to the bottom on price and to highlight what makes some of these service providers great, so that people can understand that the cheapest option isn’t always going to be the best fit.”
With that in mind, the profiles will also include safety credentials and, in keeping with the ethos Managed by Q has strived to maintain, designations that indicate whether a service provider is women-owned or run by minorities, or uses sustainable products.
“By surfacing that, our hope is that we’re allowing employers to make good decisions,” Teran says. “It’s reasonable to expect that if companies want to wave the flag of corporate citizenship, then their employees and their customers should expect and demand that they are values-aligning their supply chain.” Teran adds that enabling companies to make more informed, socially conscious decisions is also a way to fight the narrative of outsourcing being bad for workers.
As Managed by Q has scaled, now boasting 1,000 employees across four cities, one of the biggest challenges has been staying true to its founding ideology. The startup’s investment in its employees was intended as benevolence, but Managed by Q was also betting fair wages and treatment would increase retention. A New York Times story last year indicated that has been true, reporting that only about 10% of clients stop using Managed by Q’s services each year and just 5% of employees leave.
Teran, of course, is optimistic and claims Managed by Q is “on path to becoming profitable.” We’ll just have to wait and see.