By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – For 2020 Bay Port High School graduates Ryan Thieme and Nathan Jonet, business is good.
Despite graduating only one month ago and not knowing one another well for most of their high school careers, the pair started their own company, HomeMate USA, which gives clients help around their homes.
“It’s an interesting story,” said Thieme, who will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to study business administration/marketing and Nordic ski/run cross country. “Nathan and I happened to be in the same study hall the first semester (in 2019). We found out we were both interested in business and started bouncing ideas off one another.”
Jonet said he was already talking to another individual about starting a business, but he and Thieme were more in tune with their ideas.
“We originally were going to start a bar-shuttle service where we’d contract with bars and be the designated driver for the night and bring people back to their homes,” said Nathan, who is the son of Jennifer and Rick Jonet. “We eventually scrapped that idea and moved to this one. Our main goal was to solve a problem that lots of people had.”
Jonet said lots of people have the same problems around the house – they have to mow the lawn, do the chores and watch their kids.
“We thought, ‘Why don’t we offer a cheap solution to that?’” said Jonet, who will be attending Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire to study business management. “You can hire your neighborhood boy or a big landscaping company, but we offer a bunch of neighborhood kids. Ryan and I connect our freelancers to homeowners and make a little money off it for setting things up and running the business. There was a lot of upfront work in setting things up.”
Once the duo thought of what their business was going to provide, they had to figure out the legalities and what platform to use.
“There was a lot that went into the scheduling process and making that as easy as possible,” said Ryan, who is the son of Derik and Lisa Thieme. “People can log onto our website, homemateusa.com, learn about our freelancers and then schedule an appointment.”
He said the pair used other students at Bay Port to come up with the name of their business.
“We went around in study hall with about six potential names and asked what would fit,” Thieme said. “We used their input and combined different words to come up with the name.”
Jonet said each individual that provides services is an independent contractor who runs their own business, so they are technically not employees of HomeMate USA.
“We have some general liability insurance, but we set it up this way so we wouldn’t have to worry about paying health insurance or taking taxes out,” he said. “There’s no legal binding contract between us and our freelancers – we are not their employer, we just set things up.”
HomeMate USA provides any service around the house, such as babysitting, home chore help and lawn mowing.
“Outside work could include cleaning your car, babysitting for date night, or long-term pet sitting and light handyman work (painting, putting furniture together),” Thieme said. “We also have some specialty services like pressure washing where we offer them through more professional companies. They might cost a little more.”
Thieme said there are plenty of costs in running HomeMate USA.
“The website and our scheduling software have costs,” he said. “We also pay a processing fee, liability insurance and advertising.”
Thieme said in general, people have been happy with the services provided.
“You can check out our Google reviews, but it’s going well,” he said. “It fills a gap with who we have doing the jobs. Many of the things people want done are things professional companies are not willing to do – those odd jobs that take a little time, but they don’t want to pay a ton of money for.”
Jonet said the company wants to eventually expand its service.
“We’d like to contract with a plumber and an electrician in the future,” he said. “We want to help people with everything around the house. We’ve started small and hope to build to something bigger. We are seeing more appointments and more positives.”
The pair said they are always looking for more freelancers and could use a few more females to help.
For more information, visit homemateusa.com.