by: Jacob Geiger
When James Barrett and Brandon Anderson started building Tenant Turner, they were sure there was a market for the product.
That’s because the two are both landlords, and both were frustrated with the process of finding prospective tenants and doing a bit of background research on them before showing their property. Tenant Turner is an app designed to make that process easier.
Now Barrett, Anderson and Chris Stewart have brought the product to market.
Tenant Turner is free to landlords. It allows them to pre-screen rental applicants. If the landlord likes what he sees in the initial screening, the company charges the prospective tenant $40 for a criminal and credit background check. Barrett said the eventual plan is to build the site out into a property-management system that landlords would pay to use.
“This completely automates the application process and gives you a pre-qualification process before even showing the property,” Barrett said. “We are hyper-focused on the independent landlord with only a few customers, not the apartment complex.”
Barrett and Stewart both lease out two properties. Anderson leases one. The three are childhood friends who jumped at the opportunity to work together on a business project that would solve one of their largest frustrations with being a landlord.
Barrett works as a project manager for Snagajob; Stewart works there as a developer. Anderson owns a web development company.
Having a side project that’s separate from their day jobs allows them each to hone skills that can be put to work during office hours, Barrett said.
“It’s a great outlet to leverage our skills in a different medium,” he said. “You use work skills to solve a problem that we know other people have.”
Building a new site while managing demanding day jobs — and family life — made for a project that advanced in fits and starts. Barrett said work on Tenant Turner tends to happen one hour at a time, often early in the morning or late at night. Anderson and Barrett began building the site last summer during a weekend “hackathon” for computer programmers.
The most rewarding part of the process, Barrett said, is solving a problem that had long bothered them.
“With this project, we are the customer,” he said. “We talk to other people but are already in tune with the problem.