Hux.com connects small-time service providers with customers

By Aimee Millwood | @aimeemillwood

Informal services make up 5 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, says Stanley Vergilis, the founder of Hux. “That’s in the trillions. When I saw that statistic, I knew there was an enormous opportunity.”

Stanley Vergilis has big dreams for Hux. (Photo by Aimee Millwood)

The informal service sector comprises house cleaners, dog walkers, tutors and related jobs. These service providers work alone or on small teams, serve a small number of customers, and depend on word of mouth to get business. Most take payments only in cash, and many rely on pen and paper to track their clients and appointments.

These workers have a sense of ownership for their small businesses but struggle to find new customers and manage existing ones.

Vergilis saw a need to simplify the way these service providers work. His own experience as a tutor gave him the inspiration for a solution.

“I was taught the importance of self-sufficiency from a young age,” said the Midtown Atlanta resident, the son of Russian Jewish refugees. “I put myself through Georgia Tech by tutoring high school students. I found it really hard to manage my micro-business and find new customers.”

Seeking a solution but coming up empty, Vergilis decided to make his own. At 19 years old, he found a programmer online to make the first iteration of Hux (www.hux.com): a website where you could find, schedule and pay for a service provider like Vergilis.

His experiment brought outstanding results. His customers shared his link, bringing him new customers, and he saved time selling his services and organizing his schedule because it was so easy to manage them online.

“I got more business than I could handle,” Vergilis said.

As demand from customers grew, so did the demands of his website. “I realized I couldn’t rely on a freelance developer,” he said. “I looked for a technical co-founder, and luckily I found James.”

Vergilis met James Loper while they were working at Georgia Tech. Loper primarily developed software but also fixed phones and computers as a local service provider.

“It was a natural fit,” Vergilis said. “We shared a similar vision for Hux. We could replace storefronts, receptionists, marketing and all of the other overhead that cut into a service provider’s bottom line.”

With vision and ambition, the two began working before, after and even during class. After a few months of development, they dropped out of college and officially launched Hux in March 2014.

In 10 months they have grown to reach thousands of customers and are expanding their service to Charlotte. They also narrowed their focus to one service: house cleaning.

“Finding a house cleaner can be an incredibly frustrating task. Services like Angie’s List and Yelp only help you with the first step of getting your place cleaned,” Vergilis said. “It’s still up to you to get quotes, sort out scheduling and find cash. With Hux you can book in a few clicks at half the price of a cleaning company.”

But he doesn’t plan for house cleaning to be Hux’s only business. “Hux Cleaning is the first of many services. Our ambition is to make booking a service as easy as buying a product online. Amazon started with books; now they sell every product imaginable.”