Thursday, June 30, 2022

UniServices in the East Lansing community: let students do your odd jobs

February 8, 2022
<p>Finance junior Quintin Bell at the Meridian Twp Farmer’s Market to advertise UniServices. Photo courtesy of Adam Green.</p>

Finance junior Quintin Bell at the Meridian Twp Farmer’s Market to advertise UniServices. Photo courtesy of Adam Green.

Like all college students, law student Adam Green was looking for a way to make some extra cash.

He went through his array of common side hustles like Uber and GrubHub, and last summer began going to the plasma clinic to sell his blood for extra cash on the side, but none of these hustles seemed to work well for him.

One of Green’s friends invited him to help out with gutter cleaning in the area and initially, he rejected the offer, but helping the community while also letting students make money sparked a potential business idea.

Founder and now chief executive editor, Green started UniServices in September 2021 to help MSU students make money based on everyday tasks and chores on a flexible schedule.

“It’s honestly just incredible for students to get those opportunities to do simple things, like organizing clothes or cleaning a house, or vacuuming, cleaning out a garage, raking leaves,” Green said. “It’s manual labor, but it’s not necessarily skilled labor. Anybody can do it.”

Green brought chief operating officer Trenton Zylinski to help with tasks that the company may need.

Currently, Zylinski leads the student workers, or UniHelpers, through staffing and running the job board where students can register on a first come first serve basis. 

Currently, customers are paying on average $28 per hour.

Alumna Ann Bean used UniServices after she broke her foot and was unable to tend to her garden last June. 

Zoe Yanik, a UniHelper and now business team member, took on the job to clean up Bean’s garden.

“It was so nice to work with those young, young people that were just so ambitious,” Bean said. “They were just outstanding, willing to do the work … I worked alongside with her what I could do without getting on the ground.”

Through the Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, UniServices was able to receive funding for insurance, marketing costs, student interns for videography, photography, graphic design and code developing.

“It’s helped us an incredible amount because being a student company and having to figure out how to run a business is tough enough, but they’ve been able to provide a lot of counseling, mentorship, … advisors you can get,” Green said. “It’s a community of entrepreneurs at MSU you can kind of lean on to get experience with business.”

In December 2021, UniServices brought on alumnus Bill Van Huis as an advisor.

Van Huis, a retired executive in the private equity industry, has had experience in growing companies and revenue growth.

“There’s a number of services that people, homeowners like me in my demographic, there’s stuff we can’t do or don’t want to do,” Van Huis said. “It’s hard to locate a contractor to do it because the work might be too small or not enough hours.”

Green meets with Van Huis posing questions from an investment standpoint as well as a growth plan.

“There’s nothing better than someone, not someone, but students doing excellent work for odd jobs and that’s exactly the positioning statement I came up with after talking with him,” Van Huis said.

UniServices is now expanding into paid advertising with Valpak to directly send mail to 10,000 local residents, create advertisement videos and are now partnering with the city of East Lansing.

Since the start of the company, Green has been able to find a healthy balance between working on UniServices and studying for law school.

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“To be honest I probably don’t spend enough time on school, but I’m very passionate about this entrepreneurship stuff,” Green said. “It’s not just being a business and making money and all this, it’s seeing a lot of benefit from people in the community who are really excited about using the service, that’s really motivated me.”

Although with strict class hours, Zylinski fills the rest of his time working on the company by keeping an up-to-date calendar and answering emails immediately to maintain consistency and clarity with customers.

“At the same time it’s important to identify that you need time for self-care and making sure that you’re not overdoing it,” Zylinski said. “Everyone on our team has a very good appreciation for that as well.”

The company is beginning to create an app for customers to use UniServices that will be up by late spring of this year.

After graduating this May, Zylinski is considering working full-time for the company.

“When you get involved in something like this it’s kind of your baby,” Zylinski said. “You build a very deep connection with something like this and the team.”

Green would also like to continue UniServices full-time after graduating and his main goal is to go nationwide with the company.

“I think that what Adam has done with UniServices is not only created a service for the students to work, but he’s also created community too,” Bean said. 

Students that are interested in working for UniServices in an administration role or as a UniHelper can sign up through their website.

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