EWING -- College of New Jersey senior Tyler Gambardella had a jam-packed schedule last year, juggling classes with extracurricular activities, a co-op and a part-time job.
With little time to do his laundry, run to the supermarket or clean his room, he often found himself transferring money to friends and housemates to help him get his chores done.
"I realized there's definitely a market for this," he said. "There's got to be something to use to hire people to do these little chores for me and there wasn't."
But not for long.
The finance major teamed up with two other students to create "Handl," an app that connects people too busy to complete their chores and errands with those willing to do them and looking to earn extra money in their free time.
It works in much the same way that the popular ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft work.
The team -- consisting of Gambardella, Patrick Monaghan, a senior interactive multimedia major, and Carolina Gamarra, a junior marketing major -- won TCNJ's Mayo Business Plan Competition last month, taking home $30,000 to help with start-up costs.
The team will roll out a beta version of the app in September before fully launching later in the fall.
Gambardella's plan is to carve out a niche in college towns, beginning with the colleges and universities in Mercer County, but later expanding into the areas surrounding Rutgers and Rowan universities and other schools.
"It's really the perfect demographic," he said. "College students are strapped for money, but we don't have a lot of time between our classes and social life to get a full-time job. Most of my friends work part-time jobs or rely on their parents for money."
For example, students with a morning and afternoon class would have time in between to mow someone's lawn, pick up their dry cleaning, walk their dog or deliver lunch, he said.
The app's biggest competitor is TaskRabbit, a service that lets people find "rabbits" to perform tasks and run errands. It's available in 28 metro areas, the closest being Philadelphia and New York.
But Gambardella says Handl will offer more convenience and choice by allowing users to type the exact job they need done, set their desired price and time requirements, and accept the best offer available based on a handler's profile, ratings and reviews from previous jobs and their location, travel time and bid price.
"It creates supply and demand in an auction marketplace," said Gambardella, who serves as the CEO.
The map feature also allows users to keep track of the handlers while they are working.
Gambardella says that before prospective handlers are hired, they will be vetted face-to-face and subjected to a thorough background check. A training course will also be required to educate them on basic customer service skills, useful tips and how to build their profiles.
Monaghan, who used the app as his senior thesis project, and Gamarra will both stay on as the chief technology and marketing officers, respectively.
The trio's competition winnings will help cover the development of the app and the background checks and general liability insurance, but Gambardella says they're also in talks with two investors.