TradesBowl Founder Has Constructive Mission
When Alan Masters started working independently as a painter, he had already come a long way in his life. In August of 2010, he decided to make a bold move that would take his career to the next level.
Masters, 30, now serves as the president and founder of TradesBowl, an online database that quickly connects homeowners and craftsmen looking for work. The company also has a charitable element, working with contractors and troubled youth programs to give youngsters a fresh start through learning a viable and sustainable trade.
“For the homeowner, it’s fast, free, and easy. It’s as simple as that,” Masters said.
“Homeowners know that by using TradesBowl, and the contractors know that by being a part of TradesBowl, it’s helping inside communities through troubled youth.”
The concept of the website is crafted to help all three parties involved. For homeowners, they can not only locate reliable contractors, Masters said, but they can also give back to their own community by helping kids get their lives back on track and out of gang activity and other societal ills.
“This actually goes towards something that completely benefits the community. It’s about having a homeowner having somewhere to go to find these contractors that want to be recognized as a face in the community. It’s also about helping the contractor gain a better face in the community,” he explained.
It is also a cost-effective advertising solution for contractors, as TradesBowl’s most expensive plan breaks down to $1.64 a day for a year, and contractors can write advertising costs off as a donation.
“I’m a painter by trade, so I know what it is to go into homeowners’ homes and work and work only to catch a bad rap for one or two contractors who do something wrong. For all the good contractors that work hard for a $350 seven line, 14-day little ad, a one-year subscription is a better option for them,” Masters noted.
For the youth, Masters feels that they can be trained with a skill set on which they can build a sustainable career.
“Instead of breaking into homes, they’re building them. It’s a destructive mind being put to constructive use,” he said.
“Welders can make anywhere from $60-100,000 a year. Masons can make anywhere from $80-130,000 a year. These are actually trades that pay, that give back to the laborer, to the person that knows that knowledge….They can come out that training with full time jobs.”
Masters described himself as a “troublemaker” in his youth, growing up in Revere, Pa. This was one of the catalysts behind his mission to “give back” to Bucks County, and he is currently working with the criminal court system in the county to helps others down the same path he eventually took.
“I was misguided growing up, and if it wasn’t for some people who really took my under their wing and taught me a trade that allowed me to branch off, start my own business, and be successful at my own business, I wouldn’t be here, when I decided it wasn’t for me and got into TradesBowl. In my misguided youth, I was able to find guidance through structured trade and at that point was able to jumpstart my life and hope for better things,” Masters recalled.
“If I wasn’t given a second chance, who knows where I would have ended up? I wouldn’t have been educated the way I am today.”
He hopes that TradesBowl will instill others with a similar autonomous, go-getting attitude that has helped his website succeed thus far. Reactions from the community, he said, have all been positive, and supply industries from outside the area have called to advertise.
“Everything that has come my way has been a success as far as finding new clientele, obtaining homeowners’ awareness, actually implementing troubled youth and getting people on my side, like the community service agents that want to be a part of it,” he added. “Whether we made a dollar or $10,000 to put back in the community, that’s a success to me.”
Plans are already in place to expand into Lackawanna County, hiring his friend Lauren Brasted as a regional solution specialist and later a district manager just a few weeks ago. Upon hearing about TradesBowl, the Scranton resident immediately felt the company was a good fit for the city’s issues.
“Scranton needs a lot of help. I saw where TradesBowl could really be implemented into this community, where the growth could help stimulate the economy and help rebuild some of those homes that just tarnish the area,” Brasted said.
She cited the “beautiful architecture” of buildings in downtown Scranton as a history that she hopes the city can return to.
“If we can help teach youth how to continue this amount of professionalism and craftsmanship and skill, we can really make this area beautiful and shine again,” she said.
“I believe in it. I think it’s a great cause.”
Both employees made their debut in the county with a tent at the Drawcore Skate Park Mural Block Party on July 16 and 17 in West Scranton, and Masters said that he has appointments set up with Scranton Police Chief Dan Duffy and members of city council to see how he can expand more effectively in the area.
The concept of TradesBowl could go nationwide, Masters feels, but is satisfied with his company’s current rate of growth.
“I’m not looking for nationwide coverage. I’m looking for nationwide community growth. It’s one community at a time,” Masters said.
“TradesBowl is built off the power of positive thought in its entirety, on the power of helping people.”