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Boostrapping to $5M with no-code tools

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Quick Stats

Tools used: Airtable, Slack, Zapier, Trello, Sheets

Revenue: $5M

Costs: $200/mo

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Nuage Stays

A customer story from Makerpad

Boostrapping to $5M with no-code tools

Hi, I'm Nadim and I'm the COO of Nuage Stays, a startup that rents fully serviced loft and apartment spaces to travellers.

I've built a suite of tools that help us manage almost every aspect of our business. We have tools that help us manage our reservations, collect and store data, create calendars, automate reports, track inventory and maintenance tickets, and manage our reviews.

These tools are used by our guest experience team, 3rd party service providers, and business development teams.

We built these tools because managing our business on Airbnb, Bookingcom, and Expedia was getting out of hand. Our team had to keep switching through all the apps in order to do anything. We needed a centralized system to manage our reservations. Furthermore, the only data we were able to collect was sent once a month to us from Airbnb (with suspect numbers!). We wanted to start looking at how our business was actually performing and what we could do to increase our performance. There's other software out there that accomplishes many of the functions our tools do, but they're extremely expensive. We're bootstrapping, so the money just wasn't there.

The main apps:
1. Airtable -The main database. Emails are sent to us from our sales channels and zapier sends the body and subject of the emails to airtable. Our airtable bases then parse the email into about 50 different fields which are then sent to a different set of apps (based on what type of information we receive).
Reviews are also managed on here, so we make sure not to miss any that need to be published.
Inventory is stored on airtable and we get notifications sent to slack when we are running low on certain stock, informing our team of exactly what needs to be ordered and when.

2. Trello - reservation manager which helps us visually track our confirmed reservations from the second they are confirmed until after the group checks out - our ""customer journey"". Each reservation is a trello card. Cards are organized in a series of lists and automatically progress through the journey based on the check-in and check-out dates of the reservation. Our team (local and remote employees) uses labels, notes, and comments to stay on the same page.
We also use this to track maintenance tickets - a form is submitted and a trello card is automatically created.

3. Sheets - compiles data, calculates KPIs, and automate reports that are discussed during meetings and used to make important decisions.

4. Calendar - this calendar combines all reservations from our different channels (Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, etc.), saving our team from having to switch between the different calendars. It's also used by our 3rd party service teams so they know what units to clean, which units can be verified or checked for maintenance, etc.

5. Zapier - the mesh that connects everything together

6. Slack - used for important notificiations (for ex. same day bookings that come in have an extra step that sends a message to a shared slack channel so we can ensure the unit is ready to host the group right away).

I've been working on these for about 18 months (on and off) but most of it is due to tweaking or expanding on the tools. In their simplest forms, it's probably taken about 3-7 days to build each one. I had some familiarity with Airtable, so I began there. After that, it was a lot fo trial and error to find a combination of apps that would do what we needed (Trello is visual so a big plus and GSheets has the power of excel while being online).

Notable Stats:
- Bootstrapped our way to $5,000,000 in sales while using these tools for about $200/mo.
- 7,500 ish records on airtable, trello cards, created, and google sheet rows to date
- Tracking over 100 KPIs in real time and on various levels (market level, building level, apartment level) and time bins (daily, monthly, quarterly, yearly)

"I've built a suite of tools that help us manage almost every aspect of our business. We have tools that help us manage our reservations, collect and store data, create calendars, automate reports, track inventory and maintenance tickets, and manage our reviews. We wanted to start looking at how our business was actually performing and what we could do to increase our performance. There's other software out there that accomplishes many of the functions our tools do, but they're extremely expensive. We're bootstrapping, so the money just wasn't there."

I had no idea this existed until like 3 days ago! It's great to see and I've been uncovering a bunch of resources. No-code is already powerful, and I believe it's only going to get easier and easier to build full scale software with no code whatsoever.

So far, limitations are:
- some apps are not accessible, if the integrations don't exist then you might not be able to accomplish what you want. However, if you look hard enough you might find an alternative that works.
- time. some zaps might take a bit of time to run, which is not an issue now but can be a bit problematic for some other use cases.

"I had no idea this existed until like 3 days ago! It's great to see and I've been uncovering a bunch of resources. No-code is already powerful, and I believe it's only going to get easier and easier to build full scale software with no code whatsoever."

Wrote about a quick post about some of the tools here: https://medium.com/@badnads/how-we-manage-our-short-term-rental-business-with-no-code-1f3b01f63d72

Twitter: @nadimelasmar
Email: nadim@nuagestays.com

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