Today’s interview is brought to you by SafeShowings. An app to protectReal Estate Professionals, homeowners, and the Client.
SafeShowings is the first app of its kind. It captures an image of the potential buyer’s Face. If you are unable to “End” a SafeShowing, it not only notifies your emergency contacts and 911, it securely captures the Face of the perpetrator. This approach deters criminal behavior because the person intending to do harm will be trackable or will be deterred altogether.
SafeShowings Keeps Real Estate Professionals Safe!
You can download the app from Apple Store and Google Play Store. To know more visit www.safeshowings.com or call 800-268-8437.
Hello everyone, today is the 8th of July, It’s another awesome Thursday morning, and hope y’all are having a great time right now. Could you believe that? we’re halfway through the year already.
Oh, by the way, my name is Mark, and welcome everybody to the podcast! and today’s guest is Helen Hudson the CEO of FaceSnap and Founder of the SafeShowings APP
She is a REALTOR® in Charleston, SC and she experienced a situation that made her fear for her personal safety. Her mission is to deter criminal behavior against Real Estate Professionals, Home Owners, and Clients. Listen to her story.
Welcome Joseph and Helen, thank you for joining us today
Well, thank you very much for that great introduction, mark, as usual. And today guys, thank you for joining our podcast and you’re in for a real treat today.
We have a woman entrepreneur who is just crushing it in her business. And those of you who are out there, that are ladies in the business and thinking about starting a business or your own, you’re going to really be encouraged today by listening to Helen Hudson.
I’ve known Helen Hudson for a good while. She is an amazing entrepreneur she has a great family. She’s just someone in our, Charleston, South Carolina community who is well thought of and has great stature and, great ability. And so I’m just excited to hear her talk about her business today. So Helen, welcome.
Okay. Sure. I was born in South Carolina, rock hill, South Carolina. My dad is a Clemson graduate. He finished Clemson in textile, so we moved a lot growing up. I have an older sister, Sally she’s three years older and a younger brother who’s a year younger, he’s a dentist, and Sally’s in banking. And we moved over 14 times growing up so I learned early in life how to meet people and make friends.
My parents always taught us to, look at life from a positive perspective, little did we know until our double wedding (my sister and I had a double wedding) that my parents had their own struggles in life where sometimes dad wasn’t getting a promotion.
He was laid off, but we never knew that. They always put this positive spin on that to us saying: “we’re moving to a new place, a new house, you’re going to have new friends”. And so I’ve always been able to adjust to change, adapt to new situations because of that.
After I got married right out of college and we had a son he’s 25 now. He graduated from UNC Wilmington. Spent most of my life, my sales career in transportation sales. I worked for companies like UPS and Yellow Transportation and several logistics companies for about 30 years is where I spent my time out of college. Backing up to college – I graduated from Meredith College in ’86 in interior design, and I had a minor in art and business. Fast forward the 30 years after transportation sales, I knew that I wanted to live in Charleston probably 17 years ago. When I visited for the first time, I thought, well, that’s where I want to retire.
So, I made that dream come true. Five years ago, I moved to Charleston. I changed my career to get my real estate license. It’s something I’ve always been interested in. And that’s kind of what brought me to this business opportunity, which I’ll be sharing with.
Well, thank you, Helen, that’s a great story. I learned some things about you I didn’t know. That’s wonderful! And you know, I’m really excited for everyone to hear about your business and what you’ve started because I think it just has huge potential. You own a company called safe showings.
And so tell us how you got started with safe showings. How did you choose this business? How did you come up with this dream and this vision and idea? I think it’s just fascinating.
Oh, it’s my pleasure to share it with you, Joseph. For probably the last 30 years of my life, I’ve always wanted to own my own business.
I have had several ideas from, probably my early twenties. One was a product, It’s a Lunchable product before that came out and then it came out. And then I had an idea because I’m tall – to develop a company, to develop clothes for tall people (which I never really pursued) but I’ve always prayed for God to give me the direction to tell me what I’m here for. What am I here to do before I die between the dash, the day you’re born, the day you die.
And little did I know that this career in real estate would open up that opportunity. What happened to me was -three years ago, this past March, I was showing property. I’d had my real estate license for about six months and I was working on a team.
And when you’re doing the business and real estate, you’re always working with people you don’t know. And I set the appointment to meet a buyer for two o’clock on a Saturday. I drove up to the neighborhood and when I did – the hair on the back of my neck – stood up. I just didn’t feel safe. The area didn’t feel safe to me, but it’s two o’clock in the afternoon.
And this Helen back three years ago was more concerned about the sale than her safety. So I parked the car. I waited for the buyer to arrive. He came up to the property. I greeted him. We went into the home and I left the door open. I felt like I needed to leave myself an ‘out’ – we’re taught to do that in our business to be proactive about safety, leave yourself an out.
He went to the back of the home. He got on a cell phone and a minute later, a truck drove up. Two guys jumped up on the porch. And that’s when my heart stopped. I’ll never forget that feeling. I thought, oh my gosh nobody knows where I am or who I’m with. And thankfully nothing happened to me that day, but I wasn’t prepared. I was not being prepared about safety. I left that situation, knowing that I had to think differently about my personal safety.
I knew that I needed to be proactive. I knew that I didn’t want to be vulnerable again. So that caused me to do research. And when I did my research, I found out that 38% of the 2 million realtors had situations, just like I have where they’re working work with a buyer or a stranger and something scares them. Something makes them think twice about their safety.
So I knew there was a problem in the marketplace, just from that statistical data – that led me to do additional research. And I found out that over 200 realtors have been murdered in the last decade. And most recently, Joseph was a man in Nebraska. And most men that I talked to and I’ve been to over 45 trade shows in the last two years have said to me, Helen, I get it – “you’re a female you’re attractive. You work alone, you should be carrying a gun. You should protect yourself.”
But I want to speak to the audience clearly and let you know that a third or more of the victims that I’ve read about – have been men. The man that died in Nebraska, was a broker. He was showing the property as a rental property. They found his body stuffed under a stairwell. So it’s not just women that are vulnerable. In our market, men are just as vulnerable. And I’m sure that if we were to interview the 200 that had been murdered today. If they could speak today, they would tell you they did not expect to be murdered that day. They did not expect to go work with a buyer and help a buyer and lose their lives.
And the reason I say that is you cannot look at someone based on their looks and know what their intentions are. So that’s, that’s really how the story began, and the research and finding out that these people lost their lives while they were helping someone inspired me to go forward in creating safe showings and developing an app that enables realtors to be in control and be proactive and deter crime before it happens.
Helen that is fascinating. And the world we live in today, you know, we should all be concerned about safety. And wow, what a great niche of the business world you’re involved in. And so I was reading a story (just for the audience) about the guy that started WhatsApp. This is going to be a great encouragement to everyone.
He saw that the trend was going to where people were gonna be using apps on their phones. And this is exactly what Helen Hudson is describing – she’s doing today.
The guy created WhatsApp and he sold it to Facebook or something like that. And the guys were $10 billion today and everybody uses WhatsApp. And that’s, I think what you have Helen – is just as disruptive as that.
And I want you to explain to our audience how it works, how they download the app, who can be a customer, how people can refer people to your business (To get this app because I mean). I’m looking at me with daughters and sons, and, you know, in their twenties and I’m thinking, heck, they need this.
I’m excited about what you’re doing. I’m excited more than that, about your heart, about what you’re doing. You have such a wonderful heart, but tell people how this works and how a realtor or anyone can access your app.
I also have an app called face snap, and the reason I made things the way I do – I’m logical – I like things to make sense that you read the name when you kind of know what it is
Face snap, for both apps, is taking an image of someone’s face. This is how the apps work. And again, I create things to make them simple – because I know we all juggle a lot of different things, different types of apps, but for safety, you want it to be simple, easy to use.
So what our apps do is before you meet a stranger, (I teach people in real estate this) but this would be the case: ‘If you were using face snaps for dating sites, Uber Lyft, taxi, Facebook marketplace, Craigslist. If you’re, working from home and you have a repairman coming to your house’ – you can greet them at the door and tell them you care about your safety.
You need an image of their face, but the way both of them work, you tell the person upfront before you take the picture of their face, what you’re doing and why. That’s the key to being proactive. If you don’t tell someone you’re in control, it’s not going to be a proactive approach.
So I teach realtors (If I could rewind my story three years ago, it would go like this: Hey Joseph, I’m looking forward to meeting you Saturday at two at the property. I just want you to know that I care about your safety, my safety, and the homeowner’s safety, so does my brokerage, so does you know. Our company, so we’re going to be taking the image of your face before we go in the home.) Those are the ways that you can.
If you’re going on a dating site and you’re using our app called face snap, the same type of verbiage. Hey, I look forward to meeting you at that coffee shop. I just want you to know, I care about my safety. I need to get an image of your face and that’s getting in an Uber Lyft or taxi with face snap – you do the same approach.
You walked to the driver’s side safely and you just snap an image of their face and let them know you’re getting in the car. And when they ask why, so you care about your safety, just get me to where I’m going safe and we’re in good shape.
But the way the apps work is you press a button that says create showing for real estate. If you’re using face snap, it’s start your meeting. But time restarts 45 minutes – for our apps to give you plenty of time to get to where you’re going. If you’re in an Uber or to show a property and that we don’t want the time to be too little, because you, you don’t want to call for help unnecessarily. Again, our app deters crime, and hopefully, you never have to call for help, but when the timer gets down to five minutes reminds you, it asks you a question: Are you safe? If so, press the reset timer.
But the next step of the app, it’s going to ask you who you’re with. If you’re showing property and I’ll put auto-populate Joseph Land because we set the appointment for two o’clock on Saturday, it’s so easy to use. You don’t have to type anything in you.
Auto-populate the name of who you’re meeting with then? You greet the client. I get out of the car and say: Hey, Joseph, just like I mentioned to you on the phone, I need to get an image of your face before we go into the property. I’m sure you would like the realtors to do that if your house was on the market as well.
So that’s when you hold the app, you take the image of the face and you can see it in the picture behind the little red image. That image (right side) is the person’s face. The left side is the exact GPS location.
The day that I was approached by three men at one time, and my heart stopped, I said, nobody knows where I am or who I’m with, but who I’m with? That’s the image of the face. And guess what folks, you can’t fake a face. If you take an image of someone’s face, they can’t fake it.
If you say, I need to get an image of the face, they can’t say they don’t have it. So that’s why you’re passionate about getting the image of a face. It’s also telling a potential criminal don’t mess with me. Then show with the property. You unlock the door because 99% of the murders I’ve read about happening outside of the home. So if you follow this properly, you are going to deter crime. You’re inside the home. You show the property. You look down and it says 1903 is the amount of time you have left and you’re going to show them another house or two. So just hit reset timer. You get in your car, you drive to the next property address and that white box in the top left automatically updates as you’re driving. So it will tell you every street that you’re passing, when you put the car in park, in the driveway for the next house, it’s, it locks in your exact GPS location.
If sometime during the showing you’re attacked and they destroy your phone, your three emergency contacts are still going to be alerted to your exact location. Who you were showing the property to and an image of their face.
If you are in a situation where you feel like you’re about to be attacked and you know that something’s going wrong, there’s an emergency alarm button under the menu section of our app. You press the emergency alarm button and it calls 9 1 1. It alerts your three emergency contacts of your exact GPS location, who you’re with, and the image of their face.
The app for face snap works, just the same. it has the same features except for the ones that are only applicable to real estate. The other features for real estate or open house, that’s when we’re showing property and people are coming inside the house. And in that case, it allows you to put the number of hours and minutes.
You’re showing property at the open house. Then I greet people at the door. I don’t let them in the house until I do this step. I say: Hey, you’re, you’re welcome to come inside. I just want you to know the homeowner requires I’d be accountable for who I allow into their home. I’m sure you would want that same accountability. I need to get an image of your face. Snap snap, snap, snap, snap. It’s that easy. It’s just telling the person you’re in control by getting a secure image of their face.
And my passion is that I can save live a life or deter crime for people. And I think the world that we live in Joseph is not as safe as it used to be. And crime is on the rise and we all need to be proactive about our safety.
This is fascinating and you’re a hundred percent right. Everyone is concerned more and more about safety today because this is the society we live in, and this is so amazing.
What you have, this is just amazing. And if there are people listening to this podcast now who know Realty companies, or agents or people like that. Who they know need to have this app on their phone and to use your service, how do they get in touch with you? And can you tell us a little bit about your website and how people can send you referrals of people you call?
I know what an honor it is to have you on this call today because I know. Your time is very limited, you’re doing eight to nine presentations to Realty companies all day long every day. And to me, this is just a total no-brainer. I know that’s a lot of said there, but tell our listeners how they can refer people to you or how people can contact you.
Thank you. It’s my pleasure. We have both apps in the apple store and Google play store, depending on whether you have an iPhone or Android.
So they’re accessible that way. That’s the easiest way to download our apps for real estate. If an individual wants to purchase our app. For safe showings, it’s $4.99 cents. It’s less than a cup of coffee. The type of coffee I drink anyway. Or $49. 99 per year, so it’s very affordable. What’s your safety worth is what I like to ask people.
But for those that are working on a team or a brokerage or part of the MLS are part of we’re all part of associations and MLS is we’re running a program, which is almost free.
It started in May – June is National Safety month for all safety products. September is Realtor Safety Month and I’m passionate. I’m basically giving it away to groups.
It’s a flat rate of $2,000 per year, no matter how many members are in the association or brokerage, they can have access to safe showings for all their members for $2,000 a year. The best way to reach out to me through our website or through my email, my phone number is area code (843) 991-9875. Our website is www.safeshowings.com and they can reach out to me. We’ll set up a meeting with the brokerage association or a group to make sure they can take advantage of our promotional pricing.
We also have face snap, and right now, during. Next few months, the app is free and they can download that for face snap. Anytime you meet a stranger, Uber rides, Lyft taxis dating sites, Craigslist, Facebook marketplace. Just go to our app stores or Google play store. Download it for free. At this time, we’re doing just a free, free trial for everyone because I’m passionate about safety. I want people to use it and again, I hope to save a life.
Helen, this is fascinating. And so guys, I mean, you said almost free. I mean, you’re almost just, you’re giving this away. I mean, can you imagine a Realty company that employs 2000 realtors, you know, there companies out there that have 50,000 gosh, at $2,000, That’s less than a dollar a year investment in the safety of their associates.
And so think about that guys – I’m going to make a prediction – I’m going to tell you that this business that Helen has safe showings is as disruptive as WhatsApp. And all she needs to do is take it to the market, which she’s doing. And I want you to write her name down Helen Hudson because you’re going to see her very successful in the future.
If you’re listening to this podcast, you can contact her by going to her website: www.safeshowings.com, and we’ll get our team, our staff to post that up for you. So you have it, but Helen, it’s a pleasure to have you on this call today. I’m so excited about you, not only who you are as a person but who you are as an entrepreneur, you are a rockstar. Is there anything you’d like to tell our audience, in closing?
Yes, absolutely. A couple of things. If you’re listening and you have an entrepreneurial heart, or you have an idea, don’t be afraid, have faith have the wherewithal to talk to mentors like Joseph, go be part of a cohort or a system of people that are like you go to 1 million cups, share your ideas.
Someone’s going to listen and support you and help you. If it’s something that meets a need in the market or in our world, it’s definitely worth doing find your purpose to make a difference in the dash. And I just really want people to think about their personal safety differently. My quote, that I quote to realtors, and this is Helen speaking that day three years ago when I had that situation where a feared for my safety. I can’t tell you how scared I was and I was more concerned about the sale than my safety. We all need to reverse that mentality and. Try to look at life differently. It’s okay to tell people you care about your safety. It’s just the world we live in and it can save your life. Or it could save a friend’s life if you share it with them.
Appreciate all your support, Joseph. You’re a wonderful man and mentor to me and thank you for allowing me to be on your podcast.
Well, thank you, Helen. And guys, you heard it from her Helen Hudson safe jones.com a disruptive company.
If you’re out there, as Helen said, and you have a dream, or you have an idea that God’s put on your heart and go for it, just like Ellen’s done and write her name down because you’re going to see her name in lights here in the future because she has something that’s very disruptive.
And everybody should be like Helen says safety first before the sale and the society we’re living in today. So thank you everybody for joining us today. It’s been a pleasure to have you on this podcast with us, and we look forward to having you on our next podcast in the future.
But Helen, thanks again for joining us today, and best of luck to you. I look forward to working with you in the future as you develop your company.