Until a year ago, whether it is leaking tap or tripped circuit breaker, most of the people in India would either call a familiar service professional or visit a nearby hardware or electrical shop to hire handymen for their home services. Now, with the emergence of hyperlocal startups, increasing numbers of Indians are going online to search for handymen in their area.
After ecommerce, food and logistics, hyperlocal service industry has become next hot topic in Indian startup arena. The market for local services is estimated to be worth more than INR 10 billion, but it is highly disorganized. With startups like Urbanpro, bro4u, FindYahan, Urbanclap, Taskbob, Housejoy, Doormint and zepper dominating this space, a new startup named CallAtHome wants its share of the pie in this segment.
All you need to do is download CallAtHome’s mobile app and book the service you needed by selecting the date & time. At the arranged time, an experienced service professional will arrive at your home and starts working. Once the work is completed, you have the freedom to pay either online or through cash.
Started by Alok Inamdar & Satyendra Singh, CallAtHome is managed and curated hyperlocal services provider, who cherry picks professional servicemen based on their quality of work and experience. After having deceived by a plumber and finding hard to hire a temporary driver, the co-founders came up with the idea of CallAtHome. They want to change the way Indians hire local service professionals.
Alok says, “The idea for this service germinated around October ’14 when I had a major plumbing leak in my house. Thus, arose the problem of finding some plumber to fix this, leave alone a good one. This was worsened by the plumber taking advantage of the crisis by overcharging by almost 5 times the usual cost for the job. In addition, the plumber did a shoddy job, and I could not do anything about it.”
He further adds, “Next day, while complaining about this at office, I realized that almost every house was facing a similar problem and there was simply no solution available. In fact, the same day Satyendra (Co-founder) was also complaining about the fact that he was not able to find a driver to work for him for a few days while there were guests visiting.”
After performing research, they were able to understand that there are many good and honest service professionals in the market, but they do not have a dedicated platform to reach customers. On the other hand, customers were finding hard to hire experienced professionals. Thus, CallAtHome was born with the intention of solving three major pain points of a consumer:
- Finding a service professional without any hassles
- Knowing the true value of the job
- Having trusted and experienced professionals work on the job
Alok, who has an MBA degree from IIM Calcutta and B.Tech from NIT Nagpur, has 5+ yrs of experience working at Nestle, AskmeBazaar & Dassault Systems. His co-founder Satyendra is also an MBA from SP Jain and B.E from MIT Manipal. He has 7+ yrs of experience working at Nestle, Heinz & Huawei. Presently, at CallAtHome, Alok is handling the tech development and vendor management while Satyendra is handling operations and marketing.
Alok says, “The biggest hassle in today’s fast paced life is of finding a good service professional who would do the job without any issues. Since the market is unorganized, there is a big problem of trust issues along with no accountability. CallAtHome wants to resolve all these pain points and streamline the complete process of hiring a service professional as easy as clicking a button on your phone. In addition, we are also standardizing the service so that it is beneficial for both the customer as well as the service professional by reducing the complexity of true price discovery.”
Currently, CallAtHome has only two services in their portfolio – Plumber and electrician. They are performing 15+ transactions on a daily basis and planning to increase quickly in the next couple of months. They are expected to reach 500 transactions by the end of this month. They charge a small commission from their registered vendors on every successful transaction.
Speaking about their inception and business model, Satyendra says, “We are bootstrapped and have invested around 15 lacs in the company, which has mainly been used for the technology development & setting up the on-ground infrastructure to ensure a great experience to our customers. We are a business model, which will break even after we achieve scale, and so are actively looking for funding to help us achieve that.”
He further adds, “The biggest challenge in our industry is standardizing the job to be done. Most of the service professional tries to overcharge basic need of the customer, which in turn leads to a very bad experience and thus loss of future transactions. Educating & training the professionals on the benefits of customer satisfaction is a key aspect of building a sustainable business in this industry.”
Speaking about his experience managing a service-based startup, Alok says, “I would say the key learning I have had in the last few months of my startup is to remain focused on what the startup is all about. It is easy to get lost in the mire of activities like competition, fund raising etc and lose focus on what’s important – customer satisfaction.”