Home service startups like Onetimejobs.com, EASYFix to extend services to late hours

Plumbers, electricians and carpenters may soon burn the midnight oil. In a bid to establish themselves as services that can be relied on round-the-clock, many home service startups are planning to extend the services of their blue-collar workforce to late hours.

Bengaluru-based Onetimejobs.com already has a six-member team on the bench to cater to the late night demands that come from across the city. The service, which was launched almost 15 days ago, provides technicians under electrical and plumbing categories during the wee hours.

"We know this market is new, but this is important for us to build the trust," said Major Prashant Rai, founder of the company, who has seen nights that get two-three calls and those that find nil, since the launch. "If somebody has an emergency and we are able to help them in the time of distress, the next time, even for non-emergency needs, they will call us," he said.

But sending a technician to a home at odd hours involves a certain level of risk. Rai, who admits it, points out that all those allotted for night service are trained, skilled and background-verified. The company also makes sure that either the night technician is escorted by someone from the office, or pre-service and post-service calls are made to the customer.

Gurgaon-based EASYFix too, which has been doing a pilot on night services for the past one month, has all their technicians police verified on top of the rigorous training provided to them. "Any regular plumber or electrician might have, at some point of time, taken up a night job. What we have to now do is to motivate them and further incentivise them," said Shaifali Holani, founder of EASYFix.

The technicians are given the option to choose night jobs additionally when the sign up. Currently , the company has a team of 150-odd selected servicemen ready to offer late night service across 11 cities.

Holani said, "Until now, the maximum demand would have been around five per week, but after we did the pilot, the demand increased by some five percent or so".

According to her, an immediate increase in revenue is not expected and the primary objective is to position themselves as convenient, reliable experts. "It might give us only a 3% increase in our revenue immediately... My objective is to be the first player in this category and make it convenient for everyone, especially to working professionals."Although all the services currently provided by EASYFix will be available during the wee hours at a rate 1.2 times the normal charges, Holani expects electrical, plumbing and painting categories to pick up and contribute to a five-fold increase in demand in a year's time.

Delhi-based home services startup UrbanClap, which had launched its 24x7 drivers on demand category earlier, is also planning to run a pilot to learn the late-night demand for other services.

"We are looking at doing a pilot in a couple of months in Chennai. The category that we are considering for 24x7 service is PEC - plumbers, electricians and carpenters," said Suhail Vadgaokar, vice-president-customer and brand experience, UrbanClap. The startup is planning to allot two technicians for each category during the pilot.

According to him, extending the late night service to other categories might be a challenge without demand well. "We will launch the services and market them. Then we will be able to see the kind of demand that is there. Even if you get a 10% of the total demand, during non-working hours, I think that should be good enough to make the category 24x7," he said.

source: ET Bureau.

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