Last week one of my friends who is married and moved to a new city, was asking all of us old mates to help her sick mother find a house help. While the search was a long one, there was much relief at her home and on the WhatsApp group, once the maid was found. Things would have been so much easier for her if there was a professional service provider, whom she could just call and seek assistance. Alas!
One such emergency at the house of the founder was what planted the idea for Broomberg. Broomberg is a cleaning services company, that helps you keep your homes and offices spic and span. YourStory caught up with the founders to discuss the startup.
How did it start?
Samrat Goyal and Ishan Baisoya started Broomberg in 2013. They have professionally trained and verified teams to get deep cleaning done for homes and offices. The service can be accessed by dialing their helpline number or booking online.
The idea struck when there was a fire in Samrat’s brother’s home in Mumbai. He had to call a fire brigade and after they left, the entire house was in a mess with water and soot on the floor, walls, cupboards etc. It was practically unliveable and needed to be cleaned immediately. But it wasn’t an easy job. He tried calling various cleaning companies and most of them simply refused and claimed they cleaned only during Diwali or other festivals. Finally, he came across a company which sent two labourers to clean up the next day. These people were not trained at all and did not carry any equipment with them.
This accident set Samrat thinking of the opportunity that professional and efficient staff could offer in the cleaning space. His classmate from the London School of Economics had started a venture for on-call handymen services in the US. So that was another inspiration to look up to, and after much research, figuring out the logistics, Samrat and Ishan decided to take the plunge.
Broomberg started in September 2013 and started operations in December 2013. They started with a seed capital of Rs 10 lakhs borrowed from family and from personal savings.
While Broomberg is not sure of the exact market opportunity they are catering to Ishan says they are betting on the Indian mind-set of maintaining cleanliness at home and the workplace. “With changing times, a need for professional services is rising. Our major markets are middle to high income families, restaurants and medium to small offices in the major metros,” he says.
Since starting up in December 2013, they have cleaned over 300 homes, offices, restaurants and showrooms, and Samrat says the feedback has been very encouraging. Many satisfied clients have also signed AMCs with the company and Ishan says they have been encouraged by their 20% month-on-month growth.
Broomberg offers a variety of services ranging from deep cleaning of homes, offices and restaurants to clean-ups for just kitchens and bathrooms at a residence. Their services tarts from Rs 4500 for a deep clean-up of a one-bedroom flat. “Our other mode of calculation depends on the number of rooms, area and condition of the premises. Through a mathematical formula we have formulated the estimated number of man hours required to clean a premises and the price varies accordingly,” explains Samrat.
Broomberg services are currently offered in Delhi/NCR region and they have plans to expand into other cities soon. Ishan says Broomberg customers range from college students to house-wives to working professionals. Generally upper middle class people from house-holds having incomes of over Rs 1 lakh per month, are their customers. Some customers also approach them based on a need, which could moving into a new house, or who’s homes have been closed for months and need a proper clean-up, newly renovated houses with paint stains that need proper cleaning.
Plans for the future
The space Broomberg has set out to make a mark is not too tough to enter, and the founders realise this. “The idea is to build a one-stop shop for all cleaning needs, to be as easy as booking a cab and in providing the best quality of services,” says Samrat. Broomberg plans to build up quality services, professionalism, training and brand building to counter other entrants –new or old – in the space.
Broomberg is currently advertising online through Google and social media platforms. They are also experimenting with some offline advertising. Customer referrals have also turned out to be a strong channel for the startup.
Talking about the challenges, Ishan says it has been mostly manpower related challenges. “Managing the cleaning staff in particular requires stringent policies, motivation sessions and incentive schemes to deliver the best quality of work. We are learning to solve this the hard way and still striving to strike a fine balance. Attrition and absenteeism among staff is a problem we face as well,” he says. The second challenge is their endeavour to set-up a quality brand. They have taken the help of many managers and mentors who are guiding them through the process, says Ishan.
Being a people’s business, Broomberg relies on employee referrals to bring in new people into the cleaning team. Current employees are incentivised to bring in friends, family or acquaintances. The average age of Broomberg staff is 23 years and about 80% of them have prior cleaning experience with facility management companies, says Samrat.
The founders themselves have an impressive background. Samrat had previously worked with KPMG and BCG and is a LSE masters in finance. He also holds a bachelors degree in maths from Delhi University. Ishan has a background in real estate and has multiple degrees in BBA, MBA, B.Com and is currently pursuing LLB. Broomberg’s management team mostly comprises of friends of friends, and come from diverse backgrounds of operations, sales and marketing.
In the short term, Broomberg plan to open two more offices in Delhi and by 2017 aims to have offices set up in all five major metros in the country. According to Frost & Sullivan, the facility management space in India was pegged to be worth Rs 3,795 crore in 2011, which is still very nascent compared to developed countries. Reports peg this space to grow at a CAGR of 11.6%, and if Broomberg can execute it plans as thought out, then a good part of this growth could come their way. We wish them all the best!
Website : Broomberg