How 29-yr-old Aakanksha is redefining the relocation industry in India
Do you remember your favorite glass bowl which was left to pieces while relocating? Or your precious painting which got damaged?
Shifting home is one of the most stressful tasks for any individual or family. And given the fast pace life in metros, the pain only increases every time a transfer is on the cards. Packing and moving today has placed itself in a dynamic business arena and the need for professional movers is growing day by day. While some companies like Agarwal Movers & Packers, EzMove and DTDC Packers & Movers are household names, the relocation industry as a whole is pretty much unstructured. Though the industry deals with many aspects of hospitality, it lacks the training and awareness among its players unlike the latter.
A veteran in relocations, almost three decades old P.M. Relocations is addressing this issue with its friendly and standardized approach. The 30-cr turnover company is led by the dynamic Aakanksha Bhargava, a 29-year-old enthusiast, who believes that she was always meant to be in the relocation industry.
Aakanksha spoke to YourStory about PMR and how it is bringing the much needed structure and internationalization in the relocation industry.
What is PM Relocation?
PM Relocations is a one-stop solution for mobility needs with respect to anybody relocating within India or overseas. Its service portfolio includes household goods packing and moving, office shifting, fine arts moving, orientation, cultural training, home search, school search, settling in services, immigration, and customized module for clients as per requirements. At present, P.M. Relocations offers services in 13 prominent Indian cities, and a widespread network globally to assist in all activities at both domestic and international level.
The company is focusing more on the domestic market, and in 2009 shifted from packers to the relocation domain.
PMR identifies itself as not just a packer and mover but a destination service provider, handling all requirements. They do not subcontract or outsource packers or moving work but have in-house packers and supervisors. Aakanksha mentions,
Our USP would be our trained team, our own crew, own set ups pan India, and trusted clients over two decades. Some of our marquee clients are – SHELL, American Embassy, American school, AMDOCS, HP, Britannia, SAP, Bosch, ITC, Citibank, HSBC, Nokia Siemens, Baarclays, BhartiAirtel, and LG.
Evolution of the relocation industry
The industry is highly unorganized in India and the perception of a relocation /moving company is trucking, or a tempo with laborers. Aakanksha believes that the sensitivity of the industry is not explored and is not considered a career option for many. She says,
There are plenty of small and unprofessional players because of which the perception is that the business demonstrates low quality of packing service, and no personalized touch. People also equate the industry with transports and uneducated group of people.
However, Aakanksha’s vision lies in changing this perception and this is what keeps her going. There are no entry restrictions to the relocation industry since everything can be outsourced.
The big opportunity
Aakanksha believes that there is a huge gap to be filled to make everyone aware that professional moving companies also exist and how settling from one place to another can be an anxious-free experience. According to her, there is not even a single name in the country that does a ‘one-stop solution’ for relocation needs. That’s where PMR sees itself creating a name. The concept of relocations is common among expat population but quite unknown among the Indians which needs to be changed in the future.
PMR is certified on international benchmarking by Ernst Young as a FIDI accredited company. They are also ISO Certified and WE connect certified. PMR also partners with the biggest move management companies globally.
What made the 21-yr-old daughter join the family business?
An MBA from SP Jain School of Management, Aakanksha says,
This is a family business for me. I have always dreamt of taking it to the next level. The relocation industry has always fascinated me, and the journey has been full of experiences since 2007 when I joined.
Aakanksha has herself stayed in multiple cities for an average of six months to enable PMR’s expansion. From the time she joined, the team has grown from 40 to 370+ now.
PMR in numbers
PMR has grown from a top line of Rs 2 crore to Rs 30 crore today in a span of five years. Of the 376 people in the team, 130 are in white collar jobs (purchase, sales, marketing, operations, and customer care) and the remaining form the blue collar task force.
The services offered by PMR are up to 1.5 times costlier than the normal movers and packers cost, but are comparable to any other relocations player internationally.
The company is looking to raise funds up to the tune of Rs 10-15 crores in the near future.
Running a venture in a male dominated industry
For Aakanksha, apart from being a women entrepreneur, her age (she was only 21 when she started) was also a constraint in an industry which is male dominated. Today, she is proud of being the only woman in India leading a move management company at such a large scale, which is otherwise considered a labour intensive industry and ‘not the right place for women’.She states candidly,
It is considered a man’s job to deal with suppliers, labour, packers and handle premium clients. This is definitely challenging. The flip side would be a very high level of commitment, travel, dealing with low level management, sorting out union problems and dealing local issues with respect to legal and political matters. Most importantly, a lot of people in the beginning don’t take you seriously since you are a young woman. It was important to learn with the team and when hiring people, give one and all a reason to believe my vision and lead by example at each step.
Joy of being an entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur for Aakanksha is a high and a beautiful realization that around 350 homes run because of PMR. She says,
Every morning I feel responsible to them, and blessed to be in a position to look after so many people. I dream to employ more people and make it a place where each one can learn and grow both professionally and personally.
Every time a client says that they enjoyed moving with PMR or they were so anxious to relocate to another country and PMR made it easy for them is a joyous moment for Aakanksha and her team. The pride of being a quality provider keeps the drive on, and keeps her going. She also finds happiness in celebrating the smallest milestones or success with her team.
Aakanksha draws inspiration from her father. She says,
My father has been my biggest inspiration, teacher, mentor, and friend, and it has been his belief and trust in my abilities that we have come so far. He encourages me to keep raising the bar. The faith and belief in my vision keeps my spirits up. And most importantly, the belief of your team in you is the biggest strength.
What worked for PMR (and what not)
Aakanksha has learnt that one has to believe in the core system of giving good quality service to customers. Whether it’s a client with 1-bhk or 5-bhk, the service and experience has to be same for everyone. Aakanksha has stayed in different cities to build PMR’s team and this experience came handy for a lot of things, including certain deals with corporates.
About her hiring mistakes, Aakanksha says,
People from big brands didn’t work out for us. Other issue with hiring is that people are skeptical about a new industry and a new company.
She also feels that sometimes being a woman and a young boss doesn’t go well with clients and employees.
What lies in the future?
PMR wants to be recognized as a one-stop service provider with all relocation needs looked after. The company is planning to launch websites on movetodelhi.com, movetobumbay.com and similar ones which will have details on making your move simpler and easier. Three more offices will be opened shortly, along with the diversification into fine arts packing (which is a very small segment today). An app for PMR is on the cards as well.