Sanjay Manaktala’s sketch video on interviewing a maid might have gone viral, but it brought home the issue of hiring house help. Finding someone reliable is a big problem that home owners face today. Also, with the busy schedules most people have, personally hunting for house help has become increasingly difficult.
Today, there is a growing demand for online services, whether it is for a plumber, an electrician, or house help. Organisations like Househelp, Nanojobs and Honestcollars help you get house staff like maids, nannies, and in some cases even plumbers and electricians. Some others like UrbanClap and Housejoy helps people find trustworthy help like plumbers, electricians and hardware repair guys easily. UrbanClap in fact also helps people find other services like an interior designer and a yoga teacher.
BookMyBai, by Anupam Singal and Vikash Chowdhury, the Co-Founders of Nanojobs, is one such online company. It was established with the aim of providing reliable house help. “The market for this segment is huge as every household requires domestic help. One wayto find domestic help is by contacting maid agencies. We tried using the services of these agencies and were stunned to see the lack of professionalism. Most of them are fly-by-night agencies who would take an advance payment and vanish,” says Anupam. Since the partners had the expertise from NanoJobs.com, they decided to launch BookMyBai to tap into the potential USD four billion industry.
The maids, who are associated with BookMyBai, do not have to share any part of their salary with the organisation. Anupam believes that ‘choice’ for years has been a resource of the upper and middle class segment. With BookMyBai, the team hopes to give choice to the bottom-of-the-pyramid jobseekers in employment opportunities.
Current scenario of booking maids online
The duo believes that the market is clustered with several mom-and-pop agenciesdue to lack of government organisations. According to Anupam, these companies register themselves with some local search engines and take the money in advance and disappear. Most of them he says never return calls, and if they provide a maid, the maid will abscond after a few days and the employer will be running helter-skelter trying to locate the agency as he would have paid the recruitment fee.
To solve this ambiguity and bring in professionalism, BookMyBai, provides video interviews of the maids, so that potential employers have a clear idea of who they might be hiring. The video interview answers most of the questions the homeowners would have asked, thus saving time.
With experience from Nanojobs and the blue-collar manpower sector, the duo had found that almost 30 per cent of the job postings that they had received on Nanojobs were for maids, baby sitters, cooks, or caretakers for patients.Blue-collar jobseekers were not tech savvy and to cater to them they would require anend-to-end solution.“Also the rising complaints against maid agencies on the consumer complaints site helped us understand the market potential,” adds Anupam.
The hiring process
The four main categories that BookMyBai offers household help in are –maids, baby sitters, cooks, and caretakers. The team generates a database of maids through their sources and then shoot a two-minute video interview of the domestic help. The video clip has the basic 10 to 20 questions that any employer would ask a maid in a face-to-face interview.
Anupam adds: “We are very focused on the quality of the maid and the security of the client. Various types of the background verification, address verification, document verification are done before the maid is listed on the platform. Being a marketplace model, this does not come as a cost to us but adds a lot of advantage to our offering.”
The team charges one month’s salary as consulting fees from the client. They also guarantee a free replacement if the maid happens to leave within six months of joining. “We are bootstrapped right now but are talking to a few investors for raising our first round,” says Anupam.
The learning curve and team
Unlike Nanojobs, BookMyBai follows a marketplace model, thus reducing the database acquisition cost. The team has also learnt with time that the consumer is willing to pay any amount if the service quality is close to his expectations. “About 80 per cent of our new clients are from referrals and word-of-mouth. A satisfied client calls up 10 of his friends to tell them about BookMyBai,” says Anupam.
The company has two senior advisors, PawanBorle (Senior VP, FlyDubai) and Sanjay Enishetty (Partner, 50K Ventures). Anupam handles the technology part of the company and Vikash handles on-ground operations along with vendor empanelment. Alcino Dsouza is the COO of the company and he comes with over 15 years of experience in handling recruitment and vendors. Vaishnavi Kadam is the head of operations (client satisfaction) and has over 10 years of experience in call centre management.
Anupam says that they are inspired from the fact that that they are solving a big problem of everyday life. “I personally call up some of my clients to get feedback about our service and concept.When I get appreciation from them, it gives me great satisfaction,” says he.
The team believes that trust is an immediate challenge. Anupam further adds, “Due to the rogue agencies, the employers have stopped trusting everybody. Only time and service quality will conquer this problem. We are very growing rapidly at a 300 per cent increase in revenue every month. This is possible only when the clientsare satisfied and refer us to others.”
BookMyBai has already formed a good base in Mumbai. After raising the first round of funding they will launch in Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Pune. “By 2017 we would want to be present in 40 cities across India and expand our offering to other class of personal staff like drivers.We also plan to launch a service where the maids will be on the payroll of BookMyBai. The maids would then be enrolled with PF, ESIC, and given a medical insurance,” concludes Anupam.