On-demand phenomenon is catching on in India in a big way and various startups are evangelising this burgeoning opportunity. To tap the handymen service niche Himanshu Gupta, Vishal Gupta and Sukanth Srivastav started Tooler. However, the trio realised that they needed to build enough trust among users to tackle such big issues as home services is an extremely touch-heavy model with low repeat.
Customers usually don’t get to interact enough with such services to trust the brand, so the duo pivoted into a high-repeat-usage model of laundry services. Tooler is an on-demand laundry service currently operational in Delhi (NCR).
Himanshu and Sukanth earlier worked with Paytm when it was pushing big for O2O business. During his stint at the Noida-based company, Sukanth used to live alone and was really fussed by having to wash his own clothes and bed linen on the weekends. “I strongly felt there was no washing on-demand service and we discussed the models and how we could build this to help people like me who wanted the ease, but did not have the time to do their own laundry,” says Sukanth.
Why Tooler pivots from horizontal platform to a niche?
When the trio started, they wanted to tackle the many issues pertaining to home services under oneumbrella, and also deal with the lack of standardisation with electricians and plumbers. “There is an issue but we understood that we first needed to build strong trust around our positioning. The aforementioned reasons drove us to pivot Tooler from handymen services marketplace to on-demand laundry service,” says Himanshu.
Traction and growth
Himanshu is an alumnus of BITS, Pilani and had stints at Paytm and HeadHonchos as product manager, while Sukanth worked briefly at Paytm on the product side. Launched a few months ago, the company is processing more than 50 orders on weekdays and almost double during weekends. It claims to have amassed 3,500 downloads (on Android) within three months.
“Our average ticket size is somewhere close to Rs 300. We have been growing 2X times on a weekly basis since we went laundry-only,” adds Himanshu.
How is Tooler cutting through the noise?
Currently, there are a slew of startups evangelising on-demand laundry space.However, the duo believe they’re well ahead in the product curve and focused on solving this problem of laundry with efficient pickup and drop with as
much technology input as possible.
“We are involved not only in building a technology piece for logistics but also for researching the best chemicals and wash techniques,” says Vishal.
The company has proprietary wash techniques with specifically chosen detergents, softeners and absorbents which gives it an edge over the other competitors.
Some of the major challenges in this sector are discovery and retention of trusted house help, and also speeding up the whole cycle of wash,dry and iron which usually takes up about two to three days in totality. “One of the major issues also is maintaining strict pickup and delivery schedule,” adds Himanshu.
Tooler is tackling such problems by owning logistics and completely overhauling it technically. “All our delivery boys have apps with which they confirm the pickup and drop off and the amount of clothes given for laundry or even drycleaning, which helps us create an online bill automatically, thus removing chits of paper in the process,” says Vishal.
Users can also track their delivery boy with expected ETA to build the process completely calling free.
India is a hotbed for on-demand service. Delhi alone has two million families and bachelors who are on Tooler’s radar as potential users. According to KPMG reports, unorganised laundry in India is a Rs 2.2 lakh crore opportunity and is set to grow even more as more middle-class people with better mobile technology want to outsource their laundry pain to startups like Tooler.
Competition in this segment is very intense and Tooler has strong competitors like MyWash in Bengaluru and Pick My Laundry in Delhi, including some horizontal platforms like Housejoy, Doormint and Zimmber.
The segment seems lucrative for startups and we expect it to catch up on the lines of on-demand beauty service space. Going forward we also may see interest of prominent angels and VCs in this segment. On demand concepts have a ball in India and it would be interesting to see how laundry segment shapes up in the future.