Why Tapp Me believes there is much to be tapped in the home services industrySindhu Kashyap
Tapp Me, a one-stop solution for all repair and maintenance needs, offers the services of background-checked technicians at standardised rates. The service startup is eyeing expansion to Tier II and Tier III cities.
Startup: Tapp Me
Founders: Snehanshu Gandhi and Gaurav Shrishrimal
Sector: Home services
Funding raised: Seed funding
It is a Monday morning, and as you rush to ensure you reach office in time for the 9 am meeting, you see the tap in your kitchen isn't turning off. You are in a fix. Not only do you need to ensure that the plumber comes in on time and fixes that tap, but also find a way to reach work on time. Been there, done that? Many of us have!
Despite the profusion of different home services marketplaces, including Housejoy, Urbanclap, Doormint, Qyk, and Qwikr, 32-year-old Snehanshu Gandhi believed that one of the biggest challenges people faced was finding a reliable technician.
Finding a proficient technician – one who could be trusted to come home and tackle problems without inflating prices - was a tough ask. That’s what led to Snehanshu to conceptualise Tapp Me, a one-stop solution for all repair and maintenance needs.
What does it do?
Tapp Me lets users hire background-checked technicians at standardised rates, removing the hassle of walking through markets to find a local technician. Be it renovation, installation, repair or maintenance services for home and offices, Tapp Me lets you tap experienced and professional plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other technicians.
The Tapp Me team is focused on disrupting unemployment in emerging smart cities.
“We are working to get skilled technicians on board to work with us as our partners and open a new universe of customers to them,” Snehanshu says. “We have created multi-lingual software that enables us to view and assign bookings over our technician’s mobile app.”
The team believes that home services is a high touch and people-intensive business. The biggest challenge is to bring in a service mindset in technicians – it starts from something as basic as making them wear a uniform and ID card diligently to get them to be punctual and speak courteously to the customers.
“To overcome this, we started the soft skills training programme for the technicians. As these are fundamental behavioural changes, it cannot be achieved through one-time training; rather this needs a consistent push in their daily work,” Snehanshu says.
Another challenge has been that users of these services are not looking online yet, more so in Tier II cities. A general trust deficit with respect to the technicians also makes them stick to references from friends/family even if those options are not the best.
“This made us think of more creative marketing channels that capture this offline demand as well and are not very expensive like the typical ATL (above-the-line) activities. We have developed a strong partner network and referral programmes that bring us regular business today,” Snehanshu says.
Setting up the team
Once he had crystallised idea of Tapp Me, Snehanshu roped in a friend, Gaurav Shrishrimal, as the Co-founder. When Snehanshu was planning to relocate to India from Jakarta in 2015, he met Gaurav through a common friend and connected with him instantaneously about doing something for the skill development and uplift of workers in the unorganised maintenance sector in India.
Those initial conversations later took shape of Tapp Me. The entire core team has been built with people who are aligned and excited about organising the unorganised home maintenance sector and have largely come through strong references. The team size currently is 60.
Tapp Me has raised seed funding from undisclosed HNI investors, and is now looking to raise its next round of funding. The main focus of Tapp Me is on emerging cities; Snehanshu adds that Tapp Me is working to ensure that customers have one destination for all their needs.
“By working at grassroots level and setting up shops in Tier II cities we were looking to create a change. Tapp Me is a complete online platform (website and app), which acts as an information portal and a personalised booking engine for any home service,” he says.
“While most players in the market today are following the marketplace model, we have taken a full-stack approach (technicians working exclusively for Tapp Me). We believe that this is a service business and the customer’s need is top-quality service, not just getting connected to a third-party service provider. We take complete ownership of service delivery while most options in the market just provide access to service providers,” Snehanshu says.
The market and future plans
Home services business in India is a $15 billion opportunity, depending on the services considered under this. Most companies working in this space have largely focused on metros, but emerging cities hold a bigger opportunity overall.
One of the biggest challenges for these businesses is the consistency of services. Experts believe that the market currently is dominated by local dhobis, maids, and dry cleaners. This makes it difficult to attract skilled labour and offer consistency to ensure customer satisfaction.
Tapp Me is currently looking at a demographic expansion. It aims to capture 60 percent of the market share in emerging cities such as Patna and Jaipur. Next up will be Chandigarh, Raipur, Ahmedabad, Surat, and Lucknow.
“The potential for beauty services, drivers on demand, and cleaning among others is immense. We plan on exploring these opportunities down the line and adding them to the basket for a larger variety of options for users. Along with customers, our aim lies on fostering job opportunities for 1,000 more technicians in the year 2018. A larger workforce will let us can cater to a larger audience while bringing benefits to both parties,” Snehanshu concludes.