What happens when a working mother takes charge of her own time? TimesaverzAyesha Roy
Timesaverz helps book services ranging from deep cleaning to repairing appliances, plumbing, electrical fittings to carpentry and even pest control.
For any working woman, the weekend is the only possible time for some self-care. But this time can easily go from relaxing to utter chaos. Something similar happened to Debadutta Upadhyaya. Her kitchen tap started leaking one Saturday and despite multiple calls, the plumber arrived only on Sunday evening.
That's when the mother of one and her colleague Lovnish Bhatia first conceptualised Timesaverz. The idea was to have an on-demand home services platform where customers can book home services over an app, website or directly call the customer care or chat with their executives.
With services ranging from furniture repairing to pest control services, the Mumbai-based company set up in 2013 claims to have grown 300 percent over the past five years. But the journey has not been easy.
The Timesaverz business model
Debadutta believes that the company's consistent and simple commission-based business model has kept them going. With a commission-based revenue model, the company earns an average base price of Rs 2,500 but it can range from as low as Rs 250 to as high as Rs 30,000.
Moreover, they came up with a mix of B2B and B2C business.
“Most people did not believe in a B2B business model at that point in time. But we believed that businesses had to reach out to consumers directly and the market would open up someday,” she says. It was this long-term vision that kept the Timesaverz team going.
She says, “We share 75 percent of the service cost with our service partner, and keep the rest 25 percent as commission.”
Currently, the company has 1,000 service personnel. All throughout, the company’s idea has been to upskill the workforce. For instance, an AC-repair technician who has a seasonal job requirement is motivated to learn to repair other appliances as well. This empowers them for better job entitlements.
Over time, Timesaverz has added verticals (specific to home services only) to its platform, and the 45-year-old founder believes it to be her success mantra. “Today we are marching towards profitability,” says Debadutta. The company claims to have grown its revenue at a cumulative rate of 300 percent for these five years, and says that it has serviced more than one lakh consumers.
Apart from adding multiple services at a time to the cart, it also provides e-cart facility like any other ecommerce site. If a customer visits the site/platform and books services for a 2BHK and then returns for another service, he does not have to choose the 2BHK option again. The system would automatically enlist the options under the set size.
Debadutta is a literature student who chose to pursue sales and marketing. She has worked with Times of India and Yahoo. Lovnish designed digital products for companies like NDTV, Viacom 18 and Sony. But in 2010, she came to Vdopia, met Lovinsh, and started their entrepreneurship journey. Their years of experience in sales, marketing and networking paid off, and they run a team of 35 today.
Empowerment and skilling
Debadutta says 50 percent of the company’s workforce are women. After checking service partners' background and criminal records, Timesaverz ensures the recruited technicians go through a series of test to prove their mettle. “While some of the carpenters are experienced in the family line, few workers are recruited on the basis of vocational training they have received earlier,” she says.
Empowering and upskilling workers has been at the core of the company’s ethics. To date, they have trained and worked with around 1,000 service partners, who are paid between Rs 18,000 and Rs 25,000.
“For the growth of on-demand home services company, word of mouth seems to work best,” claims the founder. She claims that the company has retained 50 percent of the customers who have come back for a second time.
The home services business in India is a $15 billion opportunity, depending on the services considered. Most companies working in this space have largely focused on metros, but emerging cities hold a bigger opportunity. One of the biggest challenges for these businesses is consistency. Experts believe that the market is currently dominated by local dhobis, house helps and dry cleaners. This makes it difficult to attract skilled labour and offer consistency to ensure customer satisfaction.
As consumer demand keeps increasing, more and more such providers are beginning to disrupt the market. In 2013, Quikr enjoyed a certain monopoly and novelty, but Housejoy, UrbanClap, Doormint, Qyk, Zimmber soon hopped on this bandwagon.
The company has two investors, angel and seed investors led by Ronnie Screwvala from Unilazer Ventures, and GSF accelerator. But it does not look forward to raising further capital immediately.
She does not plan to further Timesaverz’ reach geographically. Currently, it provides services in Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi and Chennai. “We want to keep adding more categories of services,” says Debadutta.