Building a house is a dream for any individual. Renovating a legacy property is a labour of love. Yet, the Indian construction industry is known for its lack of transparency and riddled with problems. Bengaluru-based startup 100Pillars Constructions has changed all this by making the construction of a house a simple process.
A mobile first business, the startup allows customers to build their dream homes with a few easy clicks. The founders have simplified home construction. All that the customer has to do is specify their budget and the 100Pillars algorithm will help the customer chose a customised plan to construct the home based on a per square feet pricing. The team then goes about managing the construction of the house from raw material to finished product.
Entrepreneurs and childhood friends Srinivas Jayaram and Kishan Raj saw these very woes as a signal to startup, and bring back transparency into the construction process. Thus, they founded 100Pillars in November 2018.
“Construction and renovation are as innovative as the team you hire. At 100Pillars, we are working to bridge the gap between customer and quality construction, renovation and architectural contractors. We bring the best professionals in the region, thoroughly vetted by company experts. We strive to optimise construction and the renovation experience. With access to pocket-friendly quotes with no hidden charges, the company also keeps a real time check until the project is completed. There is often a mismatch and trust issues in client-contractor relationships and we smoothen those rough edges,’’ says Srinivas Jayaram.
100Pillars, according to the co-founders signifies the “100 odd jobs” required to finish a house construction.
The duo who decided to streamline construction
Kishan Raj BR has years of business development and strategy experience behind him. Armed with a bachelor’s in chemical engineering and a master’s in civil engineering from the UK, he is the driving force of 100Pillars.
Srinivas has a background in marketing and technology, and comes from a family of reputed builders – Rathnam Contractors, which has a legacy of 40 years. This helps him add an in-depth knowledge about the real estate industry.
Srinivas completed his engineering from MS Ramaiah College in 2010. Both co-founders worked at corporates between 2011 and 2018, and then decided to startup.
The scenario needed to change
Statistics from CREDAI show that more than 90 percent projects face unfair pricing, zero smart technology, lack of labour safety measures, delays, no transparency, uncertified experts as consultants, shortage of materials and debris disposal ground, builder withdrawals, irregular updates and a lack of official approval knowledge.
“It is due to these issues that the construction industry is severely trust deficit and can cost a hefty sum and be a painful experience for customers. Such problems cannot be fixed by just an aggregator. This is why we at 100Pillars have a system of end-to-end ownership and management on behalf of the customer,’’ says Srinivas.
The startup's website is user-friendly and customers can raise a service request of a requirement by a call or by filling a contact form. When the startup gets the contact form, an expert takes up the lead and collects every possible construction-related requirement for the project. The client can also opt for a personal visit to the startup office, and address his exhaustive list of specifications.
“It is our moral duty to provide regular updates of a project to a client. We divide the project into dedicated milestones to make it easier for us to keep a check on all parameters for the client. Milestones also ensure that the work is done in a stringent fashion with on-time payments. This also helps the customer – who doesn’t have to bear the strain of going under heavy financial debt all at once, and can pay us in different draws. Throughout the process, the client is free to contact our relationship manager for hassle-free services. Furthermore, we don’t end our contact right after project completion, our old clients can still contact us whenever they have a problem,” says Srinivas.
The duo has invested Rs 12 lakh in 100Pillars so far.
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Bringing in the clients
The first client came in 2018 - a lady who wanted her flooring spruced up. The startup's first pay cheque was of Rs 3 lakh. Today, it is profitable though revenue details were not provided. 100Pillars classifies potential clients on the basis of an approximate budget - low, medium, and high.
This helps the team bisect needs according to competitive pricing of diverse services and materials in the industry based on which, they have three simple packages - basic, standard and premium. Constructing a house depends on a customer’s budget - anything between Rs 1,600 per square feet to Rs 4,000 per square feet is the average.
A major challenge for a construction company is labour management. Manpower in this industry is unreliable at best. “In order to prevent such issues, we work with at least eight to 10 teams of masons, and keep shuffling them from one project to another,” Srinivas adds.
100Pillars’ services include civil constructions, home interiors, and renovations. For civil construction, prices start at Rs 1,449 per sqft, home interiors at Rs 1,100 per sqft, and renovation is based on specific requirements.
HouseJoy works on a similar model but has three plans, but, 100Pillars will work the costing on your budget.
How the revenue model works
“Our revenue model is simple - customers are charged for the services provided according to the plan chosen," says Srinivas. Profitable since its inception, the startup has executed around 50 projects in Bengaluru. It hopes to scale across the southern region in three years.
According to IBEF, the real estate industry is worth $200 billion. In the market, HouseJoy is the only competitor and is scaling up to five cities. At present, 100Pillars wants to scale up in Bengaluru.
(Edited by Suruchi Kapur Gomes)
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