In India, there are more than 55 million urban households, who spend 6,000–25,000 rupees per year on domestic services, according to reports.
Tapping the occasion, two 21-year-old college friends from Rajasthan Technical University, Nitin Jindal and Keshav Gautam, started ‘Namaste Sir’ in October 2019. The Jaipur-based startup is a ‘service at home’ company that provides trained professionals at home for various needs.
Co-founder Nitin Business Khabar tells, “Many people do not get a good salary even if they have the right skills. And on the other hand, there are many people who face problems while hiring a professional for any home related work. Either you may not get enough skilled staff for your needs or issues of trust in hygiene and safety may be the reason for this. ”
NamasteSir provides safe, clean and affordable professional services such as home decor, online pundits, mehndi artists, hourly / monthly car drivers, appliance repairers, electricians, plumbers, etc. at home. It plans to introduce its services in the coming months.
Currently, the startup is serving eight cities including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Surat, Jaipur, Indore, Kota and Sawai Madhopur.
How does it help hello sir?
According to Nitin, the startup took two major steps to deliver complaint-free services at home. He adds, “We created a strict process of hiring a professional from the market to take care of our users’ safety.”
First of all, Namaste Sir conducts a thorough criminal background check of each professional. Subsequently, the professional has to undergo a work-ability test. Only after successful completion of these two stages, ‘Behavior Development Training’ is arranged so that they can be prepared to provide service experience.
While home service space is dominated by startups such as Urban Services and Housejoy, Nitin believes that the elaborate checks and training given to his professionals gives Namaste Sir a competitive edge.
The team also has a Personal Manager Support (PMS) system for each booking to avoid long waiting periods. This means that, if at any time, the customer is facing any issue while booking, it can be resolved with a phone call.
Namaste Sir takes bookings on its consumer app ‘Namaste Sir: Your Service Partner’, which then manually assigns these orders to its registered partners. However, it is developing a companion app ‘Sir Partner’, which will allow partners to accept bookings directly from the nearest customers.
The startup charges 15 to 30 percent commission. The price of services varies with each category.
According to the founders, being bootstrapped and having limited industry experience, the two initially faced many challenges in attracting partners and customers.
“Our big issue was technological development and we did not have a large amount to pay to the IT company. We wasted a lot of time searching for IT professionals working for less money, but none were found, ”recalls Nitin.
The two then decided to register the startup as a company and hire a tech intern. Soon, with the help of interns and some seniors from his college, he created the current app and website.
Says Nitin, “While our target audience can be anyone, we started focusing on upper middle class families as we understand the widespread need for the services they provide.”
For initial sales, the team used free mail marketing, text messaging, apartment visits, and in-person sales calls. Further orders started receiving word of mouth.
Impact and future plans of COVID-19
According to verified market research, the global domestic services market was valued at $ 281.65 billion in 2018, and is expected to reach $ 1133.40 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 14.67 percent.
COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown have disrupted businesses in the regions, but Nitin says this really benefited his company from the increased demand for essential services in-house.
“During the epidemic, we saw the market going down, especially in our industry. We restructured our service delivery process and also looked for opportunities in the meantime.”
The startup introduced new services such as ‘Salon at Home’ service, for which it started taking advance bookings. And as soon as permission was granted to operate the salon services, he started completing bookings.
Service providers have to follow certain guidelines before taking a booking. These include a daily temperature check before each appointment; Equip professionals with masks, gloves, hygiene equipment, and single-use pouch products; Show your report to the customer on the Arogya Setu app before entering the house; And finally, following all sanitation and safety regulations as per WHO guidelines.
In the nine months since its inception, including four months of the epidemic, the startup has managed to remain profitable. The founder claims Namaste Sir has acquired over 750 customers without investing in any form of marketing.
“We are seeking angel funding to ease technological development and improve service quality with innovation so that the maximum number of people can use Namaste Sir.”