Pending household chores can ruin anyone’s day. Unavailability of help to do the same adds more to the already magnified woes. Times like these, we need to look at alternatives to help. A team of three IIT-Mumbai alumni have stepped in to put an end to such a ‘crisis’ by developing an on Service app, called HELPI. Customers can use the app to book. Launched in September 2015, HELPI has already catered to over 4,000 customers so far with an excellent feedback. The service is ready for a full-fledged launch, after its successful pilot-run in Delhi-NCR.HELPI has already received initial seed-funding, and is willing to expand further with more funds.
Gurgaon boasts of an affluent working-class demographic willing to spend for these kind of convenience services. HELPI is doing the best it can to bridge the gap between consumer demand and availability of cleaning helpers and maids. The helpers have been registered with HELPI by using their Aadhaar numberwith online authentication and police verification. Once they join HELPI, the training is disseminated digitally, and they are provided with smartphones, an environment-friendly cleaning kit, equipped with all types of cleaning agents which helpers may need at work. Once done with their work, customers rate them on HELPI’s Android app. This helps HELPIensure quality and pay their workers over and above their regular wages in the form of performance-based bonus.
Furthermore, HELPI will soon connect women workers with those looking for help in their area through Interactive Voice Response (IVR). Toll-free number will be available for maids to call at, and HELPI will connect them via an algorithm to assign a maid to a home in the nearest locality, without any human involvement.PiyushPeshwani, co-founder of HELPI, said, “For the maids, we also have the IVR option besides a smartphone because not all the maids have a smartphone. We will simultaneously train the maids and introduce them to technology, after which they can migrate to smartphones and apps.”
Not just customers, HELPI is receiving enthusiastic response from helpers and maids as well. Manoj Kumar who was in a housekeeping job before he registered with HELPI earned 7000 rupees a month. Now he makes more than 15,000 rupees, and proudly shows off his neat cleaning kit and the smartphone.MenukaMaity has been working as a maid in Gurgaon for five years. For her, HELPI is everything she could ask for. “If someone moves, I lose my job and sometimes it takes weeks to get another job. With HELPI, I can work on an hourly basis and earn extra income,” said Menuka.
At HELPI, helpers are also being trained onthe standard operating procedure, so that they can provide HELPI’s customers with a standardized service. As of now, HELPI is recruiting cleaning professionals andmaids by referrals. Attempts are being made to reach out to more and more workers in this service segmentusing different techniques. For an initiative so unique in its approach, PiyushPeshwani, co-founder, HELPI, suggested that the potential of such a market is huge. According to him, “The total size of on-demand cleaningmarketis $4-5 billion, and we wish to tap into that space. The team also plans to train the cleaning professionals and maids on the benefits of financial instruments, and help them get their own bank accounts and ATM cards for digital payments.”