As I take a short walk down the memory lane, I am reminded of several comments:
"It's going to be impossible to manage, you don't know them. They can't stay at a place for long."
"Buddy, it's blue collar segment where they will switch jobs for an amount as small as ₹500. You won't be able to retain people for long."
"This is a very risky business. You never know what they will do when they enter customer's home. You've heard the Uber case. It's a big risk.."
"Where are you guys getting into? You won't be able to control revenue leakages. They are experts in cracking backhand deals with customers that you won't even come to know about."
"Households generally don't trust someone unknown for the jobs of electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Everyone has a specific person’s number saved who they will reach out to when in need. Even societies have people assigned to such jobs. So, what are you guys actually thinking?"
These remarks are just a few of the many ‘Guru gyan’ or ‘expert opinions’ that we received while starting up. I believe, every budding entrepreneur who dares to dream big knows that the entrepreneurial ride is not going to be easy. Discouragement is just part of the journey as we were neither the first ones nor will be the last ones to hear comments that dispirit and demoralise you to venture out and become entrepreneurs.
The common thread that tied all these conversations kept echoing in my head for long. The myth that electricians, plumbers, and carpenters as a class of working people are disregarded as a bunch of disloyal, unprofessional, unreliable people to the most extent being dishonest. Often, we lack dignity for this clan of skilled handymen and perceive them with doubt and mistrust.
We wonder and question what has driven generations in India to come to this conclusion? Even though unanswered, we firmly believe that it is biased and unethical by all means. Based on a handful of experiences, we cannot stereotype the entire skilled community. If this was the case, corruption, dishonesty is rampant in our bureaucracy and without the need to mention, all the more among the politician clan. But ironically people from these segments are revered by the same Indian families who hold several biases against our skilled brothers.
To our sheer delight, our experiences at befikr.in have been different from the above-stated biases, absolutely heart-warming and life-changing. Following a domino effect, all the preconceived notions, one by one turned on its head as we began treading on our path and started hiring one befikr brother after another. It all inaugurated with one plumbing expert and now we have more than hundreds of them who are not only experts in plumbing but also, carpentry, AC repair, electrical, dry cleaning and other home services. Having achieved this milestone we believe it is just the start as rightly said: “The journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Our learnings have been unprecedented. We learnt that these skilled people are immensely committed to their work with the drive to keep their tools and bikes moving. They fully appreciate and get accustomed to the corporate environment with many of our electrical ustaads competent in writing mails! They possess a high sense of gratitude, bring their loyal customers tobefikr.in and even effortlessly do their jobs at odd hours after office. Having zero expectations from the befikr brothers, the experience of zero attrition and 100% retention in our company has made the flames of our passion burn higher. These factors already speak volume about the robust motivation and dedication of our befikr brothers which we will talk in detail in the next article.
We staunchly believe that befikr family has taken the responsibility on its shoulders to prove that this section of our society has been widely misunderstood and they will be a force to reckon with as befikr brothers, bringing about the much-needed DISRUPTION in the unorganised home service industry in our country, changing it into an organised one.