The number of self-employed workers in the UK has rocketed from 3.5 million to 4.6 million between 2008 and 2014. Fuelled first by the recession and then by the crashing price of technology, the idea of launching a start up has increasingly become the dream for bright young things. But how do you transform that dream into a sustainable, profitable business?
As a part of our new Entrepreneur series, we ask Housekeep Founder, Avin, about his approach. Avin explains, "I didn't really see myself as a visionary, but felt that I had the ability to execute a concept better than anyone else out there. This meant I wanted to tackle a big, existing market with new technology - when I started looking for a business idea, home cleaning services immediately looked attractive." In this post, Avin reveals the 3 attributes that he looked for when assessing different business ideas.
1. Is there a large existing market for your product/service?
Find a big market - this means there's clear evidence of demand, plenty of room to differentiate and you know you can build a big business.
Residential cleaning is a £4 billion market in the UK and before launching, Avin undertook extensive consumer testing to identify the clear problem areas in the market. Housekeep's business model is to provide solutions to address these problems, focusing on:
- Trust & Reliability: each housekeeper is interviewed in-person, background-checked and undergoes a trial cleaning period
- Quality Cleaning: each housekeeper needs to maintain top cleaning ratings, plus be English-speaking and professional
- Tailored Service: Housekeep speaks to every single customer before their first visit to customise their clean and to match them up with the perfect cleaner
- Convenience: you can book, manage and pay online, plus there's customer service at hand for anything else
2. Is there a fragmented supply base?
A fragmented supply base means the existing suppliers won't have had the ability to invest in technology, quality, service and more.
The home cleaning market is dominated by individual cleaners who certainly lack such resources. Indeed, 90% of home cleaning is done by individual cleaners. Such cleaners haven't been able to invest in the sort of things you see in other industries - websites, online booking, scheduling software, quality monitoring, customer service and so on.
3. Is there scope to professionalise your product/service?
Finally, work out if you can address the pain points caused by the above - if you can, focus relentlessly on building that product or service.
At Housekeep, we're obsessed with being the best place to find the perfect cleaner for you - this means each cleaner must be top quality, but also that we look after the admin for you. Meanwhile, it quickly became apparent that it was important to address not only customer needs, but also cleaner needs - after all, it was critical to attract the best cleaners to the Housekeep platform. Today, cleaners typically have a handful of jobs across a wide geographic areas, leading to high transport costs and only a few paid hours per week. Housekeep provides cleaners with regular, local customers, meaning low transport costs and higher earnings. Better still, they can manage all their work through their phone app.