“Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.”
Ever needed a Cleaner, Plumber or Painter at the eleventh hour and couldn’t manage to get one on time? Frustrated, you roll up your sleeves and decide to do things on your own! The room is strewn with nuts, screws and bolts and you are clueless about what needs to be fixed first. Then you start hunting for tutorials on your iPhone and panic creeps in as you as fail to follow the instructions properly.
One Boston-based startup has come up with a simple solution with Handybook. Handybook is an online platform through which users can book handymen and cleaners within 90 seconds, either online or through their mobile app. The process is extremely simple as all a user needs to do is specify what work needs to be done, enter his ZIP code and select the preferred time and date. Instead of going through phone directories or classifieds, a person can directly go to Handybook and save time.
Most startups are aimed at solving a problem and so is the motive of Handybook. Founded by Oisin Hanrahan and Umang Dua, Handybook is spreading fast in New York, Boston and San Francisco. When Oisin got enrolled in Harvard, he noticed that he didn’t have enough time to clean his apartment or assemble his Ikea furniture. He also couldn’t find out what services were reliable and what was the right price to pay. “You can easily buy a book online or book a restaurant, but booking a service such as a handyman was a different story. While Ikea provide a service where they assemble the furniture, I didn’t have the time to be waiting for them at my apartment all day.” says Oisin.
Hence Oisin along with his flatmate Umang Dua created the idea of Handybook where people could book household services instantly. They created a list and put together 30 to 40 service providers in Boston and Manhattan. They both had launched Handybook while they still were at Harvard and when the business started to take off they decided to quit the prestigious Harvard Business School to focus entirely on Handybook.
In order to ensure reliable services, providers are nationally background checked by BeenVerified, a trusted third party. Email, Phone reference and Social Security Number checks are conducted with employers, customers and colleagues. Their service providers are highly skilled professionals who offer their services at best prices.
Users enter their area code, the kind of service they want, when they need it and for how long. For example, they might say they need a plumber for two hours in Boston on July 21st. The site then provides a quote, availability and a booking service and the transaction is completed within 90 seconds. The feedback has been excellent so far as the site provides an excellent option for a hassle free household service. “I have now used Handybook three times and each time has been great! They leave my house sparkling clean and are always very professional.” says Max, one of the members of Handybook.
The site takes payment instantly and they hold the money for 14 days before passing it on to the provider. If the customer is unsatisfied with the services offered, they get 100% of their money back. If the service provider doesn’t reach the place within 15 minutes of the time they were supposed to reach, the service is provided free of charge.
Handybook has managed to solve a common problem faced by busy individuals and is an early player in this novel market. The startup has been funded by Venture Capitalists, Highland Capital Partners, General Catalyst Partners and Angel Investors including David Tisch (the founder of TechStars in New York).
Oisin Hanrahan and Umang Dua wish to change the way people buy services online and make booking household services as convenient as booking Hotels and Flights.