Handyman services for maintenance, repairing and renovation are often troublesome and laborious to find, until one knows someone personally. Suzan Thapa also went through a similar experience once. Thapa had to wait for days to find a skilled person to repair his house drainage system. On the other hand, such service providers are sitting idle as they cannot find customers.
Thapa later considered that a similar situation might have befallen other people too. So, along with two friends, he decided to start a platform which would connect such service providers with the service seekers without much hassle. In 2021, Thapa with his friends Janak Tamang and Nishan Rai started Esahar with the aim of bridging the gap between the service providers and service seekers.
Esahar is a community based online platform that lets service providers such as plumbers, electricians, painters, carpenters, technicians, mechanics, IT, designers, cleaning and sanitation workers, beauty services, vehicle/product rentals, events/entertainments and service seekers connect with each other as per their requirement with the minimum of hassle, saving time and effort.
“Besides bridging the gap between the service provider and service seeker, our platform also provides income opportunities to the people with different skills,” says Janak Tamang, co-founder of Esahar.
In addition, the platform is completely free for everyone, for both service provider and service seeker. Tamang claims that more than 200 service providers from more than 50 service sectors are listed in their platform and it’s increasing rapidly.
They have designed a simple system that allows both the customer and user to engage with each other's issues and solutions. “Location based filters are another effective function,” says Tamang.
How Does it Work
Esahar is available as a website currently and the group is working on developing a mobile app soon. A person first creates a personal account in Esahar and then can look for the service they require. There is a ‘Post a Task’ button where one can request a service and get a skilled person for the required work. For instance, if anyone is looking for an electrician in their area, they can list a task and choose qualified people through the website.
Moreover, a person can also list any skills they have in Esahar and earn from it. Service providers need to register their name, address and contact number with Esahar so that the service seeker can contact them and get the work done. According to Tamang, a service provider can offer a service on the request post and state their budget as well. Once the service provider registers, they cross check and verify all the information they have provided.
In addition, there is also an option of private texting whereby service providers and service seekers can directly communicate with each other.
After making a website and developing a prototype, they used social media marketing to reach out to people. However, Tamang shares that people at first mistook the site as being a job searching portal or employment agency. “We used to get queries regarding job searches and hiring,” he shares.
The trio collected the data of service providers such as plumbers and electricians through social media sites and contacted them through SMS. “We messaged and called them and gave them the information about our company,” says Tamang. “However, most of them were hesitant to register with us thinking that we might charge some percent of commission with them like others. We assured them that this was not the case and then they were ready to register with us,” adds Tamang.
In addition, Tamang says that despite the growth in technology, Nepali communities are not digitally sound yet, which is one of the major challenges for the Esahar team. Like other online businesses, overcoming the lack of trust in online businesses and services was also a challenge for them as well. To this end, the group uses social media to show how the platform actually works and how potential customers and service providers can both benefit.
Another challenge that the team is trying to overcome at the moment is the lack of reach with service seekers complaining that service providers are turning down job requests due to locations being too far away. “Since we have not been able to reach every corner of the country, service seekers are not able to get service providers in their area. For this, we are trying to reach as many places as possible and get them connected with many service providers so that the service seekers do not have to face such problems,” Tamang says.
As of now, most of their customers are from inside the ring road and the western part of the country, informs Tamang.
Moreover, he believes that calling an online platform like theirs as being similar to other businesses is not fair. Tamang says that the government should bring different laws and policies for an online platform and companies. “Although the government has been slightly flexible and brought a separate startup policy, which is praiseworthy, they should be properly implemented and monitored,” he says.
Investment and growth
The trio started the company with Rs 200,000 that they collected from their savings. Since they just started about a year ago, they claim that they are focusing more on growing their reach rather than generating revenue. In the coming days, they plan to work on revenue generation through advertisements and promotions.
Although it has been only a short period of time since they started the company, Tamang asserts that their users, both the service providers and seekers, are increasing rapidly. They are also working on adding new features and categories to their platform and making the website more user-friendly.
Tamang informs that they are soon launching a mobile app for iOS and android. Furthermore, being a community based online platform, the Esahar team aspires to reach out to every Nepali and every corner of the country. “Within 10 years, we will make our platform a leading community-based platform that actually solves problems and one which creates more opportunities for people making life easier,” he says.