As a real estate agent for over 10 years, De Lange saw how his clients would struggle to find reliable service providers. Using his experience and contacts from the realty industry, De Lange built up a database of trusted providers from garden maintenance to handymen, plumbers and electricians, and founded PropCare.
PropCare is an online service portal and app, which provides a platform for property owners to find reliable, user-rated, locally-based property service providers. De Lange (pictured below) explains how he seized the opportunity to establish a property management startup.
PropCare was founded in November 2013, and was started as an added service to my sales side with RE/MAX Advance; thereafter we quickly saw there was a big market for what we were doing. After pitching to a panel of renowned judges this year, PropCare secured a R300 000 funding round from the investors on entrepreneurial reality show Dragons’ Den.
“Something new is always scary until you realise that new could make things better”
Our offering is different to other service portals in that we make sure that the homeowner can find the right person for the job quickly, and with no stress and at a cheaper price. If you need a garden service or would like to build a new pool we can help. PropCare will also pre-negotiate with the service providers on your behalf to make sure you get the best service.
Small businesses can also use our system as a marketing platform for property-related services. Our app makes it easy for the homeowner to find you no matter where you might be. We also provide all homeowners with a log book for their property.
PropCare changed the way service portals work. The normal way would be, you look for a service and it would get the details couple of a couple service providers that can help. PropCare finds the right provider and gets them to call you, whereas before the service providers would pay for advertising in hope that they would be called by customers. This way the provider saves money and can provide discounts to the homeowner.
The busier the world gets, the less time we have to maintain our properties, yet property is one of the biggest investments that we can make. There is a service provider for each and every need you might have, yet we try to do it ourselves which sometimes results in higher costs in the end.
We found that it is extremely difficult for new businesses that provide property services to gain traction when entering the market. So local small businesses can get a boost with our rating system.
The biggest hurdle we faced is to change people’s ways of doing things. We are set in our ways and something new is scary until you realise that new could make things better.
“The scariest part of being an entrepreneur is also the easiest part. You won’t know where the road might lead if you don’t take the road”
The startup eco-system in South Africa is fantastic and if more South Africans can gain access to it, we can produce more successful entrepreneurs. Our vision for PropCare is in the next two years to be available to every person in South Africa. We don’t just want to help homeowners, but also help local service providers.
There are so many more options than just the banks to guide and help you in your venture. There are people out there that are prepared to take the risk with you if they see that you are prepared to do it. We were lucky that tech guru Vinny Lingham saw potential in our company and invested his time, money and joined the risk.
The scariest part of being an entrepreneur is also the easiest part. You won’t know where the road might lead if you don’t take the road. Get your idea, believe in yourself and your product and take that first step.