This startup wants to take away the hassle of home improvements

Updated on 13 January 2016

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This startup wants to take away the hassle out of home improvements

There are online services to meet almost every need – everything from meals and transport to gifting and mobile payments. Homeowners are now also able to use technology to manage the home improvement process.

“The major motivation for us was hearing from a large number of people how frustrating and difficult it was to find someone reliable when tackling home improvement jobs,” says co-founder, Alan Vermeulen (29).

Vermeulen launched the One Click Fix platform together with co-founder, Fransi Duffey (27), in 2015.

The Johannesburg-based platform works to connect tradesmen and service providers in the home improvement and maintenance industry to potential customers and homeowners in their area.

“Everything can be done through the platform, including asking tradesmen DIY questions, to requesting quotes with photos and specifications and scheduling an appointment. Once a job is completed, clients can then rate their service provider on a number of criteria.

“We would also like to empower individual tradesmen through this platform, as all they need to grow their business is a cell phone that can receive emails and the ability to do good work which will ultimately be rewarded by return customers through good ratings,” says Vermeulen.

We speak to Vermeulen and Duffey about growing their startup’s footprint and staying flexible while still remaining committed to their core vision.

On finding their differentiator 

There are a few similar platforms out there, however, not many of them encompass all the functionalities that our platform does. Some are based on a quote “bidding” process, while others are pure directories. We have a more responsive system where service providers are actually provided with a profile from which they can keep track of all their interaction with their clients.

On funding and finances  

We have actually funded the launch ourselves and continue to do so. When the time comes to expand, we will look at various options for capital.

  • On building traction 

We are currently in the process of registering as many service providers as possible and the process has been slow, but there has been very good progress. Most people are split on the idea, but it seems the more traction we get on the site, the more people are buying into the idea.

We would like to continue to grow the One Click Fix footprint to reach right across South Africa, making life easier for  homeowners and the service providers alike. We would eventually like to become “Facebook” for service providers in this sector and hopefully begin a process of vetting certain tradesmen once enough reviews and ratings have been obtained through the site for them.

  • On working in the online service industry 

Working in this industry has been a big learning curve from the start, but we are now comfortable in our sector and are really beginning to enjoy it!

  • On challenges and surprises

The biggest hurdle is most definitely self-doubt and fear of failure. It takes a lot of guts to go out on a limb and start something of your own, but we fully believe in the “screw it, let’s do it” approach. If you don’t commit fully, there’s a far slimmer chance of success.

The biggest surprise of being a startup founder has to be the amount of spaces and programmes geared at startups that we have discovered in South Africa.

We are actually currently part of the Awethu Project, an innovative SME partnership based in the heart of Johannesburg. Their support and mentorship has been incredible.

  • On what it takes to succeed

Success can only be attributed to persistence and belief in what you are doing and that is what we have been focusing on right through our startup journey.

  • Obstacles in SA’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

South Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem can definitely still improve, as a major emphasis has only been placed on this in the last 5-10 years. Mentorship programmes are abundant, but perhaps there is a lack expertise across the board. Experts in various fields should perhaps be contracted by various programmes to fit the needs of the various startups that they are trying to help grow.

  • On startup advice

To those looking to take the leap into the world of startups, do your market research, do not be afraid to allow your idea to morph as necessary to meet your target market’s needs, do your utmost to stay positive and always temper your expectations of success. Every small battle won and every bit of positive feedback is a step in the right direction.

Things are not always going to go according to plan, you have to stay as flexible as possible, without compromising the core of your business idea.

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