You read about how cleaning startup Agentbong faced problems with unreasonable customers.
Undeniably, we can be pretty demanding especially for on-demand services, which is why this new home management startup is using an interesting approach.
Their home managers leave behind cards with handwritten messages where home owners can also leave replies. This revived the traditional penpal nostalgia, and creates a friendly relationship between Home Managers and home owners.
The Butler In Suits
Unlike their name, the staff do not call themselves butlers. Neither do they wear suits, as they had “wised up to the weather and switched to shirts“.
Home Managers aim to cover all the bases, from cleaning to laundry and even mailbox collection. By using their service, home owners can save 8 hours a week on chores and 20% of a full-time maid’s cost.
The startup is designed to be horizontal so they “can plug-and-play any company and offer their services on the platform.”
“Our laundry for wash and fold will be always at a cost-centric operation amount of $2.50/kg which is uncontested and even cheaper than operating your own machine at home. We also have a price guarantee for groceries at retail or below.”
An extra level of security for home owners is a S$1 million insurance set in place. This helps to protect the service standard as well as any damages to property.
Just to clarify, Butler In Suits is not an on-demand startup, so here are their monthly rates.
Butler in Suits was founded by serial entrepreneur Poon Da Qian who, having had a maid his entire life, realised that his home was a mess without one.
“I foresaw myself being stuck in the future. A maid is costly, and can be disruptive to the home. There are 14 on-demand cleaning startups here – everyone is in a perfect competition. Plus they are freelancers, the quality may not be great.”
“I wanted something convenient, of quality and affordable […] so I came up with Butler In Suits.”
An entrepreneur since 15, Da Qian came from an F&B background.
“After my dad had passed away from cancer, and we were managing 10 outlets and 40 staffs across Singapore. At its peak we were given an exit option, but we were so attached to my father’s legacy that we passed.”
“After 2 weeks, I realised the pain of an on-demand model. The core modus operandi focuses on getting the next transaction rather than the next customer. This makes it vulnerable to competition, as the barrier of entry is easy to replicate.”
“At 24, I may not have as strong a network as my peers. but I believe my experience taught me to know what customers truly need – convenience, quality, and affordability. F&B also gave me a pragmatic approach to business models and the quick thinking ability to filter bad calls through logical risk assessments.”
A Home Manager Career
Home Managers are ideally hospitality graduates and have to go through 3 weeks of in-house training.
“Consistency is very important. So that even if the Home Manager is substituted, the standard is the same,” shares Da Qian.
These Managers are also paid above market rates at $2.5k, up from the $1.6-2k from hotels or startups. According to Da Qian, this motivates them to a good job.
The startup is enjoying growth, Da Qian shares. They currently limit themselves to 15 customers as he wants to ensure that they can manage it. But Da Qian reveals that they are well on track to hit 125 by end-2017.
“As a firm believer in the ground-up experience, we are constantly on a lookout for talented home managers to climb up the chain of command. Ultimately [we hope to] give an opportunity for our employees to have their dream career, where we emphasise on purposeful work, welfare and social causes.”
Value-Adding Home Management
“We do not wish to disrupt, but value-add to the 3 options of home management: full-time and part-time helpers and DIY home management,” Da Qian shares.
“By having a new option for a category called home management for the ecosystem, [we seek] to become the leader.”
Finally, credits to SK Wong of Mirastar for her help.
Featured Image Credit: Poon Da Qian