One often-overlooked sector of the startup scene is the online home services industry. In recent years, using booking apps in Southeast Asia to find house cleaners, repair and maintenance operators and other ancillary home-based services have become the norm.
With the growth in employment of women outside the home, living standards rising even in developing countries, and an influx of expats, there is now a thriving home services scene in the region. People are leading busier lives outside of the home than in the past, so hiring someone to help around the house is much more commonplace.
Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the online home services booking apps in Southeast Asia are offering an extra service—home disinfection. There is also an increase in the uptake of air conditioning servicing and repairs as with more people working from home; systems are running more than they were when we were all leaving the house for work around 40 hours a week per person.
Pre-pandemic predictions for this sector indicated that there would be an increase of 49% in the use of these services between 2017 and 2021. With Coronavirus making people more focused on their homes, many of the platforms have noticed a surge in use, making 2020 a winning year for home services apps. We take a look at some of the more popular apps out there and examine how the sector is growing.
Manila-based GoodWork, founded by former Lazada Head of Fulfilment Andrew Koger in 2018, matches reliable cleaning, handyman and massage professionals with those requiring them in the Filipino capital.
After downloading the app (available on both IOS and Android) the user selects the service required and enters details of their location, date and any other necessary information. The platform matches them with an appropriate professional who can accept or refuse the job. If they both agree to the work, they confirm, and the work can begin.
The app has garnered attention from VCs and attracted seed funding of $1.6 million to help with GoodWork’s plans to expand into Thailand and Vietnam. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and restrictions put in place by the Filipino government, the company had to halt operations for two months and have had to introduce new SOPs to return to business. On the plus side, there has been an increased uptake in delivery and laundry services, and it has also introduced a whole new sector in the form of home disinfection.
Malaysia’s Kaodim has been offering home services since late 2014 and has continued to grow over the years, thanks in part to VC funding of over $11.6 million USD by 2017. Smart collaborations have further helped the growth, including one with the Grab platform and, more recently, with one of the country’s biggest asset management and infrastructure solutions companies, UEM Edgenta.
With a wide variety of home service providers for cleaning, plumbing, electrical, locksmith and security, Kaodim covers almost every type of service your home could require. It has also branched out into services for commercial and business purposes including pest control, relocation and training.
The Kaodim app allows users to find service providers, and hire and pay them through the platform, all with the security of insurance and a re-service guarantee if the user isn’t satisfied with the completed job.
One of Singapore’s online home service apps, Sendhelper focuses mainly on providing quality cleaners to the residents of the island state. Whether you require a standard house cleaning service, a deep clean, or your leather furniture refreshed, Sendhelper can connect you with a professional.
Singapore has a busy working population, but also an ageing one. With a high number of senior citizens, it is little surprise that one of the other popular sectors provided is for elderly care. This, and the company’s book-a-doctor service, sets it apart from many other online home services platforms.
One of Indonesia’s most successful startups, GoJek, is another platform that offers online booking for home services. Through the GoLife section in its downloadable app, it’s possible to find house (and car) cleaning services and massage professionals.
Giving a guarantee that all service providers have received training, have had background checks and will follow appropriate procedures, GoJek takes the worry and stress out of maintaining a clean home.
Making it easier for homeowners, tenants and landlords to maintain and service their homes, get rid of pests or even move house, the home services sector is certainly a growth industry. Moving the search to online platforms with protections and guarantees takes the hard work out of research and gives customers confidence.
While some tech sectors have slowed down due to the current pandemic, online home services are still holding steady. Thanks to a desire to have a cleaner, safer environment and many platforms offering other services such as pick-up and delivery, the booking apps in Southeast Asia look set to go from strength to strength.