An interview with Pradeep Chaudhary, Co-Founder at ServiceSutra

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[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

 

ServiceSutra is another start-up that tries to capitalize on the highly unorganized service sector of our country. Founded by long time friends Pradeep and Jay, ServiceSutra provides a platform to its customers to compare and hire a service provider in their locality. The company which began operations from Kolkata is already active in most of the tier I cities and is looking to expand into tier 2 cities as well. The service provided by them is free to the user and she need not pay anything to receive price quotes. If after comparing she decides to hire a service provider through ServiceSutra then she can pay directly to the vendor.

We recently had a conversation with Mr. Pradeep Chaudhary about his start-up. Let’s see what he has to say..

What motivated you to start the company and what is it all about?

The motivation for us was simple. There are many services where one size fits all pricing structure does not work. For services like home shifting, interior designing or website designing , the overall rates of services vary depending upon the actual scope of work, quality being delivered and expertise of the agency you are working with. We realized this more when we were relocating our office locally in Kolkata. We contacted JustDial and ended up receiving several calls. What we noticed was amazing. The rates of services varied between various agencies and that variation of cost was as much as around 40%. This is based just on the rates that we received from 6-7 agencies on the same day, but we kept receiving calls even after relocating.

And that’s when we thought that there are many services where usually the consumer doesn’t have any idea and she wants to check rates before hiring a service provider. So we started researching and building ServiceSutra.

Broadly speaking, we are building a platform where you can quickly compare rates and book a service provider without any hassle. Currently It’s available across 10-12 cities for services like movers and packers, pest control, cleaning, interior designing, etc.

Our readers would like to know about your core team and their roles?

What is the current Team Size?

Currently, we are a team of 9, including me and Jay (co-founder of ServiceSutra). Jay looks after vendor relationships and I take care of the technical and marketing bit of it. The rest of the guys are for content, vendors screening, coding and other back office operations.

How did you hire your initial team?

All that we do is to connect users to the relevant service providers and for that we need someone who believes in this idea and has an attitude to help others. Because we are helping both consumers and service providers, so that they can communicate, discuss and get things done, the helping attitude is a must.  Hence, communication and patience are the other two key traits that we look for in an individual when it comes to hiring.

Which recruiting channels work best for you?Referrals/Job Boards/ Staffing Agencies?

We have tried newspaper ads, agencies, classified sites, job boards, job portals etc. But I think for startups like us, online classifieds (quikr) and niche job boards work best.

What are the key factors that you look for in a potential candidate?

Ability to deal with people. Get things done attitude.

According to you how much is the competition in your vertical? How big is the industry? Who all are your competitors and what are your views on them?

Well, local services are happening in India. There are many players out there who are working on a similar model. Some of them recruit service providers, others are just connecting independent service professionals and consumers like we do. So the market is huge and one who can figure it out quickly will win. But it’s not an easy nut to crack. There is lot more to it.

What are your marketing strategies? Do you take help of Social platforms to promote ?

I think social channels are very important today, and platforms like Quora, facebook have worked quite well for us. We are yet to do a paid campaign on any of the social platforms.

What has been your experience with paid marketing channels?

We have not tried anything other than Google ads and that isn’t bad, but it’s costly.

Can you elaborate on the Challenges that you faced in promoting your website/ App?

Challenge is always the same and that is to be on the top in organic searches. This is because at the end of the day you have to bring organic traffic to your site.

What is the current traction? Can you share some numbers on Usage and Revenue?

We have already achieved the milestone of 50 thousand satisfied customers. The company is on a growth path, connecting  50 to 60 customers every day. We are also adding a few more service categories to our list and hope that this number  further improves in the next 6 months. For revenue, I can just say that we are not making losses.

Based on your experience would you have any advice for  the new Entrepreneurs / Start-ups?

You should research well before you start. And once started, give it your best. Quitting should  not be an option for you if you really want to succeed.

 

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

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