When Praveen Hatti and Ravi Teja realised that most maids working at residential homes ended up skipping work six or seven days a month, they wanted to solve this perennial problem in urban households. To that end, they went about creating a network of maids who could be available for service on demand.
Launched in 2015, Unplan started out as an on-demand maid services platform, offering services to residential properties in Bengaluru. “Over the years, we have transitioned from being a just on-demand service platform to a full stack property management services company, where we work with residential and commercial property owners offering brokerage, renovation, maintenance and legal services,” explains Praveen, Co-founder and CEO, Unplan.
Unplan caters to property owners who own one or more properties. Property management requires time, effort, and in a lot of cases, expertise which most homeowners today find difficult to manage. Homeowners end up interacting with multiple service providers and contractors over the lifecycle of their ownership – be it for interiors, renovation, cleaning, painting etc. They also have to deal with tenants in some cases.
Praveen says that Unplan aims to become a trusted partner for property owners to manage their property. The team manages the complete property lifecycle by working with only the best service providers in the local market. For owners, Unplan is a single stop solution. The startup also caters to people looking to invest in properties. “We have an advisory service where we help investors choose the right property to invest in. If it’s a rental investment, we ensure the property gets rented out and we manage it to ensure hassle free returns. We achieve low vacancy levels by ensuring great stay experiences for all our tenants at the properties we manage ” explains the CEO.
Today, Unplan manages around 50 odd properties across Bengaluru and Mysore. But the journey didn’t come without its set of challenges. “Supply was an issue, considering the majority of the market was unorganised, untrained, and we took a lot of time in creating the right on-boarding and training structure for our vendors” says Praveen, adding that technology and marketing were some additional hurdles they had to face.
Scaling with a .in domain name
Unplan launched their services with a customer facing website on .in domain. While the domain helped in customer acquisition, their website helped in the automated customer booking process.
Like Unplan, the National Internet Exchange for India (NIXI) is helping hundreds of startups across the country to get a .in or .Bharat domain. Apart from cost-effectiveness, another advantage of getting a domain name from NIXI is that one can choose from 22 languages. This will help businesses be more visible to the right audience.
Praveen adds that as a small business, it is important to build a brand name among customers and that is possible when brands are online. Today, search and decision-making have both moved online.
“Currently, we have a large on-demand services vertical where customers reach out to us to get anything – from a small requirement like a carpenter to a large one which requires multiple services to be stitched together. We do a few hundred transactions monthly,” says Praveen, adding that even as Unplan grows daily, he wants them to continue being the trusted manager of properties for landlords and owners.
The ‘Shaping India Inc’s Online Growth’ series chronicles the journeys of startups and SMEs in India and how creating an online presence on the .in or .Bharat domain powered their success stories.