Home services marketplace Urban Company on Sunday said it aims to onboard over 20,000 professionals on its platform this year to meet the strong growth in demand for various services post the lockdown.
Currently, the company has more than 40,000 gig workers on its platform, of which over 35,000 are present in India. Of the total base of gig workers on the platform in India, more than one-third are women working as beauticians and massage therapists, Urban Company Co-founder Varun Khaitan told PTI.
“We have accelerated our pace of onboarding more service professionals in line with our 2021 business growth plan…We plan to onboard more than 50 percent gig workers on our platform in line with our 2021 strategy,” he added.
Khaitan pointed out that the company has onboarded 10,000 AC technicians to prepare for the 2021 summer season as it expects the demand for AC servicing to more than double this year.
“We plan to service about three million ACs covering 1.5 million households across the country in the next two to three months,” he added.
Khaitan noted that over the last few months, the company has also started operations in cities including Bhopal, Coimbatore, Kochi, Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra, and Guwahati, and that Urban Company will launch operations in a few more cities over March and April.
He said the gig model aligns gig workers with good quality customer experience.
“By virtue of the model, they are able to earn more than their counterparts in the traditional industry setup. Further, it’s scalable; reflective in our mission to create one million micro-entrepreneurs in the next five years,” he added.
Khaitan said the company is also focussing extensively on training its service professionals.
“We have built an in-house team of over 200 full-time trainers, who train between 3,000 to 5,000 professionals a month. These training (and retraining) programmes focus on both core skills and soft skills, and can last anywhere from one week to two months,” he said.
He explained that prior to March 2020, the company trained professionals in its training centres spread across the country but with the pandemic and ensuing lockdown, training efforts were moved online.
“Our tech team developed the entire backend infrastructure required to deliver these training modules virtually — from WHO protocols on hygiene and safety to skill-specific modules and tests…Now, as things start to open up more, we will also resume conducting physical training sessions in our approximately 100 training classrooms present pan-India,” Khaitan said.
He added that the company will continue to use its virtual training module as well for some parts of the training programme that can be done remotely.
Further, Urban Company has an agreement with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) that issue skill certificates to its fleet of service professionals upon clearing the required assessments.