Sydney, Jan 25: Despite the Omicron variant, Australians are starting to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel – with many already getting ready to refresh their home and resume regular cleaning- now that they are free to roam again.
But finding, managing and paying for cleaning services is painful. As there are inefficiencies in the entire process, with manual cash transactions still an issue for clients. Other examples include cleaners asking for cash payment, not registering ABNs and not being able to issue invoices.
It can be hard to find good cleaners and hard for service providers to get good clients – as many lack communication and language abilities along with management and professional working skills.
This is worsened by a limited ability to provide feedback and rate services.
With that in mind, a new app and platform, Hygea was born at the mid of last year.
Dubbed the Uber for home services, the app uses technology to make services clear, manageable and customisable – removing substantial pain points for customers and service providers by solving the above problems.
Hygea, which is available on the Apple and Google Play Store, plans to disrupt the way domestic household services are marketed, booked, paid for and executed.
The app also wants to standardise industry rates by bringing service providers into the Hygea family.
As a former medical practitioner, Melbourne-based Lily Li founded the app Hygea and named it after Hygeia, the Ancient Greek goddess of health.
Here she gives DailyStraits.com a low-down on what her app is all about in this exclusive interview. Without further ado, let’s read the interview here:
Why did you leave your cushy job as a doctor to start a cleaning app?
I was born in a medical family. I was a medical student and became a doctor later on. I worked as an ophthalmologist in the biggest hospital in TianJin China for five years. I grew up in an environment where my family is mostly in the medical field. Everyday we were talking about the same topic. I feel like I’m living in a limited and small circle and feel like I’m in the box. At the same time, I feel there is a big world out there and because of that it pushed me to explore the world outside.
When was this app launched and how many users does it have to date?
Hygea was launched in June 2021. The app currently has reached 500 customers and more than 150 domestic service workers signed up to the app. One cleaner’s account might include five to 30 people as a team.
Is this your first app?
We have developed our own CRM system before. This CRM helps us manage the customers, cleaners and jobs data, make schedules, keep track of transactions and do financial analysis.
What have users said about your app?
Customers said they have found our app to be excellent, reliable, polite, professional, always on time, especially as the terms and conditions such as the cleaning fee is given upfront saving them a lot of time from negotiating prices with people.
How much money do cleaners make from using your app?
Each team with a minimum number of three people working full-time will make a minimum AU$250,000 per year. Now, the average is about AU$400,000 per year.
How does the app monetise?
For each job that cleaners accept and complete, Hygea takes 15- 22 percent of commission depending on different types of services.
How much did you invest to create this app?
Almost AU$2 million, including the cost of building the app and cost of labor.
Which Australian state has the most usage of the app and why?
Currently, most of the users are from Victoria. The reason may be that most of the leads and the market is most active is from Victoria, also we started our business in Victoria, that’s why it’s easy to transfer leads into the app. Also most of our data came from Victoria, where we have access to more than 100,000 customer profiles and more than 8,000 cleaner profiles.
Who are your competitors?
There are three companies around the world: Helpling, Airtasker and Hipages. Helping is based in Germany, and Airtasker and Hipages are based in Australia.
Airtasker and Hipages’ operation model is based on marketing by exchanging customers’ and cleaners’ information. Helpling is a booking system. All of them are operating global markets and have already been listed. Hygea is looking forward to becoming the fourth company to be listed.
The differences between Hygea and the other companies are that we only focus on home cleaning, commercial cleaning, Airbnb cleaning, gardening, handyman services, etc. With Hygea, customers can book repeat scheduled jobs, know the accurate job estimation time, know the accurate quotation price, track the job, give a rating to the service provider, communicate with the service provider, select their favourite service provider, give tips to service providers, receive pop up notifications and organise rebooking. Hygea’s biggest advantage is the Smart Price system which will adjust prices automatically based on season and timing.
Please tell us more about your plans to work with Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on organising cleaning services for their providers and clients.
We are currently having an NDIS audit with JPS auditing, a professional NDIS audit company. We started engaging with them in April 2021 and now we are in the process of reviewing the operational strategies that accommodate NDIS requirements.
There are many NDIS companies and support coordinators in the market, however none of them focus on providing home services to the NDIS. The demand is more than the supply. NDIS finds it challenging to get a reliable cleaner in the market. Most of them have bad experiences with different cleaners. The support coordinator or plan manager has difficulties to track the cleaning process or check the work if they are not at the participant’s house. Currently workers need to apply for a screen check before they work with the NDIS. We are planning to use the latest technology to set up a special service for NDIS in our app. Other details of this plan is confidential for now.
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June Ramli is the editor of DailyStraits.com. To stay in touch with June, look her up on Twitter @junesairaramli