- Bridging the gap between consumers and reliable service professionals
- Helping local SMEs to expand their business
WITH the modern savvy consumer demand for high quality services, researching a product or service professional before buying has become the norm. However, people have less time to do more things in; the solution is, of course, on-demand services.
RecomN has found a comfortable niche by offering a platform on which users can find recommended and reviewed services along with quotes from service providers.
CEO and co-founder Jes Min Lua makes it clear the RecomN is not a concierge service that runs errands but rather a place to go to get high-quality and reliable professionals to carry out required services. The service professionals on the platform are themselves small and medium enterprises, sole proprietors or even people who operate side businesses from home.
The services on RecomN can essentially be split into two business models. The first model comprises the big jobs, such as renovations and interior decorating, and focuses on important life events, such as catering, cakes, photography and planning for weddings or birthdays.
The express services model deals with essential services, such as electricians, air-conditioner servicing, plumbers and handymen. For this model, RecomN has a set of curated service professionals who can be dispatched to the user’s house within two hours.
“We handle the big projects that people need at key moments in their life or the important services people need throughout their lives,” says Lua.
The idea for RecomN grew organically through Lua’s own personal experience with a wedding videographer that went disastrously wrong. While planning her wedding in 2012, Lua had found the videographer online and hired him, but a week after the wedding he claimed the videos had been stolen and then he disappeared, refusing to take any of Lua’s calls.
“I realised that when you hire a service there are two very important bits of information you need to know: what someone says they can do and what customers really think the service professional can do,” reveals Lua.
RecomN was started by Lua and co-founder Alex Tan at the end of 2014 as a listing but soon moved to a lead generation model where customers put in requests and are given recommendations of service professionals with price quotes, reviews and portfolios.
“Customers love it because within a few hours we help them prioritise the top people available to do the job within their budget. Service professionals love it too because they spend a lot of time and money looking for customers. What really helps them is growing by trusted recommendations. We help them use their previous customers’ reviews to sell their next job,” says Lua.
In November 2015, RecomN joined up with Indonesian entrepreneur Anthony Eka Wijaya who now runs operations in Indonesia, where the platform is called Sejasa.com. Today, while it is among the top three on-demand services platforms in Malaysia (along with Servishero and Kaodim), it is the biggest in Indonesia and Lua claims, the biggest in the region. The value of jobs booked on the system is between US$2.5 million to US$3 million (RM10.8 million to RM13 million) a month, with the value of total requests being two to three times that, she reveals.
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Lua says expansion outside of Malaysia, specifically into Indonesia, is an essential part of the business plan. “It’s the largest market in Southeast Asia (SEA). If you’re not in Indonesia you’re not a regional business and you’re not in SEA.”
The huge Indonesian market certainly has its draws and, with the big problems of asymmetry in connection between consumers and service professionals and lack of information, there is great potential for a platform like RecomN.
Next page: Building trust and staying sustainable