How UrbanClap and Housejoy fuel aspirations of micro-womenpreneurs

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These new-age companies have created an employment model for unorganised service providers, giving them a sense of identity and purpose.

Seema has been working tirelessly for almost eight years in the beauty business, putting in 10–12 hours every day. In her last job with a beauty salon, she made a decent Rs 25,000 per month. It was a significant contribution to the family income as her husband was in a regular job.

However, as luck would have it, one fine day her husband lost his job due to an accident and the burden to earn more came on Seema. She struggled hard until she found one of the on-demand service providers—UrbanClap and Housejoy.

The best part was that she got the flexibility to work at her own pace, and her income just doubled to Rs 40,000–50,000 a month. Besides, there was a possibility to earn even more.

However, money wasn’t the only motivating factor that she liked about this new role. She now earned more respect for the same job that she had been doing for years.

This isn’t just Seema’s story. There are thousands like her across the metros in India. These companies have offered a new leash of life to many people from smaller towns who move to the metros for a livelihood and better living,

Money wasn’t the only motivating factor that she liked about this new role. She now earned more respect for the same job that she had been doing for years.

These on-demand service providers, which are household names today, help customers find the right professionals at the click of a button. And what they have provided these professionals is dignity of labour and more professionalism.

The core idea of these platforms is to offer consumers high-quality services and at the same time create employment opportunities.

While these companies facilitate all kinds of services, beauty is a big business. And these companies have portrayed these beauticians as the face of their service delivery.

“Today, less than five per cent of the beauty and wellness industry is organised. Most of the customers avail localised services in their neighbourhood, which do not follow high standards of hygiene or quality of products. Moreover, the equipment is also local. There is a demand for high-quality services in the market, at affordable prices,” says Varun Khaitan, co-founder, UrbanClap.

Till recently, the majority of the beauticians working in the neighbourhood parlours learned the tricks of the trade through the apprenticeship model, without going through a formal training process.

These on-demand service providers, which are household names today, help customers find the right professionals at the click of a button. And what they have provided these professionals is dignity of labour and more professionalism.

They devoted almost six days a week in salons and slogged for 10–12 hours in inadequate working conditions.

“The business value that beauticians generate for the salons is huge, but it doesn’t translate into profit for the employees. Even salons have to maintain real-estate and other associated costs. We wanted to disrupt this business model by allowing beauticians to run their own micro-businesses and have more control over their lives, while enjoying better compensation,” adds Khaitan.

Khaitan claims that 55 per cent of the beauticians earn more than Rs 40,000 in a month.

These companies have used technology to structure the highly unorganised services market in India.

When beauticians approach them, they are first invited to understand the basic skills required for the jobs listed on the app. Once they come on board, these beauticians have to undergo a 10-day rigorous training process and are also equipped to use the app efficiently, before they can start taking up assignments on their own.

It is a partnership model, where beauticians can easily register with these companies through their app and start tracking customer requests in their neighbourhood. However, they have to notify about the non-availability of their service two days in advance or else pay penalty. The companies only registers women with two–three years of experience in the beauty service.

Apart from the commission that these women earn, they are also offered the option of availing discounted on-the-job accident insurance and loans through associated NBFCs. With this kind of arrangement, beauticians have been able to realise their dreams of buying a house or vehicle. 

HRKatha spoke to beauticians enrolled on these platforms and sensed a high level of satisfaction and empowerment. They could now send their children to good schools and provide a better lifestyle to the family.

Besides training, advertising and promoting their services through the app, women also stay tuned to the latest products and technologies in the market. For every new service introduced, they undergo a refresher training course. Beauticians can purchase products as well as portable equipment needed for the services at a discounted price from these, which also ensures that the products are standardised across the chain.

Apart from the commission that these women earn, they are also offered the option of availing discounted on-the-job accident insurance and loans through associated NBFCs. With this kind of arrangement, beauticians have been able to realise their dreams of buying a house or vehicle.

The number of professionals joining these platforms has witnessed a three-fold increase in the last one year. This proves the efficiency of these platforms as employers or facilitators.

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