So, what does Fixington do?
Fixington allows people to book a trades-person instantly online. We have a network of tradespeople, electricians… plumbers.. etc that we’ve built by giving out a free app for them to manage their business. They can schedule their jobs, invoice customers, take payments… and as of a few months ago, now receive instant bookings from customers looking for repairs or small jobs in their home.
What’s behind the business idea?
As a homeowner, it’s typically difficult to get repairs, maintenance and new work completed in your home. Getting the attention of skilled tradespeople, for quotes and scheduling, is hard because tradespeople are busy travelling and working. We think there’s a huge opportunity here as there are around 500,000 independent tradespeople, who carry out about 94% of all home repair and small jobs work. They work long hours during the day, and many then have to spend evenings and weekends doing marketing and paperwork and trying to get back to customers.
Was there a breakthrough moment?
The very first booking for our first heating engineer to join, was pretty exciting. We’d worked hard building a free app for tradespeople for about 8 months, had lots of really great reviews, but when that first booking came from the customer, and it was carried out successfully within the same day… fantastic moment.
How is the company doing?
We’re expanding by raising funding through Seedrs. We’ve built a great network of tradespeople, many of them using our app during every week of the year. Out of those, we have a handful of electricians and plumbers in London now receiving work in our trial area, whilst we perfect the customer booking platform. It’s great to get feedback from customers directly, as I run the platform and customer service areas. This is fed straight into development to improve our booking system.
Do you have any regrets?
There are always things that I could have done differently. I think launching to customers much earlier, even if we weren’t ready, would’ve given us earlier insight into how customers would like to communicate, and book with tradespeople. However, had that been the case, we would’ve spent less time building an iPhone app that tradespeople really connect with, and we wouldn’t have the engagement and reviews we have today on the App Store. It’s hard to learn from those trade-offs, but you have to trust your instinct.
What makes you stand out from your competitors?
By far, the fact that we can take live bookings for our team. With some of the more well-known websites such as Checkatrade, mybuilder and ratedpeople, you are so far from instantly getting something into a tradesperson’s calendar. There is either lots of calling and emailing for times/quotes, or posting jobs and waiting to hear back. For repairs or small jobs, this just isn’t necessary.
What is your definition of a positive customer experience?
As we pride ourselves on knowing availability of our team, having someone turn up to complete a job perfectly within the time chosen by the customer, is a great win. Also, when we slot in a last minute booking for the same day – it becomes a bit extra special too for the customer and for us. Extra earnings for the tradesperson, and an instant solution for the customer: everybody wins.
You’re currently reaching out for investors, what do you plan to do when you have raised this funding?
Great question, this current round of investment gives us the funding for further improvements for customers booking online with us. We’re aiming to launch our iPhone app for customers, giving them instant access on the move without having to google, or return to our website directly. We’ll also be expanding into more areas, and a couple of extra services too, beyond just electrical, plumbing and heating.
What advice would you give yourself now if you were starting a business?
Define a good routine and structure to your work-life balance. Compromising on that balance rarely yields better results. Having constraints in your life, is always good to encourage working on your highest priority goals, and for designing solutions to the most important problems in your business.
Finally, Chris what is your favorite biscuit?
Jaffa cake. Is that a biscuit?!