In India’s fast-growing economy, a persisting problem that been a part of our daily lives for a long, long time, remained- the search of a good domestic help. The problem was so severe that it spawned several jokes in various media, spoofs and parodies, and gave rise to numerous ‘maid-handling’ bureaus that had popped up in the late 20th century. Domestic helps were difficult to get by, more so the ‘good’ ones. In 2015, Bookmybai realised the solution to this prevalent difficulty and the many more that households and the helps faced.
One rampant but less overt side of the issue was the abuse suffered by the helps from their employers. The mistreatment went unchecked for decades, as the maids rarely had the resources and access to complain against their employers, and even less the encouragement. They feared ostracisation, as word-of-mouth was the primary source of a domestic help getting work in another house. The bureaus that came up seemingly solved some of these problems to an extent, but after an initially decent run, they soon turned rogue.
They deemed themselves unaccountable for any problems that cropped up after a domestic help was provided to a house, and had little concern for either the helps registered or the households they were servicing. They conveniently shrugged responsibility and rarely was the deposit money returned to the clients. Even the helps were mistreated and paid barely a fraction of the money these agencies charged the families.
Anupam Sinhal, the founder, realised there had to be a way to better organise the whole situation, and minimise the hurdles that both the households and maids faced in the entire process. And that was when he decided to factor in how technology would ease the whole activity. Thus was born Bookmybai.
The Mumbai based web platform, as its name suggested, let users hire domestic helps, or ‘book a bai’, while the company took care of the remaining process. All a user had to do was select which of the four services they wanted to hire a help for – house help, cook, babysitter, or caretaker (usually for senior citizens), and from that time till the help started work, the process of finding, onboarding, and providing the necessary documentation of the maid was taken care of by the company.
In a country where over 30 million women were employed as permanent domestic helps, Bookmybai saw the opportunity to disrupt the industry owing to the lack of any reliable agency, which also gave him immense first mover advantage. The huge supply-demand gap meant there was plenty of opportunity and a good market for India’s first ‘aggregator of domestic helps’ as BMB likes to call itself, to capitalise on.
How they work
Bookmybai assembles a repository of trusted maid bureaus to create a flowing supply channel, with a 6 layer security check to eliminate any frauds and fly-by-nights. The bureaus and sources are checked and verified by them, to ensure the entire process is smooth and trustworthy. The maids are listed on the site real time, and employers can pick their preferences for services, and be matched accordingly. As the app works to detect the geo-location of the user, the maid assigned to them is usually closest to their house, thus reducing travel cost and time – the entire matching procedure works real-time.
The primary distinguishing factor that gives the company a superior edge over any competitor (maid bureaus and agencies) is its reliability and accountability. Every domestic help registered on the app goes through rigorous security checks, with all necessary documents in place. They also sign a legal contract with the employers to ensure the maids do not undergo harassment or abuse. The helps are also paid on time and in full, and unlike in case of agencies and bureaus, they need not pay anything extra to Bookmybai for the work they get. The company provides a 24-hour replacement if an arrangement doesn’t work out between the maid and the employers.
By not being an on-demand service, Bookmybai has ensured long-term customer retention, as well as job satisfaction for the domestic helps. Its huge database and wide serviceable area also make sure that it is able to cater to a large user base and cover a lot of geographical areas. Currently, Bookmybai is present in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Pune, with a small but tremendously growing presence in cities in the rest of India.
Having placed more than 6000 domestic helps in successful and happy employments already, all across India, Bookmybai is continuing its journey ahead, one happy ‘bai’ at a time.