Urban Company is a privately traded company headquartered in Gurgram, India. They provide a web and app-based platform for consumers to book services, including housekeeping, fitness training, plumbing, and beauty services. As their business has expanded, so have their locations. They are now international, including Australia. One of the most important reasons that the company is so successful is that they are not afraid of sweat equity. Many platforms take a hands-off approach with their workers, aside from initial background checks and driving records. When Urban Services first started, they took a similar approach. However, as the model evolved and the company grew, they saw a need to consistently train and provide their workers with a platform to succeed and grow. Because all three co-founders are passionate entrepreneurs, investment in the journey was significant. "We got started because we wanted to deliver amazing and high-quality services," Abhiraj Singh Bhal, Urban Company CEO, said. Their numbers rose even during the Pandemic proving the company stays current with customer needs and marketing trends. Words like quality, excellence, and skilled pepper their website, "Our Mission is to empower millions of service professionals by delivering services at home in a way that has never been experienced before." These 20 facts show proof that the company exceeds this statement.
1. They added employees during the pandemic
Employment in India plummeted during the Pandemic. According to India Today, "India's unemployment rate has skyrocketed to a staggering 27.1% since the beginning of the lockdown, especially in metropolitan cities." Those considered essential workers stayed employed during the Pandemic. Since this company provides vital services, they continued to bring new employees onto the platform even during the lockdown, according to their LinkedIn Profile, even though there was a country-wide decline in unemployment, Urban Company is up 34% in the last six months.
2. Mental health-focused
One of the results of COVID-19 has been skyrocketing mental health issues. Urban Company partnered with iWill, a mental health platform, to provide as many sick leaves as the employee needs. They want to allow an employee to take time off if they have contracted COVID, also want to make sure that the employee can take time off if they are suffering from increased anxiety or a decline in mental health. The HR Director of Urban Company said, "Therefore, through such initiatives, Urban Company is not only trying to foster employee health and but also create an environment where people feel safe to talk about mental health issues,"
3. Their workers are their lifeblood
The company prides itself on being pro-employee. Numerous employees comment about a supportive work environment and feeling that they receive more than adequate job training to help them become successful. Typically you think of CEOs in boardrooms making the millions while the gig-workers are left to hone their skills. Instead, one company CEO shadows the employees, even going to homes his employees work in unannounced. Abhiraj doesn't sit on the sidelines; he's helped employees complete tasks. Not only does Urban Company provide its employees with uniforms, but it also assists with things like bank accounts.
4. Wait, you can have that delivered?
If you use Gig Platforms, they are typically for grocery shopping or ordering delivery. You might use a booking app to do online lessons or find more specialized services. Not Urban Services. They have a wide range of at-home services you wouldn't typically expect to see on an app like Yoga and body massages, even schedule pest control, electricians, plumbers, etc. In the United States, you'd have to have multiple apps downloaded.
5. Nationwide vaccine campaign
Since their company was part of essential workers assisting people during COVID, they put safety first. In April 2021, Economic Times India reported that Urban Company provided 30000 free vaccines to their employees. Additionally, they ensured their employees were versed in excellent safety profiles and ensured they had PPE kits.
6. Details matter
The company has always maintained strict, uncompromising standards. They even regulate the types of products their employees use on the job, even something as simple as a makeup remover. They demonstrated countless times their success found in their attention to detail. They see success not in the numbers but also in the quality they deliver. They understand that they have to have the products they need for their employees to give fantastic service. The company regulates what types of products they use; they also assist with purchasing them.
7. Predictive services
It's not just for food ordering. In an interview with Fortune India, they discussed Urban Company's unique platform. Not only have they expanded their services during COVID, but they've also designed an app that will assist a customer with more needs based on the one they scheduled services. Additionally, they monitor consistency, ensuring that each service provider gives the right solution if it is a repair.
8. What's in a name?
They rebranded when they went global, Although some people saw the name change from Urban Clap to Urban Company as a rebrand. The CEOs felt it was a way to create a larger company where there was room for other endeavors. In true Entrepreneur spirit, they wanted to give themselves room to expand the company in any direction they chose. Since the company is becoming more and more successful, the name change was undoubtedly a great idea.
9. Beauty then profits
Their first service category was beauty. It still dominates the platform. One of the CEOs commented, "Typically beauticians will earn Rs 10,000-15,000 per month in physical salons, with a bulk of the profits pocketed by the salon owners. In our model, the beautician is a micro-entrepreneur. 80% of what customers pay goes to her.
10. Dreaming big
One of the co-founders said, "Today, approximately 15,000 service professionals earn their livelihood through the UrbanClap platform. We want to grow that number 100 times over the next five years" This is an ambitious goal for a company that started in one city with only two service categories. Even though it seems lofty, according to business standards, "Urban Company, the online home services startup, has raised $255 million in a Series F round led by Proses Ventures, Dragoneer, and Wellington Management."
11. They like influence
Urban Company fills a unique need in India, and they recognize that everyone has a different take on their services. They actively seek influencers because they can lend a diverse voice to their company. They don't shy away from criticism. When working with influencers, they don't seek positive feedback, just honest reactions. In an interview with one of the co-founders on bestmediainfo, they said, "Every individual influencer has his/her unique approach. The better ones are the ones who do their research about the brand, understanding their own identity, audience and it sinks in well with the brand. Such influencers are thoughtful about the brand onboard and how they communicate the attributes of the brands. I've also seen the best influencers to typically be a bit more measured and objective about the experiences."
12. Value talent over investors
Hiring the right talent to provide quality service is the two significant challenges. Quality of service defines the brand. Apart from this, there are not many challenges around venture capitalists or investors." Although Urban Company recognizes the need for profits, they are always looking at their employees' needs and empowering them to be better and have a better quality of life.
13. Mohit Agrawal COVID relief fund
Urban Company seems to be constantly seeking new ways to improve the quality of life for their employees. They have shown a lot of conscious action and bold initiative during the Pandemic. This fund is another example of them valuing the people who make their platform successful. The company's director of engineering died of COVID. To honor his memory, the company set up this fund. They wanted to ensure their employees would have medical care as well as bereavement care. Additionally, they matched all donations made.
14. No competition
In an article by MobiSoft, they broke down the top home service startup. Besides Urban Clap, they included ten others, including House Joy, Zimbler, SBricks, and Helper. Urban Company led the group. "As of now, you can get UrbanClap services in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Bangalore. There are more than 10,000 professionals registered with the platform, which the company thoroughly verifies. The service has caught on with the busy urban population with their busy life,e and the company crossed the mark of $10 million in revenue quite recently." This was three years ago, and the company is continuing to expand.
15. Committed to knowledge
The company understands that they need talented individuals on their platform and want to grow continually to succeed. In 2019, they partnered with National Skill Development to train people in India. According to Hindubusinessline, "As part of the agreement, NSDC will support UrbanClap to become a 100 percent 'Skill India’-certified organization under RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) component of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)."
16. Next generation of entrepreneurs
Everyone who has written or talked about Urban Company returns to the concept of entrepreneurship. The three founders are all lifelong entrepreneurs and have made that part of their mission. They don't want to create a platform for people to make money and potentially move on to other things; they want to give the people who choose to work on their platform all the tools they need to succeed on their own if they choose.
17. Timing is everything
Two of the three co-founders started an unsuccessful startup before launching Urban Services. It was a chance encounter with another entrepreneur that created the ground level of this successful company. All three shared unsuccessful startups but set on finding the right market and idea to make a venture successful. One of them noticed a severe lack of the Indian services market and wanted to find a way to connect consumers with the services they needed. They also noticed that specific industries had employees getting the short end, paying out such a large chunk of money to their contracted people. The collaboration of these ideas was a foundation of success.
18. Leading the way
They were the first company in India to provide COVID-19 health insurance on a gig platform. They already had an insurance plan for their employees, but they added additional benefits to ensure the people who work for them felt more secure. In an article on their blog they wrote, "Urban Company will extend insurance coverage to all the service professionals across all the 18 cities in India where it is present. This step helps the company strengthen its relationship with its service partners." This is just another in a long line of ways they show their employees how valuable they are.
The company didn't slow down during the Pandemic. They also didn't compromise standards. Pre-pandemic, they used a traditional classroom to train their new candidates. However, they switched to an online module and still trained approximately 10000. They used the same technology to conduct interviews.
20. Relentless improvement
Two things define their success, valuing their employees and always looking to provide better service to their customers, whose needs changed drastically during the Pandemic. As cases increased, the company closely monitored what services were most requested. If they did not have adequate professionals to meet them, they focused on increasing hiring in those categories.
In 2019 Your Story wrote an article about the company. In it, they stated that five years after they launched the "urban lifestyle services platform," the three are well on their way to creating a household brand, which is growing 3x every year and reaches 6.5 lakh homes every month through 20,000 service partners. Each time they speak out their company, their focus is innovation and creating something new and fresh. This company has built everything because they don't shy away from creation and recognize the need for their services. The company has dominated the market in India because they maintain standards that some corporations might find obsessive. They are always searching for ways to expand.
Additionally, they are constantly adding new services. Interviews with the CEOs always focus on continual learning and strategies that they have implemented for decades. None of them have ever stayed inside a typical corporate box, instead choosing to think about services and marketing strategies not available and crafting plans to make them happen to utilize their unique brand of quality and service.
Written by Dominique Scappucci
Read more posts by Dominique Scappucci