KARACHI: Availability of blue-collar workers in Pakistan for domestic jobs has always been a trial-and-error based task with reliability and trust issues taking front seat. A search for a plumber or electrician means a visit to the local market before the negotiation or haggle begins.
Sukoon.com.pk – The Nest I/O’s first incubated startup – is an online portal that provides electricians, plumbers, masons, carpenters and painters in Karachi at your doorstep — the process completed through online booking.
“We officially launched the portal on Labour Day (May 1) because workers need to be highlighted,” said Sukoon CEO Shoaib Iqbal. “We have a lengthy induction process with thorough background checks and service assurance.
“Many workers out there even had FIRs registered against them when we reviewed their history, but we ensure complete security from our workforce.”
Shah Faisal, an electrician employed at Sukoon, said that being an employee of an entity gives him credibility. According to Faisal, misconduct is not only exclusively reserved for workers; several times customers also fail to behave appropriately. “Therefore, representing a company gives the blue-collar workforce a corporate identity which was not there before.”
He also said that this provides him with assurance of employment – something that is plaguing this unmonitored sector – as well as handling finances as the entity introduced a banking system to its employees.
How the portal works
The booking procedure entails a basic description of the customer’s request accompanied with a picture upload feature to provide additional review of the work at hand. The company then sends the relevant worker to the address based on a timing slot, a maximum 24-hour window. There is even an option to book an emergency visit, based on the nature of the issue.
“We are looking into predetermined rates but for that we need more data,” said Sukoon COO Qazi Umair, while talking to The Express Tribune.
“But, right now, the worker determines the price, which can also be bargained, just like when we reach out to them in the market.”
“What Sukoon does is provide you exactly the same services, but with the added assurance of quality and security.”
Iqbal added that a rating system after the delivery of services will also ensure that work being done is up to standard as there are no bodies or regulators that provide certification.
With this rating system, a worker will get two warnings based on customer feedback in relation to work and the mannerism in which it was done. Based on those warnings, he can be removed from the workforce if the issue is not resolved.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2015.