1. Why are you building this startup? What does it do?
Having experienced the risks and uncertainties of building a house, we identified an opportunity in the market to facilitate connecting tradesmen to customers in house renovation and home improvement market. RoomForImprovement.com.au (RFI) aims to mitigate the risks and the role of “luck” in finding the right professional for house improvement projects.
RFI has a very easy and simple process. House owners/renovators post an ad (project) on RFI stating what needs to be done and their requirements (Timeline, location, etc). Tradesmen registered on the website get notified by RFI so they can review the ad and bid on it. Customers then pick the right bidder (tradie) based on the proposed price, tradie’s reputation and reviews, and a portfolio of their previous projects.
This will not only help the customers get more competitive prices in a transparent environment, but also assists businesses in the renovation industry to find jobs online rather than relying on word of mouth. RFI helps local Businesses get recognised for their commitment, quality of work, and competitiveness.
2. What does a product marketing team need to understand from engineering about how to sell the product?
RFI follows the business model of connecting service providers to service seekers in the specific field of house building/renovation.
Customers enjoy competitive prices, luxury of having tradies bid on their projects and not the other way around and last but not least choosing the tradesmen with the right quality of work.
Tradesmen will be able to showcase their previous work, build their online reputation that should place them highly in the eye of customers and having the benefit of getting leads online.
The website is also very modern looking and easy to use.
3.What impact or legacy do you hope to make in the market and in the business world?
Our vision at RFI is to change the way people do business in the house renovation sector. The process of house renovation should be smooth, easy, and risk-free. Customers should have the full confidence when signing up with a local business to renovate their house. RFI can save customers lots of time in finding the right business for their project.
It is also part of RFI’s objectives to help and reward local businesses for quality of their work. We hope to make RFI a platform that promotes quality, customer-service, and competitiveness in the house-renovation industry.
4. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start a business in your country?
Australia is a country full of opportunities. We have a great legal system that protects rights of service providers and consumers, and ensures a competitive and open market. There is also a high penetration of Internet and connected devices, which increase the reach of any internet-based solution.
User expectations, on the other hand, are fairly high which makes the initial customer acquisition hard. Products need to have a high quality that appeals to customers, and they should comply with all relevant rules and regulations.
5. How do you work with investors, or do you currently use any outside money at all?
Currently, RFI is a private business and developed by the founder’s financial capacity with the help of Microsoft for tooling and SAAS. Once initial targets are achieved, we might seek funding to take the platform to the next step.
6. Why would an entrepreneur turn to Microsoft for help in building scale, a team, or using software?
We are very pleased to have Microsoft BizSpark's subscription, (for which our application was approved in a matter of hours). It has helped us eliminate the risk of investing lots of cash in tooling, software and cloud services in the seminal stages (where funds tend to be the most scarce). This has helped us to stay focussed on the task of creating a better product. Once the product is ready to be presented to the outside world, Microsoft has assisted us with market penetration and getting traction. All of these significantly increase the chance of succeeding. We don’t know any other organisation that provides all of this in one place, free of charge!