Where to find Mr Fix-it

IDWork is using technology to empower independent tradesmen

21 July 2016 - 07:52 By Poppy Louw

A South African online platform aimed at professionalising the informal home service industry has been named as the country’s top start-up.

For a year-and-a-half, IDWork has linked more than 1000 Gauteng homeowners to 100 skilled, experienced, professional and affordable tradesmen.

According to the platform’s website, skilled, experienced and professional service providers were not able to distinguish themselves in the public eye.

The creators of IDWork believe that tradesmen’s inability to stand out from the crowd robbed them of the dignity of a professional record.

Arjun Khoosal, otherwise known as “the tech guy”, said: “Homeowners who are unable to find these service providers make an ill-informed decision and end up frustrated because they used the wrong person.

“We’re changing that, leveraging the power of technology and the internet.”

Khoosal’s partners are Sayo Folawiyo, who handles the business side of things, and Lucas du Toit, who takes care of operations.

The tradesmen recommended by others to be featured on the platform go through a comprehensive vetting process, including the verification of details, references, experience and a criminal check.

IDWork tradesmen include plumbers, builders, electricians, painters, carpenters, pool specialists, security specialists and so on. They do maintenance and renovation work.

The platform allows homeowners to read reviews of the tradesmen’s past work, hire them, manage projects and pay them on the website.

“We are using technology to empower independent informal service providers.

“Empowered service providers make for happy customers as they provide a more personable, cost-efficient service.

“We are making it easy and more convenient for people to support small local businesses,” said Folawiyo.

While informal service providers are often ignored, IDWork has been able to make use of them and has become good at identifying untapped talent.

The young company will represent South Africa at the Seedstars Summit in Switzerland in April, when over 70 start-ups from around the world will compete for $1-million (about R14-million) in equity investment.

South Africa start-up Giraffe won the global competition last year, beating 64 entrants from 54 countries. Giraffe is a mobile platform that helps people find work.

Khoosal said the title of top start-up was a welcome reminder that they were on the right track, because they had thrown everything into the venture.