Saudi Arabia - Amerni is an app founded by Saudi youth to tackle the home maintenance sector and the problem of inconsistent rates.
The unsystematic means of finding repairmen and lack of standard led a team of five Saudis to fill the gap by designing an on-demand service with fixed prices.
Whether an A/C needs to be fixed, a plumbing problem needs to be resolved, or any of the common problems that occur in maintenance, clients can skip the hassle of searching for repairmen and haggling prices.
Clients from households, offices and businesses can order services online from a range of services including electricity, plumbing, A/C and custom jobs.
The idea for ordering maintenance on-demand is not new, as a number of local apps have already penetrated the domestic maintenance market. "Our competitive advantage is in the fixed prices offered for the services," says founder Rayan Alsharif. "The problem with freelancers or other companies is they charge clients according to the size of their house or other factors."
Operating on a geo-location delivery service, a 30-day guarantee is given after an order takes place in addition to direct supervision on orders to maintain customer satisfaction.
Like many startups digitally disrupting traditional businesses, Amerni adopts the sharing economy model where it collaborates with service providers and clients can rate individuals.
"Our service providers are mainly well-known maintenance companies that are trying to diversify their client base," says Alsharif. "Those companies usually hold large annual contracts with their clients, but as businesses have slowed down with the economy, they are trying to cater to households and are willing to take smaller clients for an on-demand service. That’s the reason why we don’t contract with individual labor as we try to maintain a certain set of skills and standards."
It’s a traditional and old sector but there remains a lack of Saudis working in it, he adds. "We try to create opportunities for Saudis by offering them a chance to work with us.
Saudis recruited by Amerni are technicians certified by the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation.
Asked why the startup decided to choose an app as their platform, the team members agree that the use of mobile is widely used in the Kingdom, as "it’s the easiest way and faster method today to demand services."
The mobile broadband market continues to gain momentum in Saudi Arabia.
The total number of mobile subscriptions recently reached 44 million with a penetration rate of 137%, according to the Ministry of Communications and IT. The total number of mobile broadband subscriptions reached over 25 million by mid-2017, representing a penetration rate of 79.6%.
The app currently operates in Jeddah and is set to expand in the Eastern Province by the beginning of next year.
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