Whether you want a plumber to fix the leaking pipe in your kitchen or do a million naira kitchen cabinet makeover, you need a lot of prayers after finding the cash to pay. Everyone tries to get some assurance from previous customers on reality and quality of work. Yet, disasters abound – from the carpenter who runs away after getting the deposit to the tiller who lays premium Italian tiles so shoddily you ponder if it’s mentally healthier to remove the eyesore than live with the ruins. Worse sometimes happen. An electrician killed the managing director of a multinational company in Lagos after gaining access to his home to fix electric faults.
Alpha Mead Call2fix
Alpha Mead Facilities, a subsidiary of Alpha Mead Group, a leading real estate company in Africa, has launched Call2Fix, an app that provides an electronic platform to search and contract competent artisans. The app is meant to solve the age old economic and security problems involved in hiring artisans. Homeowners and office administrators can with a few clicks on Call2Fix access a deep pool of artisans and handymen to provide a variety of building repairs and maintenance services, including cleaning, swimming pool maintenance, gaining, electrical appliances repairs, relocation and others. To deliver the promise of quality and reliability, Alpha Mead has trained over 1,000 artisans who are registered on Call2Fix. Users of the app can assess the quality of the service delivered on the app, thus providing a very reliable evidence of expertise and track record. This provides a powerful incentive for artisans to deliver excellent jobs. Call2Fix also has an e-commerce element; building materials can be bought and rented on the app. Users open and load cash into a wallet on the app, so all transactions are done on the app.
Works just like Uber
Before Uber, rickety and dirty Lagos taxis charged commuters a fortune. After Uber arrived, clean air-conditioned taxis charged about 30% less and eliminated the need to haggle. Alpha Mead’s Call2Fix aims to bring similar disruption to hiring artisans for home maintenance and repairs. Users of the app will be connected to the artisan closest to them when they make a service request. Personal details of the assigned artisan, including pictures, will be sent to the customer which will be used to verify the artisan’s identity on arrival at the job site. The artisan on arrival will inspect and scope the job and raise a quote. The artisan executes after the customer approves the quote and the system deducts the fee from the customer’s wallet on completion. The customer rates the quality of work after completion. Materials required can be bought in the app’s marketplace. Building materials sellers register and display their wares on the app’s marketplace. Call2Fix brings considerable transparency to artisan fees as the artisans are aware the customer can obtain a competitive quote with a few taps. This protects against arbitrary or haphazard fees. Customers are also protected against the inflation of the price of materials because they could check out prices in Call2Fix marketplace. When they buy in the market place, customers are also protected from buying fake or substandard materials.
The artisans and handymen on Call2Fix have not only been trained, they have also been screened and cleared for security purposes. Important background details such as names, address, pictures and employment records have been verified.
A boom to jobs creation and the economy
According to an academic study, over 19.09 % of “finishes” work by Nigerian artisans require rework i.e. have to be redone because they do not meet customer satisfaction or specifications in contract documentation. This represents an enormous waste of time, materials and money reinvested in rework to meet specification. And the problem is definitely much greater because the study surveyed mainly builders in the formal or commercial sector rather than households or firms carrying out modest construction or maintenance works. Nigerians have just learnt to live with the poor quality when they cannot import better trained and more conscientious artisans from neighbouring countries like Ghana and Togo.
It has also been found that Nigerians have over the last five years invested less in repairing or maintaining their offices and homes, a trend partly influenced by the disappointment they experience when artisans do not deliver the expected improvement. Alpha Mead Call2Fix will boost enthusiasm for and investment in repair and maintenance as Nigerians discover artisans who can deliver jobs at a high standard. It will also contribute to job creation as young Nigerians discover a busy market for good quality artisanal work and enjoy the opportunities to increase transactions and leverage on the improved awareness of maintenance culture Call2Fix will stimulate.
About Alpha Mead
Alpha Mead Group (AMG) is a leading Total Real Estate Solutions Company. Founded in 2006, the company has established a diversified business that manages over 120 sites all over Nigeria. It has operations in 11 other African countries.
Alpha Mead’s leadership in the real estate and facility management sectors has been recognized over the years with national and international awards such as Next Bull Award, 2019 by the Nigerian Stock Exchange & Business Day Newspapers, Best FM Company, 2017, EMEA and Best FM Company, 2014, by European CEO and Entrepreneur of the Year (Emerging Category), 2013 by Ernst & Young. Alpha Mead was recognized in 2019 as an Africa Company to Inspire Africa by the London Stock Exchange Group. Shell Petroleum Development Corporation also recognized Alpha Mead as having the Best HSE (Health Safety and Environment) practices amongst its suppliers in 2007. Alpha Mead employs over 2,000 people across Africa.