030 HPM 0517

HPM May 2017

30 SPECIAL REPORT There’s an ‘appy’ thought HPM’s Bethan Grylls speaks to Chris Shepherd, co-founder and CEO of Fixington, There has been a recent proliferation in industry technology, with smart controls and apps leading the way to a more connected and tailored future. HPM speaks to Chris Shepherd, the co-founder and CEO of Fixington, an app designed to help tradespeople organise their paperwork and for customers to find reliable, independant businesses at a moment’s notice. Q. What is Fixington? “Fixington allows customers to book tradespeople online. Independent tradespeople are vetted by us and attached to our system. The app allows customers to instantly book a date, time and project to fix a problem or install something new. “It’s about booking availability here and there, and filling people’s calendars.” Q. How did it all start? Founder, Bruce Greig, is no stranger to the customer services booking industry, having created and operated several before Fixington. Chris met Bruce when he hired Chris to work on another software company for hotels. “We realised there were two big issues,” Chris said. “One: that tradespeople had loads of admin, which they hated, and two: that customers couldn’t book a tradesperson online.” Q. Can you explain these issues? “The problem we’re trying to solve is providing customers with a way to get timely access to really great tradespeople. “There’s lots of websites out there, but there’s nowhere you can get a confirmed date and time. There are sites where you just post projects, but you have to wait for responses. You may get some, you may not. Tradespeople have to pay for those leads as well. “Fixington is a free app which provides installers and customers with the capability to book someone for the next morning, instantly.” Chris explained that it’s not just about availablity though, it’s also about visibility. “If customers search online for a plumber or engineer, all the top ones that appear on the first page are usually busy. “There are hundreds and thousands of fantastically qualified plumbers, heating engineers and electricians that don’t get found. This is because they’re not on the top of the search engines results. “Customers get bored after calling two or three. It’s not the fault of tradespeople, they’ve got buckets of work already. However, we live in an on demand society, and we want everything instantly.” Q. How do customers make bookings with Fixington? Fixington works on the basis of where the customer and tradesperson is based. “As they’re using the app, which has a calendar within it, we know when they’re available. So we assign jobs based on whether they’re available or not. “The customer comes online, they enter their postcode and describe their job, and then we give them an estimated price which is by the hour. “Then the customer enters their card details and that person gets assigned to someone in the area, and details are swapped. The assigned tradesperson then goes out, does the job, and marks it as complete.” “If there’s more than one business available, most of the time it’s based on who is nearest to the customer. However, we do have cases where someone free more, so they tend to pick up a lot of the work. We do try and distribute it, because ultimately we want to keep everyone in engaged.” Q. How does payment work? “Behind the scenes payment is processed from the customer’s card, and that gets transferred straight into the user’s, for example, plumber’s account. We deduct the commission, which is 20%. Eighty per cent will go to the user.” Q. Can the app be used offline? “Lots of apps don’t work without Wi-Fi or 3G/4G, however, Fixington works completely offline. Everything is downloaded to the phone, and it gets uploaded later when you connect back online.” Q. Does the app use a lot of data? “The app is only syncing the changes you make, it’s not downloading your invoice collection every time you open it. So if you’re using it with 3G/4G the data usage is minimal compared to other apps.” Q. What is Fixington’s unique selling point? “Our app is the easiest one to use. The reason being is that many people when creating an app think it has to solve lots of problems. But everything you add into the app is another thing to learn. So every single update we’ve added hasn’t just been adding another feature, it’s just been about making it simpler to use, particularly for new people who are using the app for the first time.” Q. Are apps important in this industry? “I think apps in the world of heating and plumbing are incredibly important. There are tons of utilities Smart controls and apps are leading the way to a more connected and tailored future emerging every day and it just makes access to information so much easier.” Q. Do installers recognise this importance? “I would say that installers don’t recognise the importance of apps. Everyone has a routine, for example, people still create invoices using Word docs because they’ve got a template. They set aside half an hour for tasks like that. But change is great. “It’s always good to just look at the routine and see if you could save your Saturday mornings. If you’re having to recreate the same things over and over again that’s when you may realise that there are some really great apps out there, like Fixington, that can create estimates and invoices for you so much quicker.” Q. What are your thoughts on future technology? “I think everything that you thought would never be computerised or connected will become just that. As things become more advanced, it may become more about specialising in particular aspects.” Perhaps apps will be the future of all business, or maybe a new technology will arise in its place? Who knows, but HPM can’t wait to find out. who aims to create a paperless future for tradespeople www.hpmmag.com May 2017 enquiry number 119


HPM May 2017
To see the actual publication please follow the link above