Cuts to Handy’s Funding Lead to Change of Direction and Greater Profitability
Handy co-founders, Oisin Hanrahan and Umang Dua, developed an idea for a startup from living with their messy roommate in college. They saw a need in the marketplace for on-demand cleaning, and they immediately set to work creating their start-up. In addition to building their company, they successfully raised capital in order to fuel rapid growth. There was, however, a problem that the founders could not see with this approach.
In the early days of the company, there was no shortage of investors willing to provide cash to facilitate their rise, and the focus on whether they were successful lay not with profitability but with expansion. In early 2016, there began to be doubts as to whether Handy would receive further funding from underwriters, shifting the company’s methodology from growth to profitability.
Handy had employed customer service representatives to handle bookings and had employed mass-marketing techniques to get the word out about their services (https://www.handy.com/services). While it did result in an immediate interest in having hired help, the company had to cancel a great deal of these engagements due to a lack of infrastructure and because they did not have the employees necessary to complete the work. This resulted in negative reviews online and in Handy having to discontinue their complaint line.
After it became obvious that the company needed to change direction, Handy took a number of steps to improve the service that they offer. First, they let go of a significant chunk of their service representatives and used an automated system to handle bookings. Then they worked on having enough cleaning professionals in place to handle consumer demand. As the quality of their offering increased, review ratings went up and customer satisfaction soared. The company became more profitable, their dependence on funding diminished, they were able to cut costs, and they saw growth as a result.