This portal enables you to create a home by working together virtually
Digitalisation has permeated every aspect of the home – even acquiring, designing and building one! Consider MakeMyHouse.com, the brainchild of Mustafa Johar and Husain Johar, which was launched in 2016 in Indore. The portal enables stakeholders, irrespective of their location, to create a home by working together virtually. Recently recognised by the Madhya Pradesh government as a unique architectural services startup, it has a pan-India reach, has made headway in the Middle East and is now turning its gaze to Europe.
Identifying the needIn India, it is common to see an architect also take charge of acquiring regulatory permissions, managing vendors, keeping track of material suppliers and their bills, managing MEP teams, and more.
Digitalisation has permeated every aspect of the home – even acquiring, designing and building one! Consider MakeMyHouse.com, the brainchild of Mustafa Johar and Husain Johar, which was launched in 2016 in Indore. The portal enables stakeholders, irrespective of their location, to create a home by working together virtually. Recently recognised by the Madhya Pradesh government as a unique architectural services startup, it has a pan-India reach, has made headway in the Middle East and is now turning its gaze to Europe. Identifying the need In India, it is common to see an architect also take charge of acquiring regulatory permissions, managing vendors, keeping track of material suppliers and their bills, managing MEP teams, and more. Similarly, in smaller towns and cities, it is equally natural for a structural engineer to provide a floor plan design or a contractor to make critical engineering decisions or assist in decor choices. This is the primary pain point MakeMyHouse.com intended to tackle, says Husain Johar. “Architects, interior designers and contractors are doing jobs they are not meant to do.” He describes this as a gap, with a hazy understanding of the key areas of responsibility of each individual and people overseeing operations beyond their scope of work. Most landowners in Tier 2 and 3 cities do not have access to qualified professionals such as architects or designers, forcing technical consultants to assume these roles. With technology available to facilitate communication and collaboration, this startup provides a solution. On MakeMyHouse.com, landowners, designers, contractors, material suppliers and manufacturers are all housed in a single ecosystem. To eliminate the ambiguous distribution of responsibilities, the platform creates an assembly line of services with clearly defined scope of work. The assembly line There are individualised profiles for homeowners, designers, suppliers and contractors. Every profile has information on experience, work details and portfolio. Further, it is SEO-friendly so it is easy to search for and interact with professionals and opt for their services. The portal is business-friendly from the professionals’ point of view as well. Interested consumers and potential clients are presented to contractors and designers as leads on the MakeMyHouse.com business app, making it easy for them to seek new projects. The same holds true for suppliers and manufacturers. So, how does the assembly line come together? The process of erecting a house is divided into distinct phases. The first is the drawing phase, where the plan is designed, and the second phase involves getting necessary legal approvals for the designed layout. These two phases involve the architects, designers and plan approval consultants from across the country. Then comes the construction phase. Here, an appropriate, authenticated contractor is selected who is best suited to the project’s specific needs. A client can do this based on the profile details available. In the next phase, suppliers are shortlisted by listing down the materials and products essential for the project as a PO, which is sent out to relevant suppliers in the client’s vicinity. Suppliers send back the PO with their prices quoted, allowing the client to select a supplier compatible with their expectations. The portal is an example of a ‘Service as a Product’ solution. “We are trying to solve a 360° problem in the construction industry through our application,” says Mustafa Johar. The USP Above all, the platform enables accessibility and ease of service. “We provide service in those places where even postal services are not available,” says Mustafa Johar, citing the example of a project in Ladakh that was completed with professionals sourcing their services virtually from Jammu. What’s more, the end-to-end execution of projects is completely transparent. There are constant updates and client approvals sought at every stage: when a layout is finalised, when a contractor is shortlisted, when the PO is drafted and when the supplier is selected. The next step Similar to many other startups, getting started was no cakewalk for MakeMyHouse.com. The most challenging aspect was the lack of awareness. The duo shares that it took a while before their client base had a mature understanding of the semantics of the construction process, the roles and responsibilities of every service provider involved and the potential of technology in helping them collaborate with professionals to build their house. The duo also recognises the need for authentication of the stakeholders involved. Their current model involves interviewing contractors, manufacturers and material providers and authenticating the information provided on their profiles. Their internal teams carry out a background check on the stakeholder, the number of projects executed and team size handled, and gather feedback from previous customers to gauge their quality of work. MakeMyHouse.com has a streamlined collaboration model for architects and designers and is now working on a beta version of a collaboration model that caters to contractors and suppliers on the platform. The wireframes also include concepts for offering real-time updates on the stage-wise progress of every phase of the construction process. As they work on creating a mature product to approach investors with, Mustafa and Husain share their vision: “Until now, we have focused on our technology, platform and product. Now we are trying to reach the next level. MakeMyHouse.com must look to provide architectural and design services within each part of India as well as outside India.” To achieve this scalability, they acknowledge that their key challenges are huge operational costs, the need for stronger technology and recognisable branding. Ultimately, for the co-founders, the key to their success – present and future – in successfully selling a service online is “belief”. As Mustafa Johar tells us, “First, we have to believe in our product and the services we provide. It is only then can we get our customers to believe.” FACT FILE: No. of complete projects: 15,000+ Customers: 14,000+ Employees: 150+ Footprint: 1,200+ cities Current turnover: Rs 11 crore