Their aim is to “make your every cleanup a pleasant, hassle-free experience.” And owing to a strong feeling of social responsibility, the team of Hammer and Mop work in collaboration with NGOs to bring the less privileged into their fold and give them sustainable sources of income. Still into their first year, and incubated by L-pad and supported by a number of private investors, Hammer & Mop™ is a fast-growing home and commercial service provider with a sincere focus on customer value. When we caught up with Sushrut Munje, we discovered that he is yet another engineering dropout who “quit the course because I didn’t want to do it for the heck of it”. He had been bit by the entrepreneur bug during his internship at BARC, and was soon ready to partner with Ashish, a practicing dentist and a graphic designer, to start Hammer and Mop. Read on snippets of that interview: What made you start Hammer & Mop? Hammer & Mop launched off as a specialist in cleaning services for residences. It was born as a concept way back in Feb 2011. It took us time to really grasp what we’ll need to take off and it took some more time to get the right people together, till we officially launched in October 2011. The idea clicked when we saw dirty, dusty homes and busy people all around us. It was a need that we believed we could fulfill. What are your service offerings? We currently provide one-time and periodic cleaning services to residential and commercial properties. One-time packages like After-Party, Moving-In and Essential have been very popular. Clients have also appreciated customized bespoke offerings for periodic cleanups, because we create a package keeping clients’ requirements in mind. What have been your greatest challenges so far? Finding manpower and empowering them to deliver is a major challenge we face, because it takes up a lot of time and energy. Funds have also been a slight concern at times during our bootstrapped 9 months of existence, but immediate pay cycles came to our rescue.
How do you perceive the current environment for your services in India? We see it as healthy and open for growth. While manpower still is a concern (primarily because of social ills and ignorance), our target segment of clients is willing to pay for higher quality of work. Rising middle class numbers, the rise in disposable incomes and boost in client expectations favour us. How has technology helped in your regular operations? Or expansion strategies? Technology has helped us streamline operations, schedules and has played a key role in organizing communication between mobile teams. We use industry standard equipment (along with microfiber cloths & mops) which provides better results. As we work on scaling up and upgrading our inventory, we look forward to add up an ERP software and include some of the latest cleaning machines which would make us faster and cleaner. What has been your mantra for customer satisfaction? What has been your strategy to increase the customer base? We teach our cleaning teams to ‘Empathize First’. Understanding our clients plays key to doing a great cleanup in their space. We are focused on customization, high quality standards, establishing great communication channels and lasting relationships. Our clients look for someone who is smart, accessible, can empathise and understand their business and their choices. Since we’re genuinely interested in doing a great job, it gets us an entry into good networks. Most of our business is generated through referrals and personal introductions. What has been your learning from your business operations? What would be your advice to those who want to start their own business? ● Execution ● Givers Gain ● Empathy Execution of plans and getting your hands dirty teaches you more about your business than anything else. Building networks, nurturing relationships and genuinely adding value to other businesses (and lives) helps in the long run. And empathy (for your employees and clients) is of prime importance for a successful business. As an advice to other entrepreneurs who are looking to start up- I’d like to quote Brian Wong, the Founder & CEO of ‘kiip’. Never forget, in spite of failure right before your eyes, that “You are the most powerful force in your life”. Make your every cleanup a pleasant, hassle-free experience www.hammerandmop.com