Next time the toilet backs up, have the plumber call you. With SevaCall.com, a new site that connects customers with local services, you can type in a request online and get a call from a plumber -- or handyman, maid, landscaper or locksmith -- in 90 seconds.
"Seva," pronounced "say-va," is "service" in Sanskrit. It also sounds like "save a call," co-founder Manpreet Singh says -- which is exactly what the company aims to do.
Singh came up with the idea while at Wharton earning his MBA. His brother, Gurpreet, also a co-founder, owned computer-repair company Geeks On-site. Gurpreet got so many requests he kept having to turn customers down.
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"He would be booked with another job, or it was a job he didn't do or location he didn't service, and the consumers were frustrated. They didn't want to spend time making call after call to find the right person," Singh says. "So I thought, there has to be a better way to find local professionals."
The company launched in the Washington, D.C., area, where the brothers now live, and just expanded to Philly -- a city with plenty of need for emergency home repair. "When I was in business school there, a lot of us lived in row houses, and they constantly had issues that needed to be fixed," says Singh.
So when the heater starts acting up, all you need to do is select a category from a drop-down menu, indicate if you want service right away (broken toilet) or another time (landscaping) and write a sentence or two describing what you need. In under two minutes, you'll get a call from someone nearby who knows what the problem is and is ready, willing and able to tackle it. "Instead of reading reviews, deciding who to work with, calling and getting voicemail or people who can't help, we allow the consumer to choose from high-quality companies who already know what you want, and want to help you," Singh says. "It makes the whole process simple and easy."
Check the ratings
Seva Call doesn’t officially guarantee the quality of the companies who will call, but it does use an algorithm that evaluates them based on ratings and reviews on sites like Yelp and Citysearch, plus Seva Call’s own history of doing business with them.
There’s an app for that
Seva Call is rolling out a mobile app for iPhone and Android, so customers can place a request right from their phones. The app will use voice recognition technology, Siri-style.