Finding good freelancers or service providers in Nepal has always been a tough challenge, especially for those without any connections.
We are all aware that everything in Nepal is going digital, and product-oriented platforms are becoming more common in the Nepali market, yet all-in-one service-oriented platforms are relatively unknown.
This requires us to find the professionals we need through a middleman in the traditional way, which is equally difficult. Even after finding one, we would have no way of knowing how good of a service the provider would provide.
These are the common problems many Nepalis are facing today. The situation was exacerbated during the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To solve this problem, a group of six people mostly from business backgrounds founded Book Gara. It’s a platform that allows both service providers and service seekers to connect easily in a professional and standard manner.
Using the platform, anyone can book vendors or freelancers for any specific job they need done. The services can range from basic home services such as maid service, plumbing, pandit service (Hindu priest), and electrician to doctors, website/app developers, cinematographers, photographers, and any other specific job.
The goal of the platform is to standardize the middleman in every industry. Book Gara already has over 3,000 vendors and over 10,000 services listed on the site, and it is expanding.
Story Behind Book Gara
As mentioned above, the company, Book Gara Pvt. Ltd., was started by a total of six co-founders. The co-founders are Robin Sharma, Saurav Gurung, Sisan Baniya, Anup Sharma, Shyam Agrawal, and Gaurav Tiwari. All of the co-founders come from a business background, with the exception of Sisan Baniya, who is a media personality.
Although the domain “bookgara.com” was registered in 2017, actual work did not begin before the first lockdown in March 2020. When everyone was home during the lockdown, the Book Gara co-founders realized that the kind of platform they had imagined back in 2017 was now more important than ever in Nepal.
They then spent the following year planning how to make the platform a reality. And finally, in December 2021, the website went live. Currently, the website is in beta, and the company hopes to launch the final version in 2022, along with the mobile applications.
Making it Easier for Both Parties
As per Robin Sharma, co-founder of Book Gara, the platform tries to make sure the consumer gets the highest quality service at the lowest possible price.
The consumer can compare the prices of the service from different vendors or freelancers and also look for reviews to get an idea of the work history of the service provider.
This can assist consumers in selecting the best service provider as per their requirements. The platform also acts as a third-party guarantor, making things easier for service providers. Service providers not receiving payment according to the original agreement is a common problem in Nepal’s service industry.
To solve this common payment issue in Nepal, Book Gara has implemented a policy in which the platform holds the money until the work is finished and then pays the service provider. This ensures that service providers are paid in accordance with the terms of their contract.
Additionally, not only does the platform allow customers to write reviews for service providers, but it also allows service providers to leave reviews on client profiles, creating a community in which both sides are held accountable.
Ensuring the Experience is Great
According to Book Gara, the team verifies every service provider listed on the platform. The company said it only approves a vendor following the verification process, which includes talking with them, reviewing legal papers, and visiting them.
Book Gara also tries to make sure that all services and replacement parts required by the service have a standard price that is fair to all Nepalis. If a visit is required prior to quoting a price, it is provided free of charge by the platform to the customer.
Even after the vendor visits the site, Book Gara assures the customer that they are not compelled to pay anything until they decide to proceed with the job.
The only revenue source at the moment for the company is a flat 10% charge of the total service it takes from the vendor.
“We are planning to burn the money and build the community. We are not looking into the revenue side much because I know if there are enough users who are willing to use our platform, there will be revenue that could be made through ads or commission. Therefore, our main goal for now is to make the platform good and trustworthy.”
— Robin Sharma, Co-Founder, Book Gara
According to Book Gara, the revenue model might change in the future, but for now, they are more concerned with customers trusting the platform and having a positive experience than with revenue.
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