Thanks a lot for the feedback, below our answers to the experts questions.
The first tool being offered in the technical kiosks is a cost-calculation service with detailed project budgeting with material and labour costs. The immediate value proposition to the homeowners in seeking a cost-estimate and other technical expertise is savings and financial planning. More accurate information will help to minimize cost over-runs, validate budgets while applying for financial loans, or tap into one’s savings. Additional tools such as 2D and 3D customized designs led to perceived increase in the future resale value of the unit making it a highly demanded service. The construction project would be broken into phases of construction with graphics/videos embedded that highlight best construction practices for each phase and the essential steps to ensure for safe construction.
For the masons, the expert service would validate their costing and provide technical inputs in a non-patronizing and un-threatening approach. Often the verbal understanding leads to disputes between masons and homeowners. The current cost estimation service –as we learned during our interaction with the customers, is seen as a great system to validate the engagement between masons and its clients (homeowners), . It can help to negotiate contract and act as a form of proof between the two parties. In addition and in future services, training videos will enhance knowledge on construction best practices, enhancing the demand for better qualified masons.
Through the feedback we are currently gathering, we have come to realize that the masons are willing to pay much higher fees than we had initially anticipated, indicating the huge need for such a service in slum communities. Despite this willingness to pay, the scope of the project at this stage is to attract and acquire a large pool of first time users. We are currently studying the revenue models based on value proposition to users and other private sector agencies to determine the pricing. The aim for the project is to incubate an independent social enterprise that in 3 years is financially self-sustainable and thus in a position to invest in R&D and scale.
The suggestion of live trainings has been well received and a key area of feedback from the community interactions. The live training component will be a more deliberate design factor for our partnerships. We will initially select organizations for partnerships that already offer vocational skill training and thereafter could be engaged to provide advise in new locations where kiosks are located and leverage our services/tools.
This is a great initiative and we can see that you've put in a lot of time on this. We have also been developing mobile applications to reach out to low-income masons and have been considering using the medium of internet.org (now Free Basics which has been launched in India just this month). We would love to hear more of your experience with them and if you've been able to reach out to a much larger number of people than before. Also, it would be very helpful to know if your users through internet.org have been people who already had been using internet or new users of smartphones facilitated by the free internet service that internet.org offers. Thanks!
Thanks Kate! Would be great to have a call and learn more about your work. Marco, the co-founder of mHS has already been in contact with Build Change. Let us soon find a way to connect and explore different ways to collaborate.