SERVICE BEGINS AT HOME
Fortune India|April 2021
HOME AND SALON SERVICES PROVIDER URBAN COMPANY’S REVENUES DROPPED TO NEARLY ZERO DURING THE LOCKDOWN. BUT, NOW, BUSINESS IS BOOMING. IT HAS SINCE SERVED 5 MILLION CUSTOMERS, AND HAS ITS EYES SET ON AN IPO IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS.
ARNIKA THAKUR

BAKING BANANA BREAD and making dalgona coffee weren’t the only skills people acquired during the pandemic-induced lockdown last year. Some also learnt to cut and colour their hair, while others got proficient at waxing their legs. The novelty of this ‘home salon’ was bound to wear off, however, especially once the restrictions ended. And waiting to provide these services—in the safety of people’s homes—was Urban Company, which knew that not everyone would be rushing to salons while the pandemic was still a real threat.

In preparation for this impending demand, the home and salon services company, which was down to nearly zero business in March and April, spent the lockdown aggressively hiring new service professionals—primarily air conditioner technicians, but also barbers and beauticians—and retaining the existing staff. They were trained in the strictest safety rules, equipped with PPE kits, and provided the necessary support to be ready for when the lockdown was lifted.

The planning paid off. The company claims to have serviced over 5 million customers in the last one year and expanded its presence to 30 cities across India, and to countries like Australia, Singapore, and the U.A.E. “When the rest of the ecosystem around us was playing defensive, we wanted to play offensive,” Abhiraj Bhal, co-founder, Urban Company, tells Fortune India. “We were quite aggressive in investing in safety and hygiene, and in communicating it to consumers. By July-August, [our business] was already at 100% of pre-Covid-19 levels. As of January, it is at almost 150%.”

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