The West Australian, 24 March 2017 7:04AM
A Perth-based start-up that offers an Uber-style app to connect customers with qualified tradesmen is raising $1 million to expand its operations throughout Australia.
The free iOS and Android Jak app was developed by local entrepreneur Trevor Pugh, along with Kim Mackey and Ross Bond of West Coast Construction and Demolition.
Jak connects customers with qualified tradesmen for repairs and maintenance at the swipe of a finger, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Initial privately raised seed capital of $300,000 enabled the app to be launched in Perth and Melbourne last year.
The founders will expand the app to NSW within weeks and Queensland within the next three months.
The app will then be rolled out further afield in Australia.
In WA the service has extended throughout Perth and as far south as Bunbury and will be rolled out to other regional centres over time.
More than 200 service providers have signed up to Jak in Perth, including plumbing and gas specialists, locksmiths, glaziers and electricians. Jak ensures every service provider is qualified, police-cleared and insurance-checked. A fixed service rate, set by Jak, is advertised in advance.
Tradesmen on Jak do not pay a membership or subscription fee — rather a service fee is paid on completing a job.
Mr Pugh said to ensure quality of service is upheld, customers are asked to rate their tradesman’s service once the job is done.
“Of particular appeal for some would be the ability to track the arrival time of the tradesman, reducing the frustrating need to wait around,” he said.
Mr Pugh said a customer base of households, property managers and small businesses, including a retail group with stores Australia wide, were using the app.
He said traction from small businesses had been particularly strong.
“In the past if someone has needed repairs, in many cases they’ve had to Google, or turn to the yellow pages or local rag,” he said.
“Now they can quickly find available and reliable service providers, all vetted by us in advance — and can know exactly when that help will be arriving.”