“More than 70% of the lifecycle of any building is in maintenance.”
AMG is a Total Real Estate Solutions company that provides facilities management (FM), Real Estate development, training, warehousing and logistics services, amongst others. It is the first FM company in Nigeria to be certified to international standards — ISO 9001: 2015.
Several research papers on the building maintenance culture in Nigeria serve to corroborate Akintude’s words. They also highlight the country’s failure in this regard.
A 2018 research paper done by the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, revealed that 80% of the buildings on campus required maintenance. To persons familiar with the system, these numbers would not come as a surprise.
Alpha Mead hopes to solve this problem, and after almost 36 months of research, the company has officially launched its Call2Fix app.
According to Akintude, the app was developed to address the challenges involved in home management and maintenance.
While expanding on why access to these services should not be the exclusive preserve of the affluent, he says the goal of this initiative is to “continuously connect people and organisations in need of these services with trained artisans or material suppliers from the comfort of their mobile devices.”
Recognising the emergence of the proptech industry in Nigeria, Akintude says the company is leveraging its existing processes and systems with technology as the nexus between these operations.
Sesan Ogunyooye, Head of Marketing, AMG, noted six pain points in the FM sector: low-level artisan skills, increasing safety and insecurity concerns, unprofessional conducts, highly manual and human-led, largely informal and concentrated in the B2B space, and a less than 0.01% contribution to Nigeria’s GDP.
To solve these problems, the company has four value propositions: reliability, security, convenience, and accountability.
With the motto, “You call, we fix,” Ogunyooye calls the app “a ride-hailing service, but for home management.” Like the popular Uber app, with Call2Fix, you can find technicians close to you, and they are rated using a 5-star system based on customer recommendations.
Downloading the app is free, and so is creating an account. You can choose to open several at once, depending on if you want to be a customer, service provider, materials supplier, or all.
There’s also the enterprise account option, which enables organisations to give employees admin rights for all their requests and maintenance concerns.
As a customer, you can state your needs via the app or call the company. You also have the option of using the video and visual features to relay what needs fixing. Once you make your request, an artisan is assigned to you.
For service providers, you have to be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) with at least a business name. You must also have a bank account under your business name.
All artisans under a service provider are subjected to background checks. When a customer reports an artisan, they are immediately blacklisted, investigated and perhaps, let go.
There’s also a marketplace where you can purchase materials directly through the app. So, for example, you can rent ladders or buy a PVC pipe without leaving your home. To prevent overpricing, you make payments via the app and not to the artisan. When your problem has been evaluated, you can choose between five quotes. What this does is give you a range of choices depending on your pocket.
Interestingly, customers might get access to loans to purchase items and pay for services. However, Ogunyooye says the feature is still in beta mode.
For convenience, you can reschedule appointments. You can also create a requester account that a family member or domestic help can access.
According to Ogunyooye, the company plans to organise training for artisans. An endeavour not new to the company has previously partnered with the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board to teach soft skills.
This aligns with AMG’s goal to use Call2Fix to unlock the economic potentials within the FM industry for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Real Estate sector.
Currently, the company is present only in Lagos, but Ogunyooye revealed that over the next three months, Call2Fix would expand into major cities in Nigeria.
There are also plans to expand to other African countries where Alpha Mead’s services are available. A “plug and play”, so to speak.
The ultimate goal is to own the largest market share in the FM industry.