After earning a degree in company management from the Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH) in 2006, pursuing a successful financial products development career at MTS and having a child, Anastasia Volkova from Moscow with her friend Irina Baryshnikova launched an unusual service, Juhuu!, which helps clients find providers of services such as moving, warehousing and disposal of furniture and household appliances.
In 2017, Anastasia went on maternity leave. But after three months, in January 2018, she felt parenting was not really enough. So she began thinking what else she could do and where she could apply her energy and not get bogged down in household trifles. The first idea that came to her mind was to open a rentals platform. Market analysis confirmed that, unlike offers for sale or exchange, this type of service was not yet very popular. Together with her friend Irina, she launched a group on social media, but the project did not enjoy demand. So Anastasia began to consider other services she could offer clients.
The young women decided to expand the list of services. Every day people in a big city like Moscow need to order dozens of various services. Finding a good service provider takes time and painstaking effort – you browse websites, compare conditions and prices and look though customer reviews to find a company that will do exactly what you need at a reasonable price.
This is how the idea was born to create a platform to help clients find contractors that would meet their requirements.
Anastasia and Irina had years of experience in searching for services on the internet. They knew how to quickly find exactly what they need and how to pick the best option by conditions, terms, and discounts. They decided to turn this skill into a business idea and launched the Juhuu! concierge service – a website that selects the service provider for whatever its clients need done.
The young women act as mediators between customers and vendors. Clients fill out an online form and specify their requests. Anastasia and Irina suggest a company that suits these requests. If a client is not satisfied, search continues.
As a result, the message board for users who want to sell, trade or rent their items is the one remaining part of the initial concept of the website. However, it is only a smart part of available services. Currently, the website offers services of searching for storage facilities in a convenient location, furniture and equipment recycling companies or vans for hire. Organizing space is another, unconventional, service. A consultant will come to your home and help you to sort out belongings and use room efficiently.
“We have a pool of partners. We forward our customers’ requests to one of them and it sends back a quote. If our customer does not agree with the quote we get in touch with another partner and continue our search until our customer is satisfied. Usually it takes three offers,” Anastasia Volkova explained.
Charity is another trend. In big cities, many people are willing to give away their things in good condition to those in need but they don’t always know how to do it. Anastasia and Irina cooperate with a charity foundation that collects items and finds new owners for them.
The services are free for website customers. The company profits from commission paid by partners for attracting clients. Juhuu! has five partners for every type of work and uses all means to expand its database by looking online, calling companies directly or meeting with their representatives.
At first, Anastasia and Irina thought that their service would be popular mostly with women.
“We thought that women are more often engaged in organizational issues, and they will search for contractors, but it seems that we were mistaken,” Anastasia said.
The website target audience is active men of 30-45 years of age. They are ready to order services from specialized companies, but they have no time to search for a better option. Therefore they welcomed the opportunity to use the service. At the moment, Anastasia and Irina manage the service together. Nastya is responsible for promotion, advertising and development. Irina is engaged in accepting and processing of applications, networking with partners and clients. If needed, the young women can easily cover for each other because they both know what the other one does.
The young women did not want to take a loan to implement their plans, so they used the money they received for the maternity leave: some RUR 300K ($4.6K). According to preliminary calculation, the project will pay off in about nine months. Anastasia and Irina have managed so far to avoid taking loans and they hope that they will not have to do it. They did their best to minimize expenses. For instance, they work from home and do not rent an office. They spend the most on Yandex advertising. They also use crowd marketing and recently posted a video on Facebook and Instagram. On average, there are 100-150 applications filed via Juhuu! each month.
“We are not a bulletin board. We had one on the website as part of the concept of helping people get rid of unused items. We are a service that helps busy people save their time on searching contractors. Clients give us a task and continue doing their own business. We do the rest. Clients are only required to pick a service provider they like. There are no competitors and no similar offers, which makes our service one-of-a-kind,” Anastasia said.
By Christina Firsova