Plugging a gap in the market

Plugging a gap in the market

Fixington, an online booking service looking to revolutionise the way tradespeople go around their day-to-day work, is set for further growth after securing the backing of almost 5,000 independent businesses across the UK.

Winchester-based Fixington, founded only 18 months ago, is an online booking service for tradespeople which is already being used by almost 5,000 independent companies around the UK.

The app gives tradespeople the ability to share their availability with the app’s users to make the process of hiring a tradesperson a much easier task.

The duo behind the company, Bruce Greig and Chris Shepherd, boast years of experience in the software industry and are confident about the company’s future.

“You can book almost anything online except for a plumber. You can book your holiday, a restaurant table, a takeaway, a taxi and a haircut. But not a plumber,” Greig told BQ.

“You might find a website which puts you in touch with a plumber, but you still have to play phone-tag to book them. And you’ll probably have to pay them by cheque or cash.

“And look at it from the service providers point of view: restaurant owners, taxi drivers and beauticians can now rely on a steady stream of bookings over the internet.

“Not so for tradespeople: they still have to scrabble around scheduling jobs, calling people back and doing their own local marketing. That’s really inefficient and keeps tradespeople away from what they like doing best: fixing stuff.

“All this needs to change. Whoever fixes this problem will have a very large business, and will have solved a huge problem for both tradespeople and householders. We want to be that business.”

Having already secured the backing of thousands of tradespeople across the UK, the duo decided to launch a crowdfunding last month to help grow and scale the business.

After only 30 days, 91 investors had backed the campaign at the time of writing (27 June) raising a total of £241,914 out of the £250,004 sought by the company.

Shepherd added: “Following the campaign we’re looking to launch fully in a few key towns, as well as enabling more of our existing tradespeople to receive instant bookings.

“Making ourselves indispensable early on in those controlled areas will make our model easier to roll out into other areas of the UK and onwards.

“In three years , we want to be the first place where people think of to book expert help to maintain and improve their homes, and ultimately keep tradespeople busy with the work that they love.

“We want to be indispensable for tradespeople with a system and platform that helps them handle all their paperwork, but also fills their schedule with local work whenever they need it most.”

When asked what advice he’d give to a small business looking to emulate their success, he said: “In the early stages, always look to refine and test your proposition to customers and investors.

“You won’t nail it first time, and what you thought was an opportunity will change when you work through the details.

“By constantly testing and pitching to people, as well as being open to the response, you’ll get it to something that will really resonate with people.

“Having an early product available helps people understand, give feedback on, and ultimately helps get you to a refined solution and vision for whatever you’re creating.”

BQ will continue to cover the Fixington story as the company continues to grow.