Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hello! My name is Debendra Prasad. I'm the founder of Creatisoul a web development and digital marketing company, and AssureShift, an online moving companies directory for finding nearby professional packers and movers in Delhi and other metro cities.
I'm into Web Development, Web Designing, Digital Marketing, and Business Planning since 2012. From the beginning, I always wanted to create useful solutions that made people's lives better, and with the help of which they were able to overcome major challenges.
I started Creatisoul, a Web Design, Development, and Digital Marketing Company, in 2014 intending to deliver customized web solutions for start-ups. We analyze business requirements, plan strategies for their online presence and deliver the best within their budget.
With that, we also work on our in-house projects like AssureShift, which acts as a bridge between relocation service providers and customers. We verify packers' and movers' registration documents and past performance history before making their profiles available to customers.
We have a strong network of more than 700-800 packers and movers under our wing, and they are spread across various cities in India. We have extended our reach to moving companies as well as customers from major metro cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, and others to tier-2 cities like Thane, Noida, Navi Mumbai, Patna, Nagpur, and so on.
We have successfully served more than 50,000 customers across approximately 23 cities in the country to date. We plan on expanding our reach to smaller cities where relocation services are currently absent. On average, we earn a yearly revenue of approximately 1 Cr ($250K).
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
In 2012 I started working as a freelancer in business planning, website design and development, and internet marketing in West Bengal. In 2014, I moved to Bangalore and founded Creatisoul. Under the roof of Creatisoul, we served many clients in Education, Real Estate, NGOs, Insurance, Catering, and the Packing-Moving Industry.
We have a strong network of more than 700-800 packers and we have successfully served more than 50,000 customers across approximately 23 cities.
While working for the packers movers industry, we noticed that customers were mainly impacted by fake and unprofessional moving companies. Once we delved deeper into the industry, we found many loopholes and high levels of disorganization.
After proper research, we found that the absence of an authoritative body was the root cause. That's when we had the idea that the only way to tackle this problem was to set up a private verification body that can confirm the moving company's legal status before allowing them to interact with customers. Hence, we started building AssureShift in 2016 and launched our operations in early 2017.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
By working for the relocation industry, I got to know about the problems and opportunities in the sector. The people's biggest concern is to find reliable moving companies within their budget who would be also near to their place.
However, many people don’t have the necessary knowledge about what details to check and how to verify moving company documents to make sure they hire a reliable and capable relocation service provider. Because of this, most people end up hiring newly established amateur movers who have no idea how to carry out relocation services, or they may fall into the trap of fraud companies who often quote extremely cheap cost estimates.
Either way, people end up facing major losses in terms of money, the safety of belongings, stress, and trauma, and so on. Also, it will be quite inconvenient for people to verify multiple companies by themselves whereas through AssureShift they can get all details of movers references in just a few clicks, without having to think about the genuineness of the mover they are hiring.
Keeping this in mind, we went to meet packers and movers companies in all the cities and verified the moving company registration documents, owner ID, and office address.
The process of verification is a long and meticulous one where we do an initial online screening and background check via telephone, video call, and going through their past reviews & ratings. We cross-check the validity of their business registration details on the Indian Govt Portal and make sure the owner ID details provided to us match the owner details on the business registration.
Next, we physically visit the moving company in their city to confirm the details and get a copy of all the original paperwork they provided to us during online verification. Additionally, we also take the packer mover’s office location proof in the form of any rental/lease contract copies as well as photos of their workplace.
The packers and movers will be confirmed and authorized to associate with us only after they successfully fulfill each step of the complete verification process.
Our business model is quite simple but efficient; we have packers and movers whom anyone can hire. People submit their requirements and according to that we assign a fixed price for it and it can be bought by a maximum of 3 nearby best-match moving companies based on first-come-first-serve. Packers movers have to keep the balance in their wallet from where the amount will be deducted.
Our software helps find the best match packers and movers according to one's requirements and calculates lead charges according to different variables like distance, moving size, and service quality.
Describe the process of launching the business.
First, we had created our web portal with all the basic features, submitted it to Google, and created a profile on social media platforms. With that, we also reached to our customers via offline mediums like word of mouth and brochures.
We had distributed the brochures in Tech seminars, book fairs, and so on; we found it useful for marketing as it can be easily distributed to small or large audiences and it will be with people and they can notice it later also.
In the beginning, we started from Bangalore and Pune and then expanded to other metro cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, and Gurgaon. Now we are operating in more than 20 cities.
To operate in a new city, we mainly do an online research first and create a team of packers and movers and carry out their verification as usual. We will also spend on Ads to get customers in the first phase of launch in the new city and later move into organic traffic itself.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
To be a customer's first choice, we focus on providing the best hiring experience through our portal as well as excellent customer support with fast response and quick issue resolution.
The main source is the Search Engine because in our industry shifting is a kind of requirement which people think about only when they need it. And for that people generally search on Google and everyone wants a simple, fast, and effective solution for their queries. And we built a website dedicated to deliver the best user experience and with that, we also did link-building campaigns which together worked quite well and delivered us the result in a quite regular fashion.
Whereas social media marketing did not work as expected for obvious reasons; people go on social media for the latest updates of their circle, not for hiring packers and movers services.
We have designed our website with a simple interface to easily connect customers to packers and movers. We also check and maintain the quality of our services by regularly taking feedback about their suggestions and complaints.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I'm doing good and the future is looking bright for us. As people will always have moving requirements for various reasons, we are focused on creating better and valuable solutions for everyone. We are committed to helping people get dependable and good-quality packing and moving services.
AssureShift team works under one roof as a single unit and covers 2 major sections, one is website design and development, content and SEO, and the other team handles customer support.
Our upcoming plan of action for the future of AssureShift is to reach every small city in India so that every single person has access to good relocation companies and can enjoy safe and stress-free moving. Along with AssureShift, we are also working on various other projects with the same intention of offering valuable solutions for everyone.
Understanding your customer's requirements, industry process, and opportunities are the key. Do deep research, prepare a plan, and make a short story to impactfully tell your story.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Being an entrepreneur is a continuous learning path. Customer and business requirements keep changing, new challenges keep coming, and to tackle them we need to keep improving our skills. I have learned many things from business planning, team management, and most importantly, handling success and failure.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
I use a dedicated Linux web hosting server to build high-performance sustainable Drupal websites with the help of design tools like Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Sony Vegas Pro, and much other design and development tools.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I don't read many books. Instead, I try to read the present, analyze the past, and imagine my future. One of the podcasts I can remember right now is 'Ummeed' by Zakir Khan. Apart from this, I'm interested to learn about the great people of the past; I read their life stories on Wikipedia or watch videos on History channels, Discovery, YouTube, or Curiosity stream.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
Understanding your customer's requirements, industry process, and opportunities is the key. Do deep research, prepare a plan, and make a short story to impactfully tell your story. Take feedback from your surroundings and once you choose your path don't doubt or deviate from it.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are looking to hire SEO Analysts, Content Writers, and Tele callers.
Where can we go to learn more?
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