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startup | IST

12-point change plan will improve service partners' earnings: Urban Company CEO

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CNBC-TV18’s Alisha Sachdev spoke to Abhiraj Bhal, CEO & Co-founder of the Urban Company to discuss its 12-point change plan

Days after more than 100 beauticians protested outside Urban Company's office in Gurugram, the company has slashed the commission it charges from beauty service professionals.
Urban Company is a market leader in the gig economy for professional and skilled workers. It has also released a 12-point change plan for those who provide services on its platform. The startup is also "slightly" increasing prices of several high-demand services across categories to increase the take-home pay for its partners.
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To discuss the 12-point change plan and Urban Company's growth roadmap CNBC-TV18’s Alisha Sachdev spoke to Abhiraj Bhal, CEO & Co-founder of the company.
Bhal said, “Let me start off by saying that, at the heart of Urban Company are our service partners. We love our service partners, and we work every day to ensure that they have better earnings and decency of life. We have always taken pride in giving a platform which gives significantly better than offline earnings, as well as, a social security net around insurance and other benefits to our service partners.”
“When these protests happened last week, we could have said, let us move on, let us ignore it. In fact, in the last seven days, we have seen more business on our platform than any period before. But that's not who we are as a company. We took this as a moment to take a stock check. On Sunday, we came out with a very transparent fashion perhaps the first time ever there any gig economy player has come out with its entire earnings data, as well as all data points around the social security benefits that we provide.”
On the 12 point agenda, Bhal said, “We went and spoke to all service professionals on the platform across categories and cities in India. We have spoken to 1000s of professionals in the last 72 hours and we've come up with this 12 point agenda across all categories and cities in India. We believe these 12 points will significantly improve both partners' earnings and livelihood. We have now removed almost all blocks of partners except rating blocks with this simple change, blocks are reduced by more than 80 percent. We have reduced the highest slab of commissions from 30 to 25 percent in the beauty categories, we are making marginal price improvements. We have also ensured that penalties are significantly reduced, product prices are changed, as well as any last-minute cancellation penalty that we collect from customers is fully transferred to the partners.”
He added, “Beyond this, we are setting up a dedicated helpline for our women partners to help with SOS and safety-related aspects. We are going to invest further in skilling. We are also going to sensitize customers around the dignity of work, providing drinking water and washroom facilities to our partners. We are going to extend our free vaccination support till the end of this calendar year. There are many other changes also that we have announced. But at the gist of it, we want to go out there and ensure that this 12 point agenda makes our partners happy.”
On the rating system, he said, “As far as the rating system is concerned, the one change that we are making is that earlier ratings were to be calculated only on the last 50 orders that you have delivered, we are now increasing that threshold to 100 orders. We do take customer experience very, very seriously and so do all our partners.”
For full management commentary, watch the video.