At the start of 2016 CEO, Oisin Hanrahan, was facing a hard time facing leadership team meetings as he would see that his growth strategy was backfiring. Handy was in the middle of allowing professionals to join the on demand cleaning platform that links trade workers to clients. The plan was to create an online onboarding process that would pop up in all 28 markets the platform worked within.
The co-founder of Handy, Umang Dua was not so sure about the plan and had resisted its rollout for the past two years. He was worried that qualified professionals would not complete the application online. They decided to do a test run in Washington DC and Miami, FL in January of 2015. See, https://www.handy.com/cleaning-services/new-york.
They were trying to decide what to do after a year had almost past when they secured $50 million in Series C venture capital funding in November 2015. Suddenly they had more funding but they were also unnerved as many said that they would not invest more at this stage of growth. They thought this may be their last round of funding and decided the best path to profitably was via the online onboarding strategy.
Everything would have been great, but the plan failed with the success rate of onboarding dropping by almost 40%. Handy.com was forced to cancel thousands of bookings as demand for services grew on the platform and the number of professionals failed to grow to match.
They didn’t give up though, they slowly kept rolling out the onboarding process and Handy’s engineers made the self-serve platform easier to use which helped increase the completion rate. By the time the second quarter came around the completion rate was actually 10% higher meaning that Hanrahan did make the right call, even if it did cause everyone to sweat a bit.