I certainly feel there are abundant of entrepreneurial opportunities available in public domain catering to the most of the basic needs. One such opportunity I have observed recently, not so thoroughly researched but has a growing potential as explained by the prevalence of high demand market catered by completely unorganised sector in this particular domain.
Need: With growing number of cars being owned by Indian society, the scene in every household, residential society, flats or any housing unit is the washing of cars by unskilled hired personnel. They use conventional techniques and tools, namely, bucket, tumbler(s), water hose/pipe and a dirty cloth pieces (which is some old discarded cloth of household). The technique is to wash dirt of every car with plenty of water normally using the pipe and wasting liters of precious ground water in the process.Then, they clean the car with the cloth and then dry it using another or same cloth piece. the perceived result is shining car which may not be so clean from inside as well. In case, if he uses pipe/hose to clean the car, he leaves the pipe on again destroying natural resources.
Potential : With fast growth in automobile sector and high disposable income available, there is increasing number of cars available in every household. In metropolitan areas, this number goes upto 3 per house. With clustering of houses in proximity to each other, on an average 100 + cars may be available in a street or residential area/society. Hence, demand is huge and unlimited potential. On an average, in any urban area, residents pay anywhere between Rs. 500- Rs. 1000 per car for washing on daily/twice in a week or weekly basis.
Solution: McDonalds' restaurants across the world is using flush less toilets saving millions of liters of water every year. The toilets use some absorbing plate into the toilet which makes toilets odorless. Can't our young scientists design (could have been already designed) some gel/liquid/cleaner which applied through some mechanical/human technique get the dirt off and could shine cars. Besides, using handheld machines running on batteries could be used to vacuum cars from inside once a week thereby adding lots of value to consumer satisfaction. Trained, properly dressed personnel with clean backgrounds and loaded with appropriate tools can be hired to provide clean cars to needy consumers. Besides, i feel, a premium can be charged form consumers for expensive chemicals used (as substitute to water) which they will pay happily for environment conservation and water preservation. The professional service provided will also attract premium pricing. Cars can be classified on basis of their size, their engine capacity etc. so as to charge differently from different consumers, e.g. a Mercedes will be charged extra in comparison to Alto or a Swift.
Challenges: A few challenges do exist but can be tackled:
1. Water substitute
2. Trained manpower
3. Limited time slots- morning 6 to 9 and evening 6 to 9
4. Extreme weather conditions
5. Car washing centers have opened in every neighborhood- they charge Rs. 150 to 300 per car wash
This is just a rough draft idea, the research is still to be done to fine tune the idea into a full fledged business idea. Would certainly appreciate your comments/criticism/appreciation/additions to the idea through comments to this post. Any takers?
Dr. Ashish Arora
P.S. It is rightly said, "necessity is the mother of invention". My car washing guy has actually left my assignment and I was driving a dirty car every day to work since last 15 days, so, this idea came to my mind.