Fixington

The founders of Fixington asked us to create a web platform targeting the minor home improvement and repair market in the UK. The core idea of the project was to help household owners book trusted independent tradespeople locally and give these tradespeople more work.

Client's Background

Fixington was created in 2015 by Bruce Greig, who had previously grown two successful businesses from startup to sale, and his partner Chris Shepherd, an ex-marketing manager at Tesco. They started by building a large network of vetted plumbers, electricians, and heating engineers around the UK, providing them with a calendar and billing mobile app. After the application proved to be in demand, the Fixington team decided to expand their business by building a web application for online booking.

 

Fixington online booking app

The challenge

DA-14 engineers were working on a web version of the project in parallel with an Indonesian developer making improvements to the mobile app. The most challenging part of this collaboration was adding new features in a way that allowed them to function properly on both web and mobile platforms.

Importance

Finding a good plumber, heating engineer or electrician is not an easy task for most homeowners in Europe, the USA and other developed economies. Over half of American skilled tradespeople are approaching retirement age. At the same time only 3% of 18-to-25 year olds are looking to take on vacant positions in a construction-related trade.

Besides the shortage issue, the quality of available services is also a big concern. Plumbing pros themselves have identified the skills gap as the biggest threat facing the construction industry.

When looking for a tradesperson, most people rely on personal recommendations. But if this doesn't work (for example, the recommended pro is busy), home owners have to do the research, check credentials, negotiate cost, etc. On the other hand, self-employed skilled workers (which make up about 10% of total qualified workers) need time to manage their schedule, do paperwork and other routine procedures. The online booking system can save time and money for both sides, making the whole process more efficient.

Our Approach

Landing page

To make sure that British households would be interested in online booking for repair services, we first created and launched a landing page. It contained clear information about the opportunities provided by Fixington, encouraged users to leave their feedback and collected contact information.

Continuous development

After completing a proof of concept, we moved on to the development of a feature-rich web application to serve Fixington's business requirements. We were continuously adding new features to the working version of the platform so customers could benefit from improvements and give their feedback as soon as possible. Frequent updates allowed our client to better understand the real needs of users and, accordingly, change the priorities of the tasks in the project's backlog.

Data optimization

As the website accumulated more information and got more complex, its loading time increased which resulted in a worse user experience. To improve the app's productivity, we needed to analyze code and optimize its data. The problem was resolved with the use of New Relic, an application performance monitoring tool that helped us identify and fix performance bottlenecks.

The project

Fixington is an Uber-like marketplace for tradespeople and their customers. It consists of an iOS app used by independent plumbers, electricians, and heating engineers as a calendar and invoicing tool and a website where homeowners can book a repair service, with the booking going straight to a local specialist's smartphone. The web version also has a section for contractors enabling them to log in and see their data (scheduled jobs, invoices, etc.)

In general, Fixington carries out all the functions of a traditional maintenance firm, but on a more global scale and with a help of technology, saving money on office expenses. It allows tradespeople to stay busy as freelancers while customers benefit from efficient booking and payment processes, which result in lower prices.

After launching in the UK, Fixington has plans to expand worldwide, as problems of minor home improvement and repair jobs exist in other European countries and in the USA as well.

Main Functionality

Online booking and estimate

Users can easily find a local tradesperson by giving their postcode, choosing the service needed (plumber, electrician, or heating engineer) and specifying their own status (homeowner, landlord, tenant, letting agent). The system also lets customers estimate an approximate cost for the service depending on location.

fixington-step-by-step-user-path

Tradesperson account

Tradespeople can create their free Fixington account or just sign in if they have already registered with the mobile app. All the data is synchronized between the mobile and web versions, so users can access their booking information on a smartphone, tablet, or PC.

fixington-app-login-page

Dynamic booking calendar

This feature allows tradespeople to notify customers about their availability, view a list of scheduled jobs and charges, and track payment status. The calendar also provides access to information about actual customers and tasks.

 

 

Fixington booking calendar

Adding new job

The 'New job' tab makes it easy to add a new task to the schedule or create a new customer with just a few clicks.

fixington-add-new-job-admin-page

Simple reports

The app also helps tradespeople track their earnings and keep their job information updated. Reports allow tradespeople to control charges and payments right on their smartphones, and monitor customers who haven't paid their bills yet.

fixington-reporting-system

Downloadable invoices

Invoices are created automatically for each job put into the calendar. A tradesperson can edit and save payment details for future use, send invoices directly to customers by e-mail or download them in just a couple of taps.

Fixington invoices

Involvement

Duration: September 2015 - August 2017

Team:

  • Front-end developer
  • Back-end developer
  • QA engineer

Contract type: Dedicated development team

Expenditure: $50,000 to $199,000

Technologies & Integrations:

  • AngularJS
  • Node.js
  • Express.js
  • Socket.IO
  • MongoDB
  • Mandrill
  • Stripe
  • Heroku
  • AWS

Country: UK

Industry: Consumer Services

Project type: Online booking platform

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