Kuwait's On-Demand Car Wash App Offers Convenience to Customers
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This article is part of a series on pioneering entrepreneurs in Kuwait that Entrepreneur Middle East has built in collaboration with Kuwait Finance House. Kuwait Finance House is considered a pioneer in Islamic finance or Sharia’a compliant banking, with it being the first Islamic bank established in 1977 in the State of Kuwait, and is today one of the foremost Islamic financial institutions in the world.
For quite some time already, on-demand car wash has been widely accepted by customers across the GCC as a convenient way to get a quick cleaning of their vehicles on the go. In Kuwait, it is a market niche being developed by Ghaseel, an on-demand car wash app whose name in Arabic means ‘washing’. With a click of a button, it allows Kuwaiti customers to order a car wash at home, work, or at any other preferred location. They can choose from one of Ghaseel’s certified service providers and book a service with easy payment options.
“To define Ghaseel, I would say it’s the first and biggest on-demand car wash app in Kuwait that allows users to get their car washed and have detailing services anytime and anywhere, meaning that their next car wash is two taps away,” said Saleh Al Musalam, co-founder and CEO of Ghaseel.
Saleh Al Musala, CEO and cofounder, Ghaseel
Launched in 2015, Ghaseel has since partnered with over 70 car wash companies to enhance the car wash and car care experience in Kuwait. “A goal that we find very important is growing our relationships with clients as we now on a monthly basis receive thousands of car wash orders. Since we connect service providers with their clients, we assure that the service delivery goes through smoothly and both parties are satisfied,” added Al Musallam on the importance of partnerships in the service industry.
Edited excerpts from a conversation with Ghaseel’s Saleh Al Musalam:
What has been the reaction of Kuwaiti customers to your services and why?
Before we created Ghaseel, we decided to meet companies and potential clients to get them involved during the design stage. That has helped us understand what we might face as obstacles and find ways to solve them. A few comments our key partners and clients had were payment methods, appointment issues and costly marketing, so we put every comment into consideration before launching the application to the public.
I really recommend that approach when it comes to designing a new product or service, because by listening to your real potential customers you will know in advance what challenges and obstacles you might face so you get prepared ahead of time. We came up with a few different business models with multiple service flows in order to know what would work the best. We had a trial period where we designed our first version and asked companies for their feedbacks and ways to enhance the whole design.
Has there been any negative feedback towards Ghaseel’s on-demand service?
Our customers feedback is always the most important drive to improve our business performance- we strongly believe that taking their feedback into consideration would be the most valuable input to improve our product design and service flow. I would divide the negative feedback into two main groups, the first one is related to our app design and functionality, the other one is related to service providers’ issues, like late arrivals, overbookings and bad service quality by some of the car wash staff.
As a tech co-founder, I used to write all the iOS, Android and backend code myself to save a lot of money instead of hiring more developers, that slowed down the development processes and bug fixes. It was acceptable up to a certain moment when we then took the necessary approach to solve this concern by hiring more developers to speed up app design and development and focus on scaling up instead of minor code tasks. Another concern clients had were the vendors ratings. One of the main questions clients have was “Which company is the best?”, so by having a fair and transparent rating system on our platform, users are able to know which company would best fit their needs,and also we at Ghaseel would know what companies we should keep and support and which companies we should ban from providing their services on our platform.
What are the three main pillars of the profit model of your business? How has that changed over time?
Ghaseel’s model is straightforward. We use a commission based model as our main revenue stream, however, we do not control prices or offers companies do. Another revenue model we use is the special features we offer to our vendors, for instance ads, subscriptions and personalized push notification. We also offer additional reports where our key partners can have a monthly summary of their performance.
We are happy with how our company is growing. As an entrepreneur, I always plan to find tactics to further grow our business. Currently, Ghaseel has two main goals- to add verticals, such as glass tinting, heat insulations, and more which will be announced soon, and to focus on offering all car services to people’s location. In addition, we plan to expand geographically very soon.
What are some of the main considerations that entrepreneurs should keep when starting up a business in Kuwait and why?
As a founder, the first thing I strongly believe people should consider while starting a business is focusing on the product or service they are introducing to the public. Many entrepreneurs have smart and innovative ideas, however, they get caught up on marketing their product/service instead of testing how it would perform. Unfortunately, this has become a common mistake for many startups. Launching a brand with an incomplete solution and inviting the public to try it can kill your business. First impression of your business is critical, if clients are not happy with your brand from the start, it will be difficult to gain their trust again.
I also advise every entrepreneur who is running a marketplace/e-commerce to deliver a big value to vendors and maximize it in their eyes on your platform without asking them to do a lot of work for that value. The reason is that, initially, most of the time you will not be able to reach a lot of customers and your vendors will not have a lot of patience if you ask them to do a lot for a minimal value, so always try to find a big value as fast as possible for little effort asked from your vendors until your reach the critical mass.
Lastly, what are some of the opportunities that you see available in the Kuwaiti market today and what would be your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice to entrepreneurs is to be patient. Nothing good comes easy and you always need to strive for something you believe in. When starting a business you will always find obstacles you need to overcome. Being patient and fighting for something you believe will be worth it in the end. For instance, I had to test my patience when collecting documents required for starting my business and following the strict rules and regulations of running a business in Kuwait. If you have an idea you want to introduce, consider whether or not it is feasible or has potential. Also, communication is key when starting a business, talk to people within the industry or have experience in the field you want to work on, you will always learn something from them. Before launching your brand make sure you have enough people to test your products and services, that will give you enough feedback to enhance before a bigger audience gets exposed to it.