Dubai-Headquartered Fixerman's First-Of-Its-Kind Solar-Powered Mobile Repairing Services Witness Surge In Demand During The Coronavirus Pandemic Despite the uncertainties that came with the pandemic, Fixerman's demand nearly doubled during the lockdown period. The founders attribute this to an increased use of technological gadgets due to the movement restrictions.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Launched in 2018, Fixerman is a mobile service center that provides gadget-related care by converting a large-sized Toyota Hiace van into a solar-powered built-in laboratory capable of conducting all phone repairs and other services wherever the customers are located.

Led by Jassim Bangara, founder, Ziyad Bangara, co-founder and CMO, and Prathwi Raj, co-founder and COO, Fixerman has been billed as a first-of-its kind venture, given that every single service provided inside its vehicle is done using clean energy. "Our business model is essentially built on three primary principles: quality, convenience, and speed," Jassim says. "We do this by offering three kinds of services: #FixerVan (We will come to you), #FixerHawk (We will come pick it up), and #FixerStudio (You come to us)." While #FixerVan enables for a device to be fixed at your doorstep in the solar-powered van, #FixerHawk makes use of a #FixerHawk Bike messenger. The device is picked, fixed in the Fixerman studio, and then delivered back to the customer with a turnaround time of up to 24 hours. #FixerStudio allows customers to have the option of visiting the company's location in Business Bay, which is equipped with the latest technology and an open kitchen concept to see your device being worked on in real time.

The Fixervan, a solar-powered mobile service centre. Source: Fixerman

But the onset of the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent social distancing restrictions meant that not only would customers be unable to visit the studio, the Fixerman team members themselves would have to take extra precautions to ensure the strictest health and safety regulations. "Our workers' safety is our top priority," Ziyad declares. "We ensured that they were equipped with the necessary assets that will ensure they are protected and our customers are not exposed to any risk. We even went to the extent of arranging temporary accommodation for our team for safety reasons. Also, all our systems are cloudbased. In order to ensure our work is never disrupted, we invested in the right infrastructure from the very beginning, which made it possible to operate remotely with relative ease whenever needed."

The availability of their #FixerVan and #FixerHawk services meant that the Fixerman team could still continue their work, albeit with more caution and extra safety. But some hard decisions still had to be made by the team on how they were to carry on their operations. "We were apprehensive of continuing operations due to the fear of contracting the virus ourselves," Prathwi admits. "However, we sat together and revisited the vision of Fixerman. As a team, we took a call to continue work on the field."

Related: Innovative Approach Helps Dubai-Based Cloud Restaurants Bolster Its Delivery-Only Offerings Amid The COVID-19 Crisis

Fascinatingly enough, despite the uncertainties that came with the pandemic, Fixerman had a surge in inquiries, with the demand nearly doubling during the lockdown period. Ziyad attributes this to an increased use of technological gadgets due to the movement restrictions. "During the lockdown, people realized the true importance of their devices," he says. "With access to shopping malls and other service centers cut off, it was the only thing that allowed people to carry on with their lives. We were often booked days in advance and had to increase our capacity by approximately 30% during the crisis."

All equipment installed in the Fixervan is solar-powered; the first of its kind in the world. Source: Fixerman

With increased efforts to communicate better with consumers in line with its "impactful, fun, factual" theme, as well as an uptick in terms of operational digitization, Fixerman has witnessed not only increased consumer demand amidst this crisis, but also a 20% increase in employee productivity. "Despite the reliance on digital solutions we have tactically included a human touch as part of the fixing process," Prathwi adds. "Getting a device fixed through Fixerman is not just about the fix, but an experience overall."

When asked about what the changes to its business model will mean for Fixerman in the long-run, Jassim replies, "As far as the new normal goes, unless we see a definitive end to the coronavirus, we will not go back to our usual ways. The lessons we have learnt during the crisis have made us more resilient. Our supply chain has not been disrupted due to our well-diversified sourcing model. We will continue to invest in the well-being of our team members even more, as we have realized there is no crisis we cannot overcome when we stand together."

Related: Increased Shift To E-Commerce Aids Dubai-Based Startup Spotii As It Launches Amid COVID-19

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Writer, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Writer at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is keen on pursuing and writing stories on people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

A bibliophile, chai addict, and photography enthusiast, she can be often found (animatedly) talking about Kdramas, BTS, cricket, novels, and comic book films.

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