Buying products online is easy. Getting rid of them when it becomes useless/redundant/old is not. You have two options with it – either sell it in a second hand market online, or call the kabadiwala to get rid of it. This part, helping you get rid of scraps via a kabadiwala, is something of a pain. First you have to find them, then co-ordinate timings, and then haggle.
Enter, the online Kabadiwala, an e-commerce startup based out of Bhopal seeking to solve the pain point.
The startup was founded in February 2013 by engineer Anurag Asati and his mentor Kavindra Raghuwanshi. It has one simple goal – connect people with kabadiwalas through its online platform and help get rid of waste.
“One day I was asked to get a kabadiwala home to collect some newspapers. I couldn’t find one because I did not know any near by. That’s when I thought – wouldn’t it be great if this whole process was just a phone call away? Or better yet, book online at my convenience?” says Anurag, Founder, TheKabadiwala.com.
How Does Kabadiwala Work?
Users who want to get a kabadi wala to come pick up scrap have to just fill out a request form on the site. This includes personal details as well as the kind of waste that needs to be picked up and the estimated weight it would be.
Once the request is received, the Kabadiwala team send out their in-house collectors to gather the scrap from the particular location.
Kinds of scrap that the Kabadiwala include aluminium, batteries, computers, newspapers, plastics, polythene and more. They have fixed rates per kilo of scrap collected. The highest amount to be gained will be from selling copper for Rs 275/Kg.
“The normal kabadi wala would have to collect the scraps, and then sell it to the local collector, the area collector and then the city collector of scraps before it is finally handed over to be recycled. We hand it over to the recyclers directly,” says Anurag.
Once the scraps are collected from different areas, it is then sent to centralised storehouses within the different cities.
“These storehouses can be like a warehouse or rooms rented to store items,” says Anurag.
In the storehouse, the scraps are segregated according to the category they fall under. Post this, the product that is bought by a kilo from households, is sold by the tonne to companies that recycle. Kabadiwala mainly monetise using this model.
The Kabadiwala have a team of 15-20 scrap collectors working for them in Bhopal alone.
“We had initially tried hiring local kabadiwalas when we required them. But that proved to be too complicated. So we decided to hire our own in-house staff for the job since it was much more feasible,” says Anurag.
The online Kabadiwala is currently present in over 5 cities including Bhopal, Gwalior and Indore. In the next few months, the startup want to expand across Mumbai, Delhi and Chattisgarh.
“We get anywhere between 10-20 orders from each city every day. You cannot really put a number on it. Of all the sales we make, we are getting about 30-40% in profits currently,” says Anurag.
Kabadiwala was initially bootstrapped by Anurag with Rs 20,000. The team currently consists of the founder and his mentor Kavindre Raghuwanshi, apart from the people employed to collect scraps.
Kabadiwala is looking for investment to help with its expansion plans. On the anvil is the development of its in-house recycling plant as well. Their site revamp is also on the cards within two weeks, Anurag says. The current portal while functional, is pretty basic and could use the overhaul.
While households who have their regular kabadiwalas across the street may not use the service, it’s great for those who may need to travel afar to find one. One useful addition to the website could be an addition of a pick up time and date to the request form.
E-waste management company Attero, is one of the leaders in the space. The company dealt with more than 8 lakh tonne of e-waste in 2012 alone.