Finding a PG accommodation is generally a tough job for students and freshers newly moved to a city. If you are in Kolkata, Connectmess is there to help you out.
Connectmess aims at bridging the gap between landlords and paying guests. The advertisers are charged a nominal one-time fee for putting up theirs ads on connectmess.com and accommodation seekers are offered free assistance via email and a helpline number (903828-1838). They are provided with the details, facilities, rent and contact number and name of the paying-guest/mess owner. One can also browse for the paying-guest or mess by clicking on a college or on an area.
Connectmess was conceived by Abhishek Patra in Feb 2011, and funded by savings from odd jobs in Kolkata. Abhishek is a MSc Computer Science from St Xavier’s College, Kolkata, and has done most of the development for the application. He is aided by three full-time employees and a one-man call-center.
There are several places to advertise for a PG: newspapers, magazines, online sites, or even restaurants. And then there are brokers. However, each one of these options have drawbacks. Newspaper ads are very costly, offer a small real estate for details and suffer from the problem of localization. Internet sites, especially the free ones, offer no authenticated information and place brokers and individuals together. Brokers charge heavily. Connectmess provides a one-stop search place for all needs by charging a nominal fee and streamlining the system by providing a 24/7 telephonic support.
The PG owners undergo an authentication process before their ads are placed on Connectmess. “A representative visits them in person, inspects their property and asks them to fill up a form with their signature. Later, we cross-check the advertiser by making a call as a seeker before placing their ad. It’s all done within 24 hours.”, says Patra. “The advertiser receives smses with contact details of wannabe paying guests, who can also opt to receive text messages for advertisements in their desired location.”
Already popular in Kolkata, Abhishek has plans to extend this to other cities as well, and to broaden the reach to flats and houses. They are already working towards hitting Guest Houses by next month.
A novel idea, Connectmess brings a fresh approach to solving the problem already addressed by many players. However, the simplicity and ease, and the savings on time and money for both the landlord and the tenant is what makes them stand out. There is a long way to go. For the team, I would suggest they should work on improving the User Experience of their portal, which provides all information but looks rather insipid. Listing down feedbacks from happy customers could be useful too. And yes, expanding the reach to target all kind of tenants, which are already in plans.
How has your experience been with hunting houses? Did you make use of other sites to look for places? And if you are relocating to Kolkata and looking for a PG, give Connectmess a call.