Listening to Poon sharing his experience is a very pleasant thing to do. Poon is always looking cheerful, very open with others, and he is very sincere. He would tell you his tips to run business, he would also tell you what he is not great at. No beating around the bush. Poon wears a 24×7 smile, it’s hard to imagine how he looks like when he’s angry or upset; but what most people don’t know about are the ups and downs that he has been through in life. At one point he was not being humble and kept showing off; he made a lot of mistakes. But who doesn’t? Now Poon is happy with wearing a 5-dollar Butler in Suits shirt, and ready to make positive impacts.
Poon Da Qian, 24
Founder, Butler in Suits
| Star Profile
|| Life Motto
Poon started his entrepreneurship journey when he was only 15, because he had no choice at that time. His father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and unfortunately passed away during the same year. With a family business of running 10 F&B outlets, Poon had to share the responsibility with his mum to look after the business. Poon started his own F&B brand when he was 18, he ran 3 fast food outlets for two years until he received letter for National Service (NS).
After 2 years with NS, Poon launched an on-demand concierge service app. But there was no product focus and he soon realized he won’t be able to earn money from it. He revamped the whole business and took advice from Chikai (former entrepreneur-in-residence with accelerator) to do something within his domain of expertise.
Journey to Entrepreneurship
Poon had helper throughout his entire life, but when his mum retired there was no more helper. Whenever he got home the laundry basket was always full, his home was not always clean. Poon could foresee five years down the road when he’s going to get his own house, he would be stuck at three options:
- Hire a full time domestic helper. But this is not very feasible. Millennials stay in smaller house these days, they are also more tech savvy and prefer to have on-demand services. Having a helper is costly and it also disrupts their life styles especially when they are just married.
- Part-time on-demand helpers. They are not that great because most are freelancers, companies are just a middleman to match service providers to home owners but there is no quality guarantee. Home owners end up supervising them since you don’t know about their quality.
- Do it yourself. But is there anyone who likes to do housework?
With his hospitality background, Poon decided to launch Butler in Suits to meet a simple need that he personally faced. Poon came out with the fourth option – home management.
As early stage startup Poon designs the company as horizontal service rather than focuses on verticals only. They partner with other service suppliers to provide a holistic home management service, from collecting mails, ironing clothes to grocery shopping etc. They want to help people returning to home feeling fresh, everything is clean and tidy just like at a hotel. Clients no longer need to worry about household chores.
What’s The Challenge Here?
- Poon hustled very hard to get the right customers. He believes there should be chemistry between service team and the home owners, hence he always arranges appointments with them to meet before they sign up for services. He listens from his potential clients about their requests, and he explains thoroughly his services as well so that there would be no understanding gap in future. If the prospects are happy they would sign up with Butler in Suits; if service request cannot be fulfilled, Poon has to kindly reject them.
- The biggest challenge is to gain trust from home owners. To assure owners with a peace of mind, Poon hires fresh grads with above market rates and trains them to have high service standards like SQ (Singapore Airlines). The company also provides full insurance coverage in case of any damage and employee injuries, that’s what they mean by quality service.
- Poon always feels that there is an identity crisis about branding his company. He is working hard to build the stickiness between his company and his clients so that they can trust them fully and continue to engage their services.
- Speak from knowledge and speak from experience are different things, when learning from the industry leaders they have the experience to answer you back; this is different from learning in school
- Poon keeps himself as an open book, always open to learn from other and share his knowledge. He rather to let everyone ask him questions, if he was wrong he could learn it fast
- Through F&B Poon learned 3 things: convenience, quality and affordability
- Consistency in quality is very important
Meaning Behind Butler in Suits
- There is a purpose in home management. The team saves people’s time and make immediate impact to people’s lives; they create time greater than their own time.
- People work for Butler in Suits have career progression follows model similar to F&B industry. Poon believes in ground up talents, especially for people who are still young.
Butler in Suits
- This is a subscription service for home managers to manage all your mail collection, cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping services
- Standard package (1 visit per week) starts from $240 / month
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