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Ali Tariq is an entrepreneur who co-founded the company umbrellaonline.pk with his friend.

Umbrella aim’s at providing the best and reliable help for your daily needs at your convenience. You can get drivers, male helpers, maids, nannies and cooks for as low as 300 rs-350 rs charges per hour.
You can also avail the ScaryAmmi special discount if you are a part of the ScaryAmmi group on Facebook.

Here’s a little chat we had with Ali Tariq who shared his views and answered some questions.

Take a read.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My partner and I were both born and bred in Lahore and were both bankers for over 22 years. We were in the same batch at LUMS and returned back to Pakistan 3 years ago.

How did you come up with this idea?

The idea was born out of the need to help our underprivileged communities and give back to society.
We had realized a common theme across almost all household conversations; the search for ‘reliable and efficient’ help. There seemed to be a constant search for trained and reliable staff.

Issues with staff abruptly leaving, not returning, not being trained, not being reliable or efficient enough seemed to be a part of every conversation.

Domestic help is one of the largest, most needed markets which still remains unstandardized.
At the same time, we realized that there is a large underprivileged pool of individuals who were unskilled, untrained and with no real source of income.
We decided to do something about this and after many conversations, focus groups, interviews, and discussions with both sides we decided to form Umbrella.
A company with an easy-to-use multichannel platform for both our workers (called Stars) and our clients.
At Umbrella, we interview, short-list, medically screen all staff. We then conduct an extensive and detailed background check and put them through grooming and training modules after which they are all individually assessed. Once they pass the assessment, they are given their Umbrella Star ID’s and kits and are ready to help our clients and start earning a living for themselves and their families.

How did you come up with the name?

The idea of the name ‘Umbrella’ stemmed from the concept of being there to support and help at the time of need. Our tag line “We’ve got you covered” epitomizes what we do.

For our staff, it is a place that teaches a skill, provides flexibility, dignity, protection, and a platform to earn a living. For our clients, Umbrella is there to help them with whatever chore they need to get done, reliably and efficiently.

As a business owner, what are your top 3 priorities?

At Umbrella we have a single priority – To be the most trusted, efficient and reliable name for our clients and be the employer of choice for our Stars.

What/who was your biggest support?

Our families, friends, and clients were all very supportive and continue to be so.

umbrella-workers

Where do you find these workers from?

The staff at Umbrella is recruited from all across the city. We have referral programs in place and also work with NGO’s to find the right mix of honest, hardworking individuals.

How do you maintain check and balance?

Every single staff member is rated between 1 and 5 stars. We take individual feedback which, flows into our training program to ensure we continue to provide the finest quality service to our clients.

How do you manage fraud?

We have a 3 stage background check process in place. First, we do a detailed database check – criminal record, FIR, absconder list, terrorist list, etc. Once we get a green light we do a NADRA check and then do a physical verification of their homes with fingerprinting and GPS coordinates of their location. In addition, most of them come through references.

How has been the response of people?

The response has been great and over the last few months, we have increased our staff three-fold. We have also recently added male helpers/cleaners and drivers on the request of our existing client base which continues to grow.

Do you think the concept of part-time help is becoming popular in Lahore?

We believe that services that are easy to book, needs-based, flexible and rated on efficiency are bound to grow. Smaller houses, apartment living, increase in population, working couples, lack of staff quarters, etc. all point in this direction. We have a growing base of clients who have moved this model. They have the flexibility of getting whatever they want whenever they want (some days a nanny, other days a cook and a maid and some days a driver). They have the same budget but have the flexibility of picking from a larger option set for as long as they want.

Do you plan on introducing Umbrella in other cities?

Yes, we plan to move to other cities across the country starting with Islamabad, Rawalpindi, and Karachi.

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