Looking for Mama Fua? Dial Mr Jeff!

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019 00:00 |
Mr Jeff, a laundry service app launched in Nairobi recently. RIGHT: Layal Abouzeenni, the company’s Head of Expansion, Kenya. Photo/PD/JOHN Ochieng

The technology scene seems to be advancing at a high rate and in 2019 many services have become popular in the digital space. 

And just before the year comes to an end, yet another international company seeks to digitise daily home tasks.

Mr Jeff is a Spanish startup created in 2015 by three entrepreneurs in their twenties to offer laundry services just at a click of a button.

So how does it actually work? When you order the service, a driver within a particular hub picks up the clothes and returns them after 48 hours. 

“Mr Jeff will have different laundry shops in the city, and each will have a driver who does the pick-up and drop off. 

In Nairobi, we are looking at a limit of 32 shops, to avoid competing against each other,” said Head of Expansion Kenya Layal Abouzeenni.

Just like almost all digital apps-based services, Mr Jeff will not own all stores. However, the company proposes a more “traditional” model for service providers: franchising. 

In this case, the franchisee pays about Sh2.9m investment cost used to build the property, which includes installation of the laundry machinery. 

“Apart from the initial investment cost, we also offer training, both for the franchisee and its employees, so they can carry out the business efficiently,” Layal added. Within the system, the revenue will go to the property owner. 

“Besides the initial investment, the owner of the premises has to pay a monthly fee of about Sh670,000 to operate under Mr Jeff.

Layal Abouzeenni, the company’s Head of Expansion, Kenya.  Photo/PD/John Ochieng

After every month all the revenue goes to the property owner since we don’t have a revenue division plan, that way we don’t rely on their monthly revenue for our profit,” she explained.

She also highlights they do not work with existing laundry stores, but with entrepreneurs willing and eager to learn new business from scratch.  

How much does it cost is a question that lingers in every consumer’s mind, especially when compared to regular “mama fua “services.  Mr Jeff app has both subscription and single order services. 

“Those who opt to go the subscription way will get lower rates for their laundry. For an estimate, 10kgs of laundry will cost about Sh4,000 monthly.

We also have the smallest package of Sh2,500 for half the capacity. For a single order it will be priced a bit higher,” she explained. 

 To address security concerns, the company has put in place measures to ensure clothes that are received are the ones that returned to owners.

“In the hub, there is a camera, and every time a specific laundry bag is keyed in, all the clothes have to pass by that camera check point, just to make sure all the clothes received will be the ones exactly sent back,” she added.

Kenya is the fourth African country for Mr Jeff to set camp; the other are South Africa, Egypt and Morocco. 

“After starting out in Spain, we moved to Mexico and Brazil, where we have 360 and 500 hubs respectively. In 2018, we launched in every part of Latin America, and this year we have launched in Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Africa,” Layal adds.

She says in all countries they started wth the capital city before expanding, something they hope to replicate in Kenya.

“We have mapped out Mombasa and other major towns, but for now we want to concentrate on Nairobi then expand later,” she explained.

She added the company has a lot of hope when it comes to the Kenyan market because most people are fast-forward and seem to embrace technology positively.

“In Kenya we only came with a target of 20 stores but that has risen in due time and now we are looking at 12 more stores’’.

The app is available both on Android and Apple, and customers can pay in cash or use credit cards.

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