A Bulawayo start-up YakhaSquare.com has launched a web application (App) that seeks to revolutionise the way Zimbabweans abroad are finding local service providers for construction services and paying for the services.
The platform's chief operating officer, Nontokozo Masuku said the application will create a market place and project management tool for local contractors.
"The platform was created to solve the problem of scam contractors, who ask for 40% to 60% deposits upfront for construction services, and then disappear with customers' funds," she said.
"Many in the diaspora have been duped by local contractors, who take advantage of the absent project owners.
"Some have even been duped by family members that receive the funds for construction projects but do not carry out the task. In the same token the platform protects the contractors from dishonest consumers who don't pay for the services rendered.
Masuku said Yakhasquare.com's unique function will create a win-win for the consumer and the contractor.
"We aim to instill trust and integrity in the industry," she said.
YakhaSquare's mission is to have a marketplace with trust, integrity, and reliability, for consumers and contractors.
The platform is easy to use as consumers enter the type of service they need, and information about their project to receive quotes from qualified contractors.
The consumer selects the contractor they want to use, and place their commitment funds in escrow in the YakhaSquare wallet.
The funds are released to the contractor when milestones are met and the work is accepted by the project owner.
"After project completion, we ask each customer to rate the contractor so others know whether or not the contractor is great," Masuku said.
She said Yakhasquare.com can apply to many industries, and they were looking to add other complementary professional services that serve Zimbabweans locally and abroad.
"We are happy to create opportunities for industry here at home, we have worked with local suppliers to create a trusted supplier network, and encourage local purchases for construction materials and supplies," Masuku added.