Thursday, 14 January 2016

Sarvajal Franchisee Profile Zoomed in: How Dasharathji Delivers 7000 liters of Pure Water Everyday!

Dasharath lives in Khandela, Rajasthan, with his wife, parents, and two sons – Bablu and Mayank. He used to own an electrical parts shop in the local marketand then almost 6 years ago  he decided to invest in his own Sarvajal business ; thanks to a strong recommendation from another franchisee. In  just a few weeks of setting up, Dasharath rented his first delivery vehicle and ever since business has been steadily climbing , to the point where he sold his other electrical parts venture about two years ago to dedicate all  his time to Sarvajal.
Dasharathji from Khandela
 Dasharath’s two sons are currently studying at a local college in Sikar. Bablu, the elder one, has taken a long time to complete his studies because of various familial duties. He makes a trip back home at least once a week to help out, and as a result has missed most of his classes over the past few years. He hopes to complete his Bachelors degree . by early next year, and then work on their Sarvajal model.. Mayank is discouraged from coming home as often so that he can follow  his dream of becoming a chartered accountant.
Dasharathji's Old Sarvajal Delivery Vehicle
 Khandela is a reasonably small town, where word-of-mouth plays a much stronger role in business development than elaborate marketing campaigns. Understanding this, Dasharath has over the years taken his time to develop relationships with both households and shopkeepers, and consequently  has a steady list of customers to whom he delivers Sarvajal daily. In fact, he now delivers over 7,000 litres of pure water to about 500 loyal consumers everyday. These customers pay him once a month, or whenever he happens to come along during a delivery trip with his employees. There seems to exist an understanding between Dasharath and his patrons as he doesn’t harass them for payments and, very surprisingly, doesn’t even mandate a security deposit on his campers or bottles. Staying in touch with customers through personal visits, sending out Holi and Diwali greeting cards, and allowing customers to walk in and pick up their own water any time of the day, have all contributed to maintaining strong community engagement and a loyal bunch of consumers.
Dasharath attributes his success to patience, open mindedness, and the willingness to go out of his way to make his customers satisfied. However, what sticks out as most unique is an extremely efficient delivery system. Given the large customer list, he decided to split the group into two geographical areas, delivering to each group on alternate days. Most customers therefore end up taking 2 days worth of water each visit, and he is thus able to cater to everybody’s daily needs. Despite the system, both delivery vehicles make at least 2 trips everyday. To minimize diesel costs, Dasharath has equipped one vehicle with a 1,000 litre tank, and the other  has 1,700 litres  capacity. This way, he saves trips by cleaning and filling up customer’s bottles on site without having to carry too many empty ones back and forth from the plant.
Water Containers
 Up until June, 2014, Dasharath was categorized under the old RO model, and co-owned the machine with Sarvajal, paying franchisee fees of about INR 0.12 per litre. As is discernible from the graph above, his production seemed to hit a ceiling at just about 5000+ litres a day, and so he decided to upgrade his machine to 1000 LPH capacity, and simultaneously switched to an SF model, making him the sole owner of the machine. An immediate jump in sales is evident, though it is hard to isolate the individual impact of two variables – an increase in production capacity, and the fact that the machine is now 100% his property – as they have both historically proved to elicit similar improvements. Regardless, his production has doubled ever since, and he is now selling more in the winter than he did during peak summer, 2013. Keeping track of such large sales volumes has proved tricky, and Dasharath had to buy himself a computer to simplify all of the bookkeeping.

Dasharathji's one of the New Delivery Vehicles
To cope with the added pressure of doubling his delivery, Dasharath has increased his labour force to a total of 5 employees plus his son Bablu. The 7 of them together seem to manage all daily activities, albeit via a tightly packed schedule. Dasharath’s brothers and their families all work in Calcutta, and he therefore doesn’t have any extra helping hands from within the family. On top of that, he says that finding reliable long-term labour is difficult in the area. Already, he has seen high employee turnover and hence recently increased salaries to ensure that the current crew stays for at least a few more years.

Despite the fact that he chills and home-delivers purified  water, Dasharath charges the nominal amount of INR 0.50 per litre – and has subsequently established himself as the strongest player in the competitive local drinking water market. Still, he does not let his venture grow stagnant, and is always on the lookout for possibilities of expansion. His loyal customer base sustains business at a comfortable level, but to compensate for seasonal cycles in water demand, he focuses on events such as weddings and conferences through caterers and event organizers in the winter. Furthermore, he recently expanded his ‘delivery radius’ to include a nearby town to which he delivers every third day, thereby cementing his position as the local go-to clean water producer.
Dasharathiji's employees with Sarvajal Water Containers
 Today, Dasharath operates with two delivery vehicles; five helpers who drive and deliver directly to customers; two large volume chillers; and an 11,000 litre capacity reserve tank to compensate for electricity shortages. Since his recent upgrade to a 1000 LPH machine his business has grown into one of Sarvajal’s most successful franchisees, earning enough to feed his entire family, send two sons to college, and also fund the daily upkeep of a local Temple where his RO plant is housed.
and his patrons as he doesn’t harass them for payments and, very surprisingly, doesn’t even mandate a security deposit on his campers or bottles. Staying in touch with customers through personal visits, sending out Holi and Diwali greeting cards, and allowing customers to walk in and pick up their own water any time of the day, have all contributed to maintaining strong community engagement and a loyal bunch of consumers.

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