Sardor has bootstrapped a marketplace of home appliance technicians to over $10 million in revenue. Great story.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Sardor Umrdinov: I was born and raised in Uzbekistan. I went to Russian kindergarten and school. When independence came, my parents moved me to a national school. I was there for one year. After that, they moved me to the Lyceum for boys. I studied there for another six or seven years.
Then I tried to enter the university in Tashkent. At first, I failed. I tried again the next year and was able to get in. Then I transferred to the European class to improve my English and Russian.
After the first year, I came as an F1 student in the USA to improve my English. I didn’t want to finish university, because I didn’t know what was going to happen in Uzbekistan. I studied in the US for six months. When I got out of LAX, my whole vision changed. I saw so many opportunities in the US. I felt like I came from the past to the future. I wanted to stay here.
For the next few years, I was studying. At the same time, I was working in restaurants, construction, plumbing until I got my green card. I founded my first company in 2008. It was a B2B washer and dryer repair company. I was running the business myself. I was the technician.
Sramana Mitra: The business model was contract work?
Sardor Umrdinov: Yes, I would repair the machines. It was just word of mouth. It was impossible to scale. I saw an opportunity to do residential work. I was doing advertising at that time.
I decided to try appliance repairs. I started hiring more technicians. It was a huge opportunity because the customer service was not good in the industry. It was like the taxi industry before Uber came in. Then we added a few other services like air conditioning and plumbing. I didn’t do the repair jobs myself. I was doing behind the scenes operations like advertising and helping train them. That’s how we started growing.
We first got into the LA market. Then we started getting into the San Diego market. Then we needed a CRM platform. We had to build one because there was no other CRM that could support what we were doing. Most of the CRMs are built for one location, but our business had satellite locations and servicing customers at their place. Most of the CRMs are not designed that way.
Sramana Mitra: What are the different types of technician work that you were providing?
Sardor Umrdinov: We were doing appliance repair work for washers and dryers. We took up air conditioning repairs, air duct cleaning, plumbing, and electrical work too. We have an office in the Philippines and Ukraine. Our developers are in Uzbekistan, India, Ukraine, Slovenia, and Cuba.