Shifting to a new city is tough. It involves finding a house, getting children into a new school, transferring household goods, and getting familiar with the new place.
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PM Relocations (PMR), which packs and moves residential and commercial goods, within as well as outside India, makes the process seamless and painless. People are becoming more and more ambitious and don't want to stay at one place all their lives, says PMR CEO Aakanksha Bhargava. So, as more and more people move from one city to another for better opportunities, companies such as PMR are doing brisk business.
- The company is a relocation service provider
- The business has two parts - domestic and overseas, where it partners with big companies
- The company is targeting the growing expat population
In 2007, when Bhargava joined the company run by her father, it had 38 employees and three offices. Today, it has 495 people, and is present in 14 locations.
Bhargava says it has taken a lot of sweat and tears to take the company to this level. For instance, soon after joining, she moved to Bangalore to set up an office there. "I realised that there was potential, let me give myself a chance. I was 21. I had no idea about the market. It was the most testing time of life," she says. One problem was that people did not take her seriously because of her age. Many calls for business didn't yield satisfying answers. But she never gave up. She strongly believes that one must lead by example. "I didn't want to sit in an AC cabin and instruct employees. I have stood in warehouses till late at night." The momentum picked up after one year. "I think perseverance is the key."
The business has two parts - domestic and overseas, where it partners with big relocation companies. For instance, the global employee relocation contract of Microsoft is with the US-based Graebel, which works with PMR in India.
Nearly 55 per cent of PMR's business comes from global operations. The tenure of a typical contract varies from one year to 10 years. However, some engagements are for the long term. The relationship with Airtel, for instance, is 21 years old. American Embassy is a stable customer, and so is Britannia.
Also, the expat population is swelling, a market PMR wants to tap. "When an expat comes to India, we do work related to immigration, moving household goods and home search. We also offer settling-in services and cultural training," she says. In 2009, the company ventured into end-to-end settling where, apart from shifting house, it helps children settle into the new school and offers utility services. It also helps people move pets and vehicles. PMR also offers a car rental service. The company is looking to raise private equity money this quarter for investing in technology and marketing.
Anuj Puri, Chairman and Country Head, JLL India, says that in a growing economy, businesses move to better locations and into higher-capacity offices, retail players move into better-managed shops in more lucrative catchments, and people move into larger homes or homes nearer to their workplaces. "Relocation is a central concept in the real estate business," he says.
The company is now betting big on technology. For example, it wants to create an app or a website for someone who wants to move to a different city but has no idea about the relocation services there. This will also help the company offer customised solutions.
Bhargava, also a singer and a dancer, says her father never thought she would be interested in this male-dominated business. "I always knew I wanted to help my father. But when I got into it, I realised I could not have done anything better with my life than this," she says. When Bhargava joined, PMR's turnover was Rs 2.9 crore. It aims to close the current financial year with Rs 46 crore. "It's easy to grow numbers but we want to do it well because at the end of the day our people are moving into somebody's bedroom. We don't move goods, we move sentiments," she says.