Life would be hell without outsourcing. Modern society only works because we get to specialise on stuff we like while some other people handle what we cannot bear to do.
I know that if I had to farm my own food, I would have died of starvation ages ago. So, I deal with the eye strain from sitting in front of a computer screen every day without much fuss.
I’m just as thankful for builders, some policemen, doctors and everyone else who does for me what I could not do for myself.
That’s all good but somehow it’s not quite enough. I still have to deal with household chores. The absolute worst is laundry and I think we can all agree that this is the worst.
No wonder in Shona slang, if you say ‘ndawachiswa’ which translates to ‘they made me do the laundry’, it means they did me dirty/ they conned me.
What if someone did that for me too? Well, Softlife says ‘we’ll do that for you. Are you too cheap/broke to spring for a washing machine or too lazy to fiddle with one like me? Softlife is here to assist.
Softlife exists to make your life easier. They want to take laundry, home cleaning and meal preparation off your plate (pun intended). Right now only laundry services are available, the other two should be coming late this year or early next year.
So, if you too would rather not spend your Saturday afternoon measuring out washing powder, here’s how Softlife could come through.
You simply visit their website/web app: softlife.co.zw, choose a laundry plan and they will come collect your dirty laundry and clean it for you. Alternatively, you can reach out via WhatsApp (0773442101).
You choose the number of times you want the service, either weekly, fortnightly or monthly. You then pick the day you want them to collect the laundry and that will be that.
To start, they will only be doing collections on Saturdays between 8:00am and 11:00am in Harare. And they will deliver the clean laundry within 24 hours. You can even have the laundry ironed if you want.
A single laundry bag has 20 items and Softlife will charge you $10 to clean that. Do note that one bed sheet counts as 4 items and a blanket/curtain counts as 10 items. But don’t try to sneak your underwear in there, they don’t do undergarments except for socks.
If you add a fiver they will iron those 20 items for you. Collection and delivery are free.
For now, the only payment option available is cash on delivery. Do note that their plans are monthly plans. So if you choose the weekly plan for example, you pay for the full month and they will come to collect the laundry every week until the month lapses, at which time you will have to renew if you still want the service.
Don’t fret though, you are not tied to a plan beyond one month. If you want a once-off service you just pick the once-a-month plan and you won’t be forced to renew.
Will this all work?
I don’t doubt that there are customers for the service that Softlife is providing. In fact, there are many laundry service providers already that have been in business for years.
Where Softlife can have the edge is in their offer to collect from anywhere in Harare at no extra cost. You will find the competition offering free collection and delivery only in neighbourhoods close to their premises.
The question then becomes, how much will this transport cost eat into Softlife’s margins?
The Softlife website is a nice touch but with most people living within WhatsApp and Facebook’s gardens it won’t be that much of a big deal. Softlife allows for WhatsApp comms and so should be good there.
Being a new startup Softlife will have to be creative on how they convince people to use the service. It is a bit of an ask to expect someone to part with their money and clothes to a startup they have never worked with before.
However, like it is for every other startup, each successfully completed job increases the chances of going mainstream. Word of mouth is the name of the game. In due time even the most untrusting individuals will be using Softlife or its competitors.
Softlife wants to provide an accredited insurance service of some kind to ease the worries of would-be customers. However, there is no date for when that will happen.
What of mixups and missing clothes?
Softlife takes pictures of the clothes as they are packed to be carted off and an album is created in the name of the customer. Those pictures will be used to confirm that everything that was collected was delivered back.
Softlife has professional laundry taggers on the way. Those should help with keeping track of the laundry.
What do you think about Softlife? Are you as likely to use the service as I am? If not, what would need to be changed for you to use this service or any similar one? Do let us know in the comments section below.