Young entrepreneur and investor, Ali Alam Qamar is all set to revolutionise Pakistan’s construction industry with his new venture Zarea.pk. GT’s editor, Mehek Raza Rizvi, speaks to him to find out more
Tell us about your background in Pakistanâ€™s housing construction industry and where the idea to start Zarea.pk came from.Â Â
Pakistanâ€™s construction sector is the backbone of the economy and makes up a huge chunk of the GDP. My relationship with the local construction industry is deep-rooted, since weâ€™re one of the top manufacturers of cement in the country. Iâ€™ve always been appalled by the challenges one faces when constructing a house or any other building and have been wanting to provide a solution. The biggest problem is with the procurement of construction materials due to information asymmetry in the market. People are subject to price discrimination by vendors, various quality issues and delayed deliveries, along with other issues.
The reason I started this venture is for people to overcome these multiple issues, simplify the process of constructing oneâ€™s dream house or project, empower our customers by minimising information asymmetry and set new standards in the industry by providing the most competitive prices, top quality products, fastest delivery and an exceptional customer experience.
What impact do you hope to make on your target industry through Zarea.pk?Â
Zarea.pk strives to digitise the housing construction industry. Zarea.pk intends to redefine the experience of constructing your dream house or project through a hassle-free experience within your budget and in the targeted timeline. We also want to educate our customers on the entire construction process by providing purchasing guides, a cost calculator for materials, informative blog posts and a dedicated customer support team consisting of industry experts available 24/7 to respond to queries.
What are some of the key services you offer?Â
Partnerships with top suppliers: Zarea.pk has partnered with top manufacturers and dealers of construction and finishing materials to provide the best and highly cost-effective solutions for its customers. Zarea.pk provides up to 10% off-market prices and gives 100% quality assurance guarantee.
Dedicated customer support team: Zarea.pk has a dedicated customer support team available via its helpline (0310-22-ZAREA) to address customer queries and complaints.
Express delivery: Zarea.pk guarantees express delivery, so you can construct your dream house or project timely.
Multiple payment options: Zarea.pk has partnered with Bank Alfalah to provide easy and convenient payment solutions for its customers. For the first time, customers can purchase construction materials via a credit/debit card, alfa wallet and online bank transfer.
Full refund: in case of non-satisfaction of its customers, Zarea.pk also provides a full payment refund.
Do you feel most people in Pakistan find online marketplaces reliable?Â
Pakistan currently has 169 million cellular subscribers along with 85 million 3G/4G subscribers and these numbers are growing at a dramatic rate. I feel a lot of online marketplaces have manipulated their customers by not living up to their commitments; this has left a question mark on their reliability. However, Pakistanis are always on the hunt for more competitive, innovative and convenient solutions, which is why I feel it will be a survival of the fittest and weâ€™re in for the long haul.
Whatâ€™re some of the hurdles youâ€™ve faced while establishing your startup?Â
One of the biggest hurdles Iâ€™ve faced is overcoming the conflicting and negative opinions of those who donâ€™t share the vision of a digital Pakistan and are too afraid to take risks. Another hurdle was building the right team of motivated individuals whoâ€™re willing to go the extra mile, strive for out-of-the-box solutions and ultimately take Zarea.pk to the next level.
Where do you hope to see Zarea.pk in the coming years?Â
I hope to see Zarea.pk as a trusted partner from the very minute a client thinks of constructing their house. In the coming years, weâ€™ll strive for horizontal and vertical integration, and I wish to see Zarea.pk on the forefront of spreading and manifesting the vision for a digital Pakistan.
A piece of advice youâ€™d like to give to budding entrepreneurs afraid of taking a risk?Â
I strongly believe in the potential of the Pakistani youth; we can really make a difference in the world. To budding entrepreneurs, Iâ€™d say, â€œBelieve in yourself; accept failure as a challenge and remember, where thereâ€™s a will, thereâ€™s a way.â€