With the holidays fast approaching, most companies are gearing down a bit, eventually closing completely in the week between Christmas and New Year.

But what happens when you have a residential emergency like a burst geyser or a severely blocked drain pipe? Well, that is where Pretoria-based entrepreneur Francois Briers and his ‘Helpout‘ app come in. The aim of Helpout is to set residents up with handy-men in the area to fix all sorts of issues that a homeowner might have.

The app instantly identifies people close to you who offer the service you need.  Click on the button and help from an expert electrician, plumber or even taxi service provider is on the way. Your chosen provider will arrive, tools in hand, ready to get to work or assist.

Essentially, the app tries to take the hassle out of searching the internet for a company that’s willing to help, and puts you in touch with service providers close to you.

“The major advantage of HelpOut App is that it searches your geographical area for suppliers and lets you know just where they are. So, you avoid the situation where a tradesman or other service provider is using a website to trawl for business when he could be an hour or more’s drive away from your home,” Briers explains.

But using such a service does come with a bit of a security risk, as essentially you will be allowing a total stranger to enter your home. Briers is aware of the concern, and explained that all the service providers on the ‘HelpOut’ app have been checked and vetted.

“Security is a major issue these days. People just don’t want to invite people they know nothing about into their homes. Using HelpOut App ensures that the services you need are delivered by people who have been fully screened and have companies that are ethical and have good service reputations. Risks are therefore minimised,” he said.

To add to the security, a rating system will be added so that users can rate and recommend suppliers.

The services on ‘HelpOut’ are currently available in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth. The app is available for free on Android and iOS.

[Image – CC by 2.0/Jason Rhode]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.