For most people, starting a new job means time spent looking for all the personal documents they need to give to their new HR department. For workers moving from job to job in industries like construction and mining where up to date documentation is crucial for compliance purposes, the paperwork process can be downright stressful.
New Australian startup TradePapers wants to solve the problem. The startup, cofounded by Amy Athar and her husband Zubyer, has created an app that allows users to take and store images of licenses, tickets, and other documents direct into the app.
These images are stored as high resolution, which means they can be clearly viewed when emailed to relevant parties – it seems basic, but at the current process works, these documents are scanned, printed, and photocopied so often that they’re barely legible by the time they reach HR departments or site offices, creating a compliance risk for companies which can, in turn, delay mobilisation on sites. That, or they’re stored on easily-lost USBs.
Amy Athar said the idea came from years working in the transport and construction industries, where she noticed this issue become a “frustrating flaw”.
“There was no relevant way to keep qualifications in order and be able to access them at anytime, from any site, no matter how remote. All of the current systems in place were either job board related or company specific, there was nothing for the worker no matter who they worked for or what their circumstance was,” she said.
“My husband, who works in industrial human resources and recruitment and also had some background in the transport industry, also recognised the gap in the market for a cloud-based solution that workers could access and share using their smartphones.”
Athar said it often happens that tradies turning up to work on a site will need to go through a costly and time-consuming site induction because they don’t have evidence of being inducted previously.
With neither of the Athars coming from a tech background, the cofounders worked with a development company to create the app after raising a small amount of funding from private investors.
As well as storage facilities, TradePapers looks to make sure a worker’s paperwork is up to date. The app begins sending out automatic push notifications three months out from a license or ticket needing renewal; at three months these notifications are fortnightly, one month out they’re weekly, and then one week out they’re daily.
The app, which costs $2.99 to download, allows users to upload up to 10 documents and 10 additional reminders. In-app purchases are available to allow for greater storage and more reminders, while a premium version letting users upload documents and images direct from their computers is set for release in the coming weeks.
With tradies becoming techier than stereotypes may suggest, a number of apps and platforms targeting the industrial sector have emerged over the last few years. From job search sites to ‘LinkedIn for tradies’ platforms and those helping users send and track invoices, there’s no shortage of tools available. Paperwork platforms in particular are seemingly all the rage, with Queensland startups iCompLii and Qualuon just two similar startups looking to tackle the compliance document problem. Of course, there’s also huge players like Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive to compete against.
However, Athar believes it’s the simplicity of TradePapers, combined with the reminders feature, that sets her app apart.
“The reminder service that the user is able to self manage, and the direct high resolution email service within the app sets us apart as it is not linked to any company, website, or job board. The user, once they have downloaded the app at a small cost, is in full control of their documents and there is no need to send them to anyone for upload, they control the process themselves within the app,” she said.
“Our direct ‘tradie paperwork management’ competition in the Australian market is either job board related, which would limit the user when they are required to use their documents outside of this service, or the web based factor from other service providers we feel would increase time to actually get the documents into the platform, whereas we designed the app for quick and instant access, and the uploading and downloading of documents.”
With TradePapers launching globally from the get go, Athar said social media and word of mouth are the key methods being used to market the app. Both the Athars’ connections in the industry will also be sure to serve them in good stead.
“We have already had considerable success building a social media base and great feedback internationally with several multinational firms contacting us to test the app for use in their organisations. Training and recruitment managers have been contacting us to start recommending the use of the app to their workforce which further validated the need for a low cost, high quality, self management smartphone based system for their workforce,” Athar said.
At the moment, the cofounders hope to solidly establish TradePapers in industrial markets, with expansion into different sectors dependent on interest shown by different companies.
Athar said, “TradePapers applications are for industrial-based work sites anywhere in the world and can also be used in other industries where contract workers need to provide proof of current qualifications and tickets such as nursing, child care, and security.”
Image: Amy Athar. Source: Supplied.