Czech app matches repairmen with customers – and seeks to boost durability

17-09-2018

Opravárna is a new Czech app, which matches handymen to repair requests sent from across the country. The app has been quick to catch on and currently has nearly a thousand handymen registered. Yet Opravárna is not just a savvy business idea, but one of the ways in which the Czech Republic can contribute to the EU’s plan for achieving a more circular economy.

Whether it is sewing up trousers, fixing the sink, or repairing a broken phone screen, the website Opravárna boasts a network of diverse handymen across the country that can fix it.

The system is simple. The customer pays CZK 49 for posting the request into the database, after which the website connects him to the closest and most relevant repairman.

Jan Charvát, who founded the young business, says he got the idea a few years ago when he saw a repair café in the Netherlands. He brought the concept to the Czech Republic, where he founded his start up, but the variety of products meant the range of expertise needed to be widened.

“I wasn’t happy with the reparability of some things, especially electrical products, so we made a website called opravarna.cz, which joined our customers with repairmen. A year later we have about 960 repairmen registered.”

The idea of creating an online network of individuals offering services is nothing original, but the Czech repair hub is seen by the country’s government as an exemplary app that can help bring the EU’s circular economy package into existence.

For this reason a new project has been started by Opravárna in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, as well as the Czech Consumer Association and a number of retailers, called Opravme Česko (Let’s Repair the Czech Republic).

Jan Charvát, photo: Eva Dvořáková / Czech RadioJan Charvát, photo: Eva Dvořáková / Czech Radio The program received an endowment of CZK 1.18 million from the ministry and seeks to keep products on the market for as long as possible, while also ensuring that, once discarded, they are handed over to a specialised recycling facility.

Mr. Charvát believes Opravárna has a useful role to play in this.

“Everything depends on us, the customers, and we are having to change products every two years. Therefore, we have decided to give customers some information about the quality of the products. For example we will give them information on which products are easily repairable.

“At the same time, every year, we will give out information on junk products, which can’t be repaired either way.”

The idea also sits well with the European Commission’s circular economy plan, whose primary goal is to strengthen the union’s self-sufficiency in raw materials.

17-09-2018