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The London Business News Blog had the opportunity to interview the London-based Domi Co-Living Space Founder and CEO Sanjai Dhar to learn more about the growing demand for co-living spaces in London and the unique community approach Domi Co-Living takes with going green and big.
1. Tell us briefly about Domi Co-Living. What was/is your main motivation & goal and what makes your co-living spaces stand out in London?
Domi Co-Living entered the co-living space in October 2019. We started small, by opening an eight-bedroom house in Charlton, London. Within a week we were at full capacity. The reason being no other co-living properties in London could match us for quality and price. Our goal now is to scale our business by adding more affordable rooms without compromising on quality and comfort. We are green, lean and keen. Three factors that will help us stay motivated and stay relevant.
2. Can you share why you have set up Domi Co-Living in London and more particularly in Greenwich?
Domi Co-Living came into existence when my niece, who was looking to stay and work in London, struggled to find a decent place to live, on a budget that most young professionals start their careers on. We realised that the current co-living market was basically offering shoe boxes for a room and charging their residents a fortune. So our challenge was to:
- Provide decent accommodation at affordable prices.
- Be at a location that is close to transportation for an easy commute.
- Cater to a community that is digitally savvy and environmentally friendly and,
- Above all provide a safe and friendly environment for young professionals starting out their career in a big city that can be lonely and unfriendly.
With these parameters in mind, we looked for a location that would allow us to create this space. We were lucky to find an old Victorian house (the former Conservative club) in Charlton, which was a minute’s walk from the train station. It had a beautiful façade and solid framework and most importantly the potential to create a co-living space that we had in mind. We have a second Edwardian building and land with space for a new build all on the same site that we intend expanding into.
3. Co-Living in London is trending, and renters have different options. How do you ensure that your accommodation is what working professionals are looking for?
We are in this space for the long run. As long as we continue to offer our residents value for money, we will always have our rooms at full capacity. The premise of Domi was to offer young professionals a place that they could call home. You cannot be late to work because the common toilet that you share with 4 other people was occupied, or the bus to the train station was delayed, or the room at night was too hot or too cold or too noisy so you overslept.
We have ticked all the boxes. All our rooms are en-suites. They are large enough for a queen- sized bed that you can walk around. The house itself is a minute’s walk from the train station. The large living room is a perfect place to chill out at the end of a long day. There is a complementary cleaning service and laundry change and all utilities are included in one monthly bill.
4. Domi Co-Living emphasises its strong community that renters are a part of. How does this reflect in the daily living experience?
We are very conscious that the community at Domi is cohesive. This is reflected in our interview process. We take extra care to ensure that our new resident will fit in with the rest of community. The real test of their shared community spirit was evident during the pandemic. When one of our residents tested positive for Covid, the whole house rallied together to look after her needs. From dropping food outside her door, to sending encouraging messages and generally making sure that the isolation period was not too painful. Unsurprisingly, we did not lose a single resident during the pandemic, when more well-known providers were offering fire sale deals to new renters and some other large ones going into Chapter 11.
5. What does Domi Co-Living specifically offer Digital Nomads?
We are a very tech-friendly house. For the digital nomads we offer Klevio locks, operable from their smart phones, so there are no restrictions on their movements in and out of the house. We also offer flexible contracts if they need to leave early or stay longer. Most importantly there are no extra bills to pay. All utilities are covered in one monthly bill. Uniquely, in the co-living space in London, we strongly believe that this one bill is a three digit number and not a four digit one.
6. Where do your residents come from, how long do they tend to stay and what do they usually do professionally?
We are lucky to have residents from different parts of the world. We have nationals from Turkey, India, China, South Korea, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Scotland and England. Most of our residents tend to stay longer than they had initially intended.
7. Domi Co-Living claims it is environmentally friendly by using NIBE air source heat pumps. Can you further explain the advantages?
We are very proud of our green initiative. We took the decision to invest in green energy so that our high entry cost would benefit us in the long run. By installing NIBE air source heat pumps we provide our own hot water and heating by using energy extracted from the air. We are going to sink our own borehole well to satisfy all our water requirements internally.
We will also be putting into place rainwater harvesting and disposal of the bulk of our waste water through soakaways rather than the sewerage system, the use of which will be limited to foul water only. As we scale, we are also looking to composting all our organic waste and only having recyclable waste that will be strictly segregated by category. Once our rear garden is operational and fully planted we intend also keeping bees.
8. What challenges have you faced so far with Domi Co-Living and how have you overcome these?
I think the only challenge we have faced so far is the delay in completing our phase two of Domi due to the pandemic. We are fortunate that our residents are happy and satisfied at Domi. From the initial intake of 8 residents, a few have moved due to their job taking them out of London, or upscaling to a bigger home. We have not lost ANY resident to a competitor.
9. Finally, can you share your biggest achievements and which business goals you hope to achieve within the next 5 years?
We hope that in the next five years we are able to complete phase two and three of our project and provide more affordable co-living for young professionals as well as key workers.
Our biggest achievement is reflected in the testimonials from our current and ex-residents.
Let me quote them as our biggest achievement.
“Domi is a great value for price. Location is amazing. Rooms and communal areas are clean and beautifully decorated. Landlord is helpful and quick to respond. Highly recommend”.
Woj, 32, Current Resident (also our first resident since we opened our doors in October 2019)
“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to yourself, it’s been a pleasure living at Domi and a perfect place to live, it’s very bittersweet leaving (especially saying goodbye to the incredibly comfortable bed), I’ve met some brilliant people who are genuinely long-term friends. I wish you guys all the best in future, thank you so much ☺️ “.
Mary, Ex-resident of Domi
“I’m seriously gonna miss our small community. Thanks again for letting me stay at Domi!”
Henry, Ex-resident of Domi
You can learn more about Domi Co-Living at https://domicoliving.com/ and if you like please share it with your community.
From: Sanjai Dhar CEO Domi Co-living
Domi Co-Living is also listed in our top London Co-Living places list.
- Blogger and Educator by Passion | Senior Online Media & PR Strategist at ClickDo Ltd. | Contributor to many Education, Business & Lifestyle Blogs in the United Kingdom & Germany | Summer Course Student at the London School of Journalism and Course Instructor at the SeekaHost University.
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