Caesar Fernandes’ company, Wooden Homes India manufactures one of its kind wooden houses, adding value to the tourism sector in Goa
Sustainable tourism is especially important for a small state like Goa. Goa’s economy receives a major boost from the tourism industry.
The wooden cottages because of its aesthetic value attract tourists coming in as they prefer living closer to nature. ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ translating to dynamic of host-guest relationship and develop a sense of responsibility towards your guests, is what the tourism industry believes in. Wooden cottages have played a vital role in enabling hoteliers to earn better RoI compared to temporary plywood huts or unplanned concrete structures.
Wooden Homes India began as a means to set standards in fabricated wooden homes. If you have a plot of land and are looking to construct a home, you know that it could be a rather expensive affair. Not only do you need to source and procure all the raw materials, but you need to find the labour, and competent architects as well. All this could take months of planning, construction, and lakhs of rupees before your house is ready. But what if there was a way to have all of this done for a fraction of the cost, and a fraction of the time as well using a different medium – wood. That’s where Wooden Homes India comes in.
Founded by Caesar Fernandes, the company manufactures pre-fabricated wooden cottages and homes, and were the first to start one of its kind modern manufacturing facilities in India.
Goa’s tourism industry received a fillip because of the natural beauty, white sand beaches and the warm hospitality of the locals. It was never an organised sector; Local people defined hospitality by allowing tourists to stay in their homes and provide them with delicious food from their kitchens.
Over the years, the industry grew and the locals expanded to make bamboo or bamboo ‘chatai’ huts in their compounds to meet the demands of the growing tourism sector.
Caesar goes on to elaborate about the idea behind Wooden Homes India. “On my visit to beaches like Palolem and Agonda, I was surprised to see that these homestay structures made of bamboo /bamboo chatai had no aesthetic, no toilets attached and absolutely no safety. I wondered how people could stay or even pay for these structures. We felt that the industry would die a natural death if change does not set in, and I began looking for solution which would not only have basic amenities, safety but also be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. We had a vision to see a change in the industry, to see that tourists experience the beauty of our beaches, enjoy a comfortable stay and recommend Goa to their friends and family, thus allowing the industry to grow and be sustainable.”
Today Caesar’s company has done various projects across India, adding value to the tourism industry and for the client who earn better returns on investments (RoI).
Wooden Homes India provides various products and services apart from their customised wooden cottages. They deal in allied products like furniture, bio digester which is DRDO approved, Kessel oil and Grease separator.
The USP of Caesar’s business which sets him apart from others in a similar business is the technique and technology, quality of materials used, method of construction, service timelines and the after sale services provided.
When it comes to pricing, Caesar’s company normally quotes the price in 2 ways depending on the client’s requirement:
1) The basic structure cost includes all walls and the wall partition, the doors windows, roof, complete with assembling; and
2) Turnkey Projects: This includes the cost of the structure and other amenities required for a finished product which is ready in all aspects to move in.
Speaking on the process that goes into building a wooden house begins with conceiving the idea, conceptualising the thought process, to delivering the final product and as per set and committed timelines.
The material used to build these wooden houses is high density wood which is FSC certified and is sustainable forest produce. The material is sourced from Europe and Asia.
Projects of these kinds normally requires proper communication channels to keep the client in the loop at every stage of constructions right from design, building and lastly warranty. Caesar explains, “Upon confirmation of order, a WhatsApp group is opened with the client and the core team members. All updates are posted on the group by the client and the teams to ensure all are on the same page.”
Like all other businesses, Caesar had his share of challenges and roadblocks. “The journey has been a challenging one, right from promoting the product, procurement of materials, and the issue of licenses of CRZ or panchayat area.
I thank God for providing divine favour and wisdom to deal with all of these situations, as maneuvering each situation was a task by itself.”
The promotion of the product took him 1.5 year to sell their first 7 units, as it was difficult for people to believe and invest from bamboo/chatai huts to proper cottages, but building relations and convincing people to try, has helped Caesar to grow sales. The same clients would bring in referrals for him thus becoming his brand ambassadors.
Most of Caesar’s prefabrication before production in Goa was imported and a couple of times he has had bitter experiences which led him to learn the process and start manufacturing in India.
In order to build a successful business, Caesar maintains that one must have a few requirements like having a great team, good supply chain, genuineness of the product, value for price paid, a healthy relationship with one’s customers, helping clients grow through one’s products and excellent after sales customer service.
With regards to his future plans, Caesar wants to build production capacity, venture into export markets and meet the trends of the market with new designs.”