Here’s our expert take on what it takes to build a stellar on-demand home services app ecosystem.

Premise:

The on-demand gig economy has grossly disrupted consumer behavior. We now discover and consume services radically different than a few years ago.

Consider the example of our online search preferences. Research indicates that the majority of online shopping search and product discovery now happens on Amazon directly. This is in contrast with Google’s traditionally dominant position as the go-to authority for searches and look-ups.

Let’s consider Facebook – the omnipotent on-demand social media sharing and updates platform. It’s so powerful that despite having a zero-physical-inventory setup, it has been able to successfully go through an IPO and offer substantial shareholder value. The magic is the humongous user base and Facebook’s ability to monetize its platforms through ads, paid apps such as games and similar means, without directly charging the users. Now consider this: Generation Z – the new kids on the block – doesn’t consider Facebook as their go-to medium to share updates and interact with their peers. They choose to go to SnapChat and Instagram for their social relevance.

The pattern is clear – shifting loyalties as new technology and means of communication, search and engagement appear on the horizon.

  • What worked for Google 10 years ago, doesn’t work today?
  • What worked for Facebook 10 years ago, doesn’t work today?
  • What worked for retail 10 years ago, doesn’t work today?

On-demand products have lured the customers away from traditional setups with the promise of instant gratification and a huge convenience.

Amazon bought WholeFoods and has begun to introduce payment-less shopping experience placing convenience, speed, and user experience above all else.

Where we stand today:

Uber introduced the concept of an on-demand taxi in 2009, not many years after the first touch-screen mobile device was introduced. And, there’s no looking back. Uber is the true blue blood of the on-demand economy.

Other industry verticals have followed suit and introduced their on-demand equivalents – UberEats, Postmates, Wag, TaskRabbit, Handy, Fiverr, Lyft, Via, Door Dash, Instacart, Zillok, Maven, AirBnB, Turo, GetAround, etc.

These are some of the top on-demand service apps standing tall in 2018.

The idea being that each industry vertical has been disrupted and there’s exponential potential for disruption still waiting to happen.

On-Demand Home Services:

Let’s consider on-demand home services – plumbing, cleaning, electrical, security, laundry, pest control, internet, car wash, carpenter, pool cleaning, etc. There’s a huge market for these services since historically it has not been convenient to find handymen and service providers when you need them. If your drain is clogged now, getting a plumber to come in for a prelim inspection the following Monday simply does not work.

For working couples, getting their house cleaned and sorted on their schedule is a huge win. Step out for work in the morning, come back in the evening and the dishes are done, the carpet is vacuumed, the bathroom is shiny clean – can you say no to this?

What then as a product owner should you consider when starting out to launch such an app?

Let’s look at some of the core components.

1. Always think in terms of a product platform and not just an app. The mobile app is one component of the prospective ecosystem that the customers would use to engage with the platform, there are a bunch of other moving parts, too, and you need to understand and get a hold of them.

2. Think of transactions. Your on-demand home services product platform needs to generate transactions. A transaction is a unit of trade of your platform. For a transaction to happen, you need to have producers and consumers.

3. A producer provides something of value to your platform such as a plumber, an electrician, a cleaner, etc.

4. A consumer consumes the value provided by the producer. Customers are the consumers.

5. As the product owner/administrator, your only job is to facilitate transactions. Lots of them.

Needless to say, for transactions to happen, the on-demand home services product platform needs to have both consumers and producers. Having just one set of participants or an uneven mix of both is not going to work. Imagine what would happen if Uber’s on-demand taxi platform only had 1 driver (producer) and 1000 customers (consumers).  Or, if there were 100 drivers and only 10 customers.

A healthy on-demand home services platform will have a good mix of both producers (also called service providers) and consumers. There needs to be sufficient demand for producers to be happy to stick with the platform and render their services, and there needs to be a sufficient number of producers on the platform for the consumers to get their requirements addressed in a timely fashion. Managing this mix requires a solid technical foundation for the platform as well as seasoned product curation for the on demand product.

Here’s a rundown of salient features and to-dos to keep in mind while building your on demand home services product:

1.Ease of onboarding – let customers/consumers sign up using their email ids, phone numbers, facebook account, google account, etc. Make it as flexible as possible.

2. Ease of verification – let the customers validate their accounts using OTPs or email verification links easily and unobtrusively.

3. Do not ask for credit cards during the boarding process. It is not required and hurts the trust in the platform.

4. Allow the consumers to test the on demand home services app for free – do not charge for the first service or two. This is the cost that the platform will bear but will help in the longer scheme of things.

5. Make the services billing transparent. Do not hide charges under small print. Let the customers know the cost up front if it’s fixed or the hourly rate if it’s variable and an indication of how long a job takes so they have a good idea of the expected bill.

6. Create a feedback loop for the consumers to leave feedback on the services received and their experience with the platform.

7. On the producer side of things, onboard quality service providers on your on demand home services platform. Do a strict quality check and set up high expectations.Keep the platform margin on the lower side, to begin with, and pass on maximum benefit to the service provider. As the platform matures over time, standardize the platform fee to a sweet spot (around 20-30%).

8. Allow service providers to provide feedback about each job. The feedback loop has to be two-way.

9. Allow scheduled bookings as well on true on-demand services.

11. Target both iOS and Android for your customer and service provider apps. You may begin with one of the two mobile platforms during launch phase (selection based on geography, market penetration, etc.), but quickly (after gaining critical mass) add the other mobile ecosystem to prevent customer and service provider alienation.

12. Start small with a couple of cities. Scale once you’ve proven the concept and mastered service delivery.

13. Allow multiple payment options, including cash on service delivery to make it super flexible for customers and service providers.

14. Use advanced analytics to learn more about customer behavior, service provider preferences, and other markers to assist you in the evolution and scaling up of your on-demand home services product.

15. Continually improve user experience and focus on customer satisfaction. Place the customers in the center of your universe.

To learn more about on demand apps development and on-demand home services app platform, reach out to our product specialists.

Ready to create the next big thing?

LET'S TALK