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article imageWhat you need to know about on-demand home services

By Mike Rossi     Oct 7, 2014 in Business
Three years ago, what did it take to hire a ride on Friday night? For many people, it involved an awkward, probably unanswered, phone call to a local taxi company or eyesight keen enough to spot a fare-free cabbie on the street.
Now think about what it takes to get that lift today.
With nothing more than a smartphone and the right app, consumers can arrange for a ride in just a few short swipes of the finger.
By focusing on convenience and customer experience, companies like Uber, Lyft and Flywheel have turned the transportation industry upside down without having to reinvent the wheel.
Significantly improving the process of business has allowed Uber and its imitators to, not just break into, but dominate urban transit-for-hire services, while the keeping fundamental product — a ride in an automobile from point A to point B — unchanged.
In much the same way, new ventures like Thumbtack, HomeJoy and Pro.com are trying to bring an Uber-esque transformation to the home services industry.
The ability to hire on-demand home services — from house cleaning to grocery delivery — has exploded in the last 18 months.
Now more than ever homeowners are turning to apps, digital marketplaces and re-imagined local registers to identify, consult with, and ultimately hire the professionals required to address their needs.
Investors and entrepreneurs alike have clued in on the fact consumers spend up to “$300 billion annually on home improvement and general maintenance” in the US alone. The allure of those dollars has drawn down big time capital backing for companies seeking to carve out their chunk of the multi-billion dollar pie.
It’s how Thumbtack coerced a $100 million dollar investment from Google Capital just a month ago and how HomeJoy inked $38 million dollars in Series A funding last December.
It’s why Jeff Bezos jumped into the fray with Amazon Fresh and Amazon Local Services.
And the surge in growth hasn’t been limited to the United States either.
UK-based Hassle and Mopp connect individual contractors and consumers, an approach mirroring the strategy employed by American companies Thumbtack and HomeJoy respectively.
Or take Australia-based TrustedCleaner which provides a free local marketplace for consumers to peruse vetted, certified and locally-sourced cleaning companies, much in the same way Amazon’s Local Services hopes to operate.
Looking ahead, it seems as though both the HomeJoy/Thumbtack and the Amazon/TrustedCleaner models will appeal to consumers across a broad spectrum. Some will undoubtedly prefer the point-click-hire concept of a HomeJoy, while others lean towards the more thoughtful, local-market style of a TrustedCleaner.
As the technology and associated services continue to evolve, this progression towards the full digitization of home service hire will only accelerate.
More about Uber, lyft, Taxi, homejoy, Tech
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