Uber is revolutionizing the taxi industry, AirBnB is changing the accommodation industry, Facebook is influencing how we communicate with each other and AliBaba is changing how retailers source inventory. All these technology companies are changing industries. Is it for the better? You be the judge. Today I wanted to take a look at another industry – the home services industry. How is technology – smartphone apps in particular – changing the way we choose who to hire to come and clean our windows, carpets and mow our lawns? First we’ll talk about how we used to choose and then we’ll talk about who is leading the pack how we choose now and what will the landscape look like in 15 years?
How People Are Choosing Who To Hire
Just 10 years ago the majority of people would hire a carpet cleaner either by word of mouth recommendation or the yellow pages. Those were the options. Today, the majority of us search in Google and read online reviews for who to hire. This is huge huge huge business. Think of the sheer number of cities and towns in the world and then multiply that by the number of home services you hire for. Today the big players are Yelp, Thumbtack and Google itself. These websites and apps have tons of companies in their databases and tons of reviews for each.
If you’re a lawn care specialist and you rip-off a customer you can be sure that person will write a scathing review somewhere on the internet. So technology has improved our ability to make the right choice. Let’s look at a few example how technology has changed some specific home services.
Building Exterior Cleaning and Care
A very common service people pay for is window cleaning, lawn care and home exterior cleaning like pressure washing your driveway.
You have some options: rent the equipment and do the job yourself, buy the equipment and do it yourself or hire someone to do the job for you. Let’s look at the costs involved with pressure washing your driveway. You can pick up a Kaercher medium-duty 1800psi power washer for $200. You can rent a Generac Power Systems heavy-duty unit for $80/day. Or you can pay a pressure washing contractor about $100 to do it all for you. Which do you choose? Because of technology you can now go online and start to ask contractors for quote and start to see how long it will take to make a booking. Using Yelp you can read reviews to make the decision. Back 10 years ago you would have to ring the contractor to make a booking and most of the time you would have to leave a message and then wait for call back. Today, Thumbtack cover all this and sends your job to 4 or 5 contractors who then bid on your job. You become the boss.
Equipment Rental Industry
Let’s say you hate doing maintenance on equipment so you just hire it. If you look at what Uber does it is quite likely something similar will happen in the garden equipment industry. You’ll have an app that shows equipment your neighbors have up to hire then you can book it in for like $20 a day… A fraction of the Home Depot rental cost and more convenient – they live down the street. This will revolutionize the small power equipment industry and it even has entries into things like vacuums and the like.
The Sharing Economy
This technological revolution where everyone has access to everything is called the sharing economy. You make small amounts of money by sharing what you have with others. It is coming and it will change everything.