The on-demand market is absolutely saturated with service providers and online platforms connecting people to everything from doctors to dog walkers. The global on-demand market is estimated to be worth $9.4 billion globally, which is mostly made possible through mobile services and apps.
Founders of these on-demand services must consider three important aspects like customer experience, cost, and regulation if they wish to take on this sector and challenge the traditional players.
One of the big barriers for entry into market has formerly been regulation, however much of that previous red tape is being pulled apart, which has contributed to the rise of Australia’s on-demand service sector. NSW, for example, is currently setting up a policy framework to regulate the sharing economy after last December legalising Uber.
Australia has also been an inviting landscape for services like Airtasker to grow and expand its community marketplace. Last week the startup announced it had reached a $1 million sales milestone thanks to people’s acceptance and familiarity with the sharing economy, with 500,000 members now signed up. Airtasker also announced a 30 percent quarter-on-quarter growth over the past 12 months.
The shift in the way Australians consume good and services has paved the way for Sydney startup UrbanYou to also reach $1 million worth of sales and over 30,000 booked hours. It seems like the million dollar mark is the first milestone for these startups and is an effort made possible through connecting services and businesses in real time to customers.
Noga Edelstein, cofounder of UrbanYou believes that the milestone marks a coming of age for the on-demand service sector.
“In a relatively short period of time, the sector has taken flight. The Uber effect helped pave the way for on-demand businesses in Australia to disrupt existing markets from home services to food and pets. Reaching $1 million in sales over such a short period is very exciting and shows there is a hunger for the sharing economy among Aussie consumers,” he said.
UrbanYou is an on-demand cleaning and gardening service provider connecting people to pre-approved professionals for a job as early as the next day. Like most on-demand services UrbanYou came out of the frustration with previous online searching and booking systems.
Users enter the UrbanYou website and select a service they need, whether that be cleaning or gardening. From details availability can be determined and a pre-approved quote can be confirmed and paid for through a credit card transaction. This whole process takes 60 seconds to complete to allow consumers to book and pay for services during their work hours.
The platform, like many other on-demands, takes a 20 percent commission on all services.
The Sydney startup has recently gone through a facelift and changed its name from UrbanSource to UrbanYou after securing a $500,000 seed funding in an oversubscribed round led by Grand Prix Capital six months ago.
Since launch in 2014 the on-demand cleaning and gardening service has observed its model and its consumers, with the rebrand part of a pivot to deliver popular services and streamline the category service line.
Cofounder of UrbanYou Elke Keeley explained that the difference between the two models is the target market.
“The difference between the two models is the first one was pretty much trying to cater for everyone and everything, whereas this one’s been very streamlined and we’ve focused on the core areas that we found were the most popular,” she said.
UrbanYou now focuses on two main categories, cleaning and gardening. For example, with cleaning the sub categories are end-of-lease cleaning, holiday change over cleaning, spring cleaning and carpet cleaning. Then likewise with gardening is landscaping, lawn-mowing and maintenance.
“We really focused on those areas, and that’s where the rebrand came from, because ultimately, in the heart we’re a services business, so it is all about you,” Keeley said
The revamped platform introduces greater automation to its booking process for both consumers and pre-screened service professionals, which has paved the way for a national rollout.
“We’ve focused our efforts on perfecting the model across Sydney,” said Edelstein. “That has proven very successful with over 90 percent of trial users converting to regular customers and over 90 perccent rating their experience as four or five stars.”
UrbanYou will now be hitting other metro cities in Australia. With such a centralised platform, Keeley believes the rollout will be quite easy to do and will focus on leveraging a significant chunk in the market. Unlike Airtasker’s community of more or less unprofessional handymen and task doers, UrbanYou is all about connecting the professional cleaners and gardeners.
“I think the Australian market itself is such a significant market that before we even think about going to global, there’s just so much opportunity locally too really. We really, from an on-demand perspective, it’s really new out here so there’s such great opportunity to explore here first,” said Keeley.
UrbanYou will also be focusing on its partnership strategy and is currently looking at getting strong players on board to help expand its reach. Keeley believes that the on-demand industry is something that’s expected to cover every service, and as a way to stay ahead of the game UrbanYou will be personalising each service.
Customer service is also a key area of focus and offering flexibility in a market where the standard nine-to-five work day is no longer the norm is a must.
Keeley said, “What we’re able to provide is a platform where they can opt in not out to accept jobs, so they can really work their own schedules to their own schedules and they can build their business as fast or slow as they choose. So giving providers the complete flexibility, as the users having control effectively too.”
Image: UrbanYou Team. Source: Supplied.