The article was updated on May 25, 2023.
One question to start us off with: how do you feel when you have to clean your house or go grocery shopping during your weekends? Probably, that is not what you consider your perfect day-off, and we totally understand why. On-demand service apps appeared to help people take some daily chores off their shoulders, and now this market is booming.
Shifting priorities, heavy workloads, and opportunities to make things a little easier – these factors lead people all over the world to the online on-demand services. At the same time, these tendencies inspire lots of entrepreneurs to take a closer look. How about you?
Here you will find the overview of modern on-demand service apps, a list of the vital features, and step-by-step instructions on how to build your on-demand service app.
Any on-demand application does not provide specific services – it works as a mediator between a service provider and a consumer. With time, the services list gets longer, and now people can order food delivery, taxi, healthcare services, and many others.
In terms of on-demand home services, the market becomes more and more diverse with time. According to Technavio, the niche’s year-over-year growth is estimated at 32,14%, and 38% of the future growth will originate from the Asia-Pacific region.
The roles in the on-demand services business model are cast this way:
- Service provider: an individual who does the work.
- End user (consumer): an individual who needs a certain service.
- Vendor aggregator: a platform where two sides can communicate.
The workflow for these sides consists of the following steps:
- The consumer enters a platform and places a request for the work to be done.
- This request is published on the platform so service providers could see them.
- The service provider accepts the terms of this work, and the consumer gets a notification.
- Then, the consumer makes an online payment within the app. For now, this is an authorized payment.
- The service provider finishes the work.
- The end user confirms the service delivery.
- The payment is delivered only after the consumer’s confirmation.
Domestic tasks are very diverse and so are the on-demand home service platforms. So what would an Uber for home service look like? We have lots of examples to share.
1. General services
Here you can find people for various tasks that usually do not require specific professional knowledge: cleaning, dog walking, minor repairs, etc. In other words, you can find service providers for different needs within one on-demand app.
- Urban Company
2. Food or grocery delivery
Customers can order the list of groceries from nearby shops or ready-made meals from cafes and restaurants. On the one hand, people do not have to leave their places to get any food they want, on the other, business owners can raise their revenues by using delivery services.
- Uber Eats
These platforms specialize solely in cleaning services that can be ordered for the same day, booked beforehand, or according to a certain subscription (on a regular basis).
- Merry Maids
4. Construction and renovation
These platforms will provide you with quotes and services for any construction (bigger projects) or renovation (smaller projects) undertakings you have in mind.
- Smart reno
5. Interior design
Such aggregators connect users with experts who provide a full spectrum of interior design services: visualization, a customized shopping list, assistance in finding and buying necessary items, etc.
Service providers of these on-demand marketplaces will help you move any amount of furniture whether you are moving from/to a house or an apartment.
Service providers come to your place and pick necessary items which will then be stored for a needed amount of time.
8. Tech support
Here you will find specialists providing a full range of home tech maintenance: computer and smartphone support, TV mounting, tech install (video doorbells, smart security cams, thermostats, etc.).
Other, more specialized platforms may include laundry, repair, lawn care, house painting, and subscription home management services.
The functionality of the future app is equally important for service providers, end users, and app admins. These are the features to consider first.
End user app
- Task creation: This is the consumer’s first step, so it should be intuitive and simple to finish. Provide the task creation box with all necessary information and extra description to add if necessary.
- Search filters: Filters are the best way to get users closer to service providers. Search criteria may include speciality, work cost, distance, etc. The filters’ complexity depends on the app’s type: the more services you want to provide, the more filters you need to add.
- Geolocation: It is a way to help consumers find help nearby. Your app automatically filters out the service providers located within several miles.
- Scheduling: Not every user needs service right away – we all should stick to our schedules. In this case, time options would be handy. And it will help service providers plan their workload more effectively.
- Notifications: Consumers should be aware of everything that happens to their order: if it is approved and the payment was successful, they can leave their review, etc. Users do not have to check the app all the time – the app itself informs them in real-time.
- Payment options: Credit and debit cards, cash and wallets – all these payment options should be available for the user with the maximum security level.
- Reviews and ratings: No matter if the service was good or bad, consumers should have an opportunity to leave their rating and opinion. These reviews eventually create a reputation for the service provider and let other consumers be more confident about their choice.
- Tech support: Include as many helping materials as you can: starting from a simple FAQ to chat and helpline support.
Service provider app
- Quick sign-up: Try to ease up the registration process. It can be a registration with social media and a short list of questions for the start, relating solely to the person’s specialization. Then, quick approval from the platform, and providers start getting their first assignments.
- Provider’s profile: It is a page where consumers would see the provider’s expertise, reviews and ratings, hourly fee, and a list of areas where this provider is available.
- Availability calendar: It is a part of the provider’s profile essential not only for clients but for providers as well: it is a working calendar they can rely on.
- Notifications: Just like consumers, service providers should be informed about any news: when they get a request, receive payments, and can leave feedback.
- Messaging: You can provide a more secure experience for both sides if all their communication is held within the app. Users can discuss cost or work details before it starts for everyone to be on the same page.
- Feedback: Service providers should also have an opportunity to leave reviews on consumers to let other people know if this client is trustworthy.
Admin panel features
- Dashboard: It is vital for any app and serves as a control center for the most crucial indicators: the number of registered consumers and service providers, number of orders, total profit, etc.
- Accounts of service providers: First and foremost, from here you should approve new providers. This is also a place to manually add new providers and manage their accounts.
- Payments: Here you will control service commissions and the security of every payment made within the app.
- Reviews: Every review counts and it allows for an opportunity to make a conclusion about app users and act accordingly. For example, users with the highest number of positive reviews can get a badge of the “top expert” or “top client”. At the same time, you can mark those providers who get more negative reviews than others.
- Promotions: Various types of discounts may work as an effective promotional tool. To figure out if you benefit from it, you should track every discount you give and then gather statistics.
- Analytics: Days, weeks, months – every time period has its business analytics. If you have this feature in the admin panel, you will regularly get useful insights, track your progress, and notice work shortcomings.
Before developers start coding, there are several decisions to make. The steps we are describing below will show you how to eventually make a list of the app’s features based on your business goals and target audience needs.
1. Find out more about your target audience
One of the business planning challenges you will face is that you have two types of customers: those who provide the service and those who need to delegate some house chores.
Therefore, when exploring the market, find answers to these questions:
- What is their age and social status?
- What challenges do they deal with on a daily basis?
- How will your marketplace help them cope with this challenge?
- What is the main expectation service providers might have from your platform?
To systematize this information, you have to create user personas: this is an ideal model of the person who uses your services. You can create a table where you put customer models (students, housewives, full-time office workers, etc.) with the answers to the four questions above.
The characteristics will be completely different for customer categories, but they will eventually bring you to the second step – the value you are going to offer.
2. Define the key value of your product
You have several user personas described – now you should pick one to move further with. The challenges your customers deal with are the main driving forces in creating your value proposition.
Use these tips to make up your mind regarding your marketplace’s offering:
- See the alternative. Before making a thorough analysis of your competitors, look at the big picture. The online market is not exactly your limit: before looking for services online, consumers may have had some offline propositions, and they may still exist. What is happening with them now? Who are their clients? What would you add if you were a client of your competitor?
- Find out what else you can offer. What happens before end users pick a service provider or close the deal and write a review? It is a good idea to check your clients’ journey from the very beginning once again and help them along the way.
- Pay attention to the emotional aspect. People come for high quality but they will stay for the details that make a difference. Using a personal approach is a way to create special relationships with your target audience.
3. Analyze market competitors
First, you should start with a simple list and add any of your existing competitors. It does not matter if they work on a similar market or have a slightly different focus: direct and indirect competitors form your competitive field.
You should then take a closer look at each of your competitors:
- What is their main specialization?
- What are their strong sides?
- What are their weaknesses?
By analyzing all these businesses one after another, you will start to realize what they are missing. It can be one service or a combination of services. Either way, it has great potential to become one of your strengths.
4. Pick a monetization model
You have one specific target audience and one value proposition – now it is time to pick a monetization model. This model should not seem suspicious or disadvantageous for users; they should clearly realize what they are getting with their payment.
Monetization options include the following:
- Commissions for payment: a platform adds its charge to the provider’s work cost. For example, if the hourly fee is $20 and the platform’s charge is 15%, then consumers see the final fee of $23.
- Lead fee: it means that providers pay to offer their services to the request published by consumers.
- Subscription: consumers pay a fixed amount of money every week or month and get a certain range of house services.
5. Pave the user journey
When you know a lot about your target audience and their needs, use this knowledge when building a user journey: it is a step-by-step experience of your clients when they use your app or website.
Before taking this step, remember that you should think like your users with all their needs and habits.
The four aspects to consider for the user journey:
- Context: An environment forms around the users when they open your app. It involves certain circumstances and feelings that appear when using the app.
- Motivation: This is the main drive to use your product and choose it over other competitors.
- Mental models: This is how your clients expect your app to operate, and you should predict their expectations.
- Pain points: Here you can finally respond to the challenges you described when analyzing your customers. How will your on-demand marketplace app help customers overcome their challenges?
Now we can move on further. Use the tables above and “put them on” your app’s interface:
- Make a list of actions necessary to make after appearing on the starting page of your app. One by one, you should consider every page your customers will use.
- While users interact with a certain page, how do they feel? What decisions do they have to make? The actions people make within the app (or with business in general) are called touchpoints.
- Now describe how all touchpoints make customers a little closer to handling their pain points.
- Your main task is to analyze everything you have just described and find space for improvement. Have you noticed that at some point users will have doubts about their next step? Figure out how to eliminate that. Are some pain points bigger than others? Make it the highest priority in your work.
6. Proceed to the user flow
It can be confusing at first: what is the difference between user flow and journey? User flow is a more technical concept that includes solely the list of user actions without mentioning doubts, feelings, or emotions. This is a simple route from point A (a sign-up page) to point B (leaving a review).
The user flow is created in the form of a special diagram (flowchart) that visually demonstrates the user experience, action by action. At this moment, many designers prefer moving further: they use wireframes and mockups.
User flows allow you to
- build up the story of every user persona;
- notice and correct shortcomings;
- create the pages’ hierarchy;
- decide on the app’s vital features.
7. Bring out the features
And finally, on-demand service app development starts after you decide on the final set of features. We have described the basic set above, and now you have a thorough research of your market and audience to add something extra.
Making the list of features without the first six steps is possible but will lead you nowhere. You are just risking launching a product already available on the market or worthless for customers.
We would like to add a few more words if you are all ready to start negotiations with the development team. Keep this in mind before the big start.
The smaller you start, the further you get
When you are only at the beginning of your way, you should test the waters first, i.e., focus on one niche. It does not necessarily mean providing only one type of service – it can also be a limited location (city) or a very specific target audience.
Only after you feel confident in this small market, you can expand a little and try out new opportunities.
For example, Askfortask focused on students as service providers. While the platform was growing, it gained enough reputation to attract professional experts.
Taskrabbit picked a limited territory and consumer audience – these were mothers living in Boston. Now it is an on-demand service known throughout the US.
Do not rely on ready-made templates
When you are on the MVP building stage, the idea to make it faster and use a ready-made template seems very tempting, but it is better not to pick this route.
Now you are about to start a new business with its unique traits and peculiarities. Considering the complexity of on-demand apps, it is impossible to create a “one size fits all” template. Not to mention you do not have enough expertise to face all the challenges in the future.
Solve the chicken-egg problem at the start
End users or service providers – who does your business need first? The answer seems simple. New consumers would come to your marketplace if they have enough services (and service providers) to pick from. But wait, why would providers, in their turn, use your platform if they do not get orders right away?
Most business owners prefer starting with the harder part – attracting service providers. These people will, to some extent, ensure the reputation of your platform. Plus, there are more potential consumers on the web than people who can offer relevant services.
Make a list of several strategies to attract app users
After answering the question “who is my audience?”, brainstorm channels where you can reach out to these people. Standard approaches may not be your thing, so keep your audience in mind first and then turn to common practices.
Will you go online or offline? Should you perfect the user experience in your app to demonstrate them to potential users? Or maybe you need to focus on lucrative monetization models? There are many channel opportunities to try out.
Contacting an on-demand handyman is not news and can fit in nearly any sphere of our lives, especially house chores.
Before creating an on-demand home service marketplace, you have to do some research: on your customers and their pain points, then competitors and their weaknesses, and finally, your app’s user flow. That is all – you are ready to cooperate with qualified developers, and we are ready to help you out.
Contact our team to discuss the online on-demand market and the app’s features you have in mind.
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