We recently looked at Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb. These three companies were instrumental in defining, if not creating, the On-Demand market as we know it, today. All three started really small and got really big, really fast. We addressed that one major reason for their growth is that they make it easy for others to participate in their business.
Here, we want to take a similar look, at three smaller companies doing much the same thing. These three examples – Q.care, WashClub and BlownAway, serve to show that almost any business can be adapted to fit the On-Demand market.
Q.care by PediaQ is an On-Demand pediatric service. The Q.care app enables parents to easily arrange a visit from a pediatric nurse practitioner in the comfort and privacy of their own home. If their child falls ill, parents can use their app to have a nurse visit their home – typically within 30 minutes or by appointment. Users avoid long waiting lines at the doctor’s office where they might be surrounded by other people with contagious conditions. It’s accepted by most major insurance companies and visits are a fraction of the cost of emergency rooms.
Of course, it wouldn’t work without service providers – pediatric nurse practitioners. Q.care provides them an opportunity and the flexibility to earn an extra income. Nurses can pick up shifts before or after their regular working hours or work only on weekends.
More than this, Q.care is also available to hospitals as a white label service. Q.Care teamed up with Memorial Hermann Health Systems and Baylor Scott & White Health hospital networks, for two examples of this kind of partnership. It sets the precedent to expand services within Texas and obtain more licensed partnerships nationally.
A former stock broker, Rick Rome, started WashClub in New York City. Washclub is an On-Demand laundry and dry cleaning service that promises to pick up, clean and return people’s laundry within 24 hours. Like many brick-n-mortar businesses, WashClub has its own employees, a fleet of vehicles, laundry machines and facilities. That’s different from many On-Demand companies who often rely on independent contractors. But, it can still work.
Rick’s investment in developing a mobile app improved his logistics and order management adding scalability most businesses don’t have. Like Q.care, he was able to offer the use of his app as a white label service to other laundry services across the country. Presently, WashClub is operating in 32 cities across 16 states. The most recent indication is that he has at least 20 operators paying him 5% in royalties.
Following suit, Dallas-based BlownAway offers, “On-Demand beauty services at the touch of a button.” BlownAway brings a professional, highly-vetted stylist to you for a blowout, updo or makeup at your home or another place of your choosing. The app provides examples and styles users can choose from and the stylist brings everything needed to make it happen. Founders Smoot Carter and Sung Kim are quick to point out their idea was a lot like combining Uber with Drybar.
Functionally, it works a lot like Q.care – offering stylists opportunities and flexibility to earn an extra income. But, BlownAway has some extra moves to go with its killer looks. They’ve started partnering with boutiques for “Girls’ Night Out” parties and a “Social Butterfly” for high school and college campuses.
All three of these On-Demand companies have found ways to make it easy for others to participate in their business. That’s what it is all about. It’s by no means the only factor in their success, but it is an essential ingredient. They show there is more than one way to work together – with other providers, with independent contractors, or through a white label program.
Several other factors are involved, too. In the next article of this On-Demand series, we’ll take a look at companies who got it wrong – for different reasons. After that, we’ll address many of those reasons in greater depth.
Leastwise, there are companies who got things right – who we can point to as examples for your business and perhaps give you some ideas how you might forge your way into the “shared economy” with a mobile app custom-crafted to fit your new business model.