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Consider this before building an Uber for X

If you’re like many entrepreneurs around the world who are looking to build Uber for X - you’ll want to read this first, especially if you want to build a better startup.

The idea that an app can allow consumers to request a service on demand is an appealing one. Service professionals get access to immediate work, which also adds to the value of this concept.

We’ve all seen this executed in the transportation industry with great promise, now so many feel that the same concept can be broadly applied to other industries as well.

While this sounds like a solid line of reasoning there are some special considerations to take into account.

The issue from the outset is how to effectively execute on this idea of building Uber for X. Startups who build this kind of tech have been attempting to use the Uber model as a blueprint to transform the enter service based economy.

We can see this in service industries such as dog walking, car cleaning, tutoring and many more. These are the successes but we’re also seeing a number of service-related industries where entrepreneurs have attempted the Uber based concept, only to be met with failure.

One of the reasons so many are failing is because the developers are underestimating the difficulty and speciality of these service related areas and how they fit into the Uber model.

There must be an on-demand component readily available within the particular service area being developed, and this requires a new blueprint that will build upon what the consumers desire in the moment, along with what the professionals in the area are willing and able to deliver.

To do this, you must maximise value, and this involves making your app highly convenient for the consumer, while providing a maximum utilisation rate for the professional.

Consider the skill and schedule needed

When you set out to evaluate an Uber-type of product for the consumer, there are two main factors that need to be considered. This involves the notions of skill and schedule.

In terms of skill, it’s important to determine what knowledge the professionals need to have in order to fulfil the services that the consumer is requesting.

In terms of schedule, you need to take into account how often the services need to be provided to the consumer and if it makes sense to develop an Uber based model in the first place.

Skill

You have to consider which services are considered to be specialised in nature and which are considered to be a commodity. If the service you’re looking to offer is closer in scale to a commodity, the smaller the actual range in terms of service quality.

Driving a car locally is a good example, it doesn’t take much skill to drive a passenger from one location to another. It’s something that most adults can do, making it a commodity, and because of this the price per mile won’t vary that much, because all professionals driving will be doing exactly the same thing.

When a skill is a commodity, the consumer can request a service with just a simple tap. This is because any professional can fulfil the request given its basic nature.

This is the main reason Uber has been so successful.

Schedule

The Uber philosophy is built upon being able to offer a service on demand. It doesn’t necessarily mean right now, but it does mean the service needs to be provided when the consumer wants it.

When it comes to transportation, this usually means the consumer needs the service immediately, which is why drivers might find themselves having quiet periods and then spurts of busy periods as consumers are more in demand of their services.

With tutoring the schedule can be determined in advance and the service provided lasts more than just a few minutes. Some services might take a few hours, making it more valuable to the professional.

This makes it hard to match professionals with consumers, but there’s usually time to do this as the service is not required immediately.

The return on investment must be equally beneficial for the consumer and the professional in order for such a concept to work and not all service related industries are suited to this.

Consider this before you build your Uber for X

If you’re convinced that you’ve found a service-related sector of the economy in your area that will work with an Uber model, there are a few things you should do - building a minimum viable product is one.

When you think about the consumer, you need to consider the specific service related industry that you’re about to disrupt. As you do this, consider the skill sets that are needed and compare them with the urgency of the services that will be requested by the consumer.

Once you do this, you’ll be able to focus on the components of your app that will create a convenient and positive experience for the consumer and one that will cause them to use your app opposed to the more traditional ways of requesting that same service.

You’ll also want to think about your app from the perspective of the professional. You need to think about conversions and how likely it is that you'll retain users. You will need to strike a fine balance that will result in the most economical of utilisation rates.

This takes work but you'll end up having more success if you do this from the start.

The more energy and effort you put into building the consumer and professional relationship from the get-go, the better the likelihood that your app will succeed.