The sharing economy or gig economy is the trend many businesses want to build upon. The notion “Uber for X” is tried virtually everywhere from accountants to appliance repairers. This can be contributed to the buzz created by companies’ like uber, Lyft and Airbnb. Their high valuations and instant success seems too appealing to try. So if you are one of those aspiring entrepreneurs thinking of building an Uber for X. Read through this to know how well your idea can click.
Let’s Think About The Circumstances in Which Uber Grew
People in general were not much happy with the taxi industry, the standards and its cost. Lack of availability in every place, one can get a taxi in crowded or popular spots and again not round the clock.
Uber made use of this lack of customer satisfaction and tried to provide it through its service. Uber has rules for the maintenance of the car, prices are known before hand (of course surge pricing is painful) and you can hail a taxi at the comfort of a tap. The concept was new and became an instant hit.
The same way Airbnb declared it was utilizing the vacant properties and provided additional income.
Uber is useful for people who provide the service too; it gives the comfort of working at your own time. You don’t have compulsory working hours or a boss to watch over you. It created a win-win situation and took off instantly. Though Uber does not buy cars or treat its drivers as employees it has manages to have a valuation of $60 billion. A huge value given for a company which only manages to run an app, the value is higher than most of the automobile manufacturing industries themselves. One has to remember the company’s inception was at a time when start-ups were trending and funding them became a fad.
How can we leave out the aggressive expansion of Uber, they are almost present in 60 countries across the globe. The taxi industry across the globe had a big void in customer service which was comfortably filled by uber.
The Bubble is Going to Break Now or Latter
While all this sounds so favorable to Uber’s growth let us look at how the company is running. Only recently had Uber declared it was profitable in US while it is losing severely in China, $1 billion every year to compete with the local rivals. This is not the case in China alone; almost every country they operate has local companies’ competing fiercely.
Uber is a heavily investor backed company. They are still on burn-cash-to-get-customers mode. The glamorous valuation of theirs is just a bubble. Once you are invested that heavily people expect returns sooner or later they have to shift gears and start making profits. When they hit that point it will be difficult to judge wether people will be still loyal to uber and use its services or simply choose other alternatives.
The regulatory issues, bans and safety allegations, Uber has each of this in almost every part of the globe a good number of times. They are accused severely for not following regulators norms and gaining unfair advantage over traditional service, they were banned by governments for not following rules. Both the drivers and riders have raised lack of safety, harassment issue.
Coming to The Current Scenario of Uber For X
The kind of growth Uber has experienced is not possible for every business or the kind of investment. If you wish to grow like Uber then the area of “X” you are willing to experiment should be a very novel one. Still there is too much of attention for uber-like-business and you can soon expect rivals.
Before trying out your business, you need to have a clear idea of legal constraints you might face. Legal battles are both time and money consuming and will hurt the image of the company. The legal issues are quite complex because our law makers are still trying to absorb the idea of sharing economy. So you may be perfectly doing legal stuff still bombarded with court wars because there is no law on how your business should run.
Does your “X” business improve upon the traditional business and offer something extra to your customers and service givers?
Burn the cash to get customers is not even working out for Uber because we know the case in Austin were they withdrew after the people voted against the company for denying to finger print its drivers. One of the best referendum results by people in recent times (Relax, I will mention anything close to EU referendum). So even the mighty Uber has failed to impress its customers and bring them on boat.
Your idea should provide both customer and service provider satisfaction, to sustain in the long run. Today uber drivers are disgruntled with wages, employee status issues and rude customer behavior.
So even if you are able to come up with an Uber for X that will try cover up all the short comings and problems. Do not get carried away with astronomical growth of your Uber and expect the same. Investors have passed the phase of going gaga over every other start-up, the glam period is over. A great idea and a proper road map will only get you investors.
While this is one thing I admire about Uber they know the taxi service is not their future and have moved to every other service in the same vertical. From food delivery, parcel service to driverless car they are trying out latest avenues. So plan the future of your company, while this may sound a lot to think at the inception of a business, one must develop ideas for future.
The Technological Part
So after reading through all this you are convinced that you might kick-off your business and stay successful, get a good tech team as you are relying heavily on the technological part. Buying a pre tailored Uber for X scripts on the internet is not the end of the road. Have a good software development and testing team. Choose the service providers registered on your platform careful. They are the face of your business and pick them after good amount of scrutiny. If you are going to deal with safety issues with respect to your customer and service provider try to be extra cautious.
And Here Comes The Bitter Part
This will hit you hard; Uber for X is not going to be applicable for certain service industries no matter how brilliantly you are planning to execute it. One such example is health industry; you cannot provide doctors on demand. Health care is a holistic service which requires a continuous relationship between doctor and patient. You may blame a lot of things in the current health care system like cost and scheduling with doctors weeks before the meeting. The alternatives to these shortcomings are not Uber model and it is a totally different topic. There may be certain services like this which cannot be Uberized.