The Transient Nature of Managing an On-Demand Business

by | May 6, 2015

Managing a business that works in the plane of on-demand products and services requires the ability to make the necessary evolutions to keep up with changing business environments, new trends, and competition. Additionally, on-demand, instant-gratification type experiences are becoming desired in more and more fields, so lessons learned now might soon benefit a much wider range of industries.

Bastian Lehmann of Postmates and Oisin Hanrahan of Handy have each watched their companies change to stay on top of the On-Demand market. Postmates moved from a retail customer base to a consumer customer base, because consumers had more immediate needs and less alternate methods to get those needs taken care of. Handy graduated from text-messaging based communication to the use of an app, so that their consumers receive a better experience with richer information at their immediate disposal.

One evolution they shared: increasing visibility and transparency to take the anxiety levels down and boost satisfaction up.

  • Reason being: consumers experience a lot of angst over the arrival of their purchase or service contractor. Whether it’s with reminder texts or tracking abilities, giving the client a bird’s eye view of the product’s path is a must-have when working with on-demand consumers.

The other side of necessary evolutions for these businesses involves the delicate balance between providing excellent customer and contractor experiences, and adhering to the employment and contractor laws in the different regions where work is performed.

  • Postmates’ contractors are, by vast majority, part time. There are no enforced work hours or acceptance rates, so they easily fulfill the independent contractor role.

  • For Handy, there’s more of a problem – but Hanrahan is interested in being a part of the solution, because he admits there are things he would like to do for his contractors, but can’t for the sake of remaining in compliance of the existing legislature.

  • Zirtual migrated to the Employee model of employment, both for great client experience with set working hours and guaranteed availability, and also to provide health, 401k, and many other benefits to their valued employees.

In the on-demand delivery market, winner doesn’t take all, but it does take most. Establishing yourself first in a new city doesn’t guarantee you will be the best, but you do have the first opportunity to secure your bottom-up consumer supply, and quality top-down partnerships. Ensuring you have a strong network by getting these connections in place will help you when it comes time to make changes. Postmates and Handy have handled their growth very successfully, and will continue to evolve in order to thrive amidst their competitors.