Mobile apps let freelancers cut out middlemen like temp agencies and unions while boosting lead generation and customer retention.
The internet and a ubiquity of mobile technology have changed the way we work forever, namely by fostering the advent of the new, “on-demand” economy. Consumers want a product or service the moment they need it, and they expect their on-demand purchase to be high in quality. Companies like Uber blazed the trail, opening the floodgates for new on-demand services that let customers outsource even the most basic tasks, from doing laundry to buying groceries.
This reshaping of the labor landscape has also transformed the way local contractors and freelancers operate, forcing many to turn to middlemen to find work. While you can work with a third party to help you lock down your next paycheck, connecting directly with potential and current clients leads to greater returns and higher quality service. And a unique, originally branded app is a fantastic tool for any contractor to cut out the middleman.
The Gig Economy
The success of Uber inspired others to follow suit, giving birth to businesses like the laundry delivery service Washio; Taskrabbit, an errand-running and household chore service; and Heal, which lets physicians make house calls to patients in need. These are but a few examples in this new wave of “on-demand” companies, and their success makes it unsurprising that the idea has extended to the general labor force and specialized industries alike.
For example, the online retail giant Amazon launched Amazon Home Services in 2015, offering 15 million listings for more than 900 professional services, ranging from HVAC and electrical wiring to equipment assembly and yard work. Customers simply search for the desired service and are connected with potential contractors.
While middlemen like Thumbtack and Amazon Home Services can seem like great resources for consumers and contractors alike, they’re not without their problems. Many local HVAC contractors, for example, don’t necessarily acquire a lot of work from those services, and argue that customers are more likely to choose a particular company based on the cheapest price alone, according to theNEWS. This in turn reduces the quality of the work, and can cause confusion among customers when a contractor tries to upsell further labor.
Moreover, these sites force the contractors to compete in a standardized way, says Ben Landers, president and CEO of the web marketing company Blue Corona. “A profile on Angie’s List must fit the same standard parameters that all of a company’s competitors’ pages do,” he said. And that makes it harder for any one contractor to separate him or herself from the pack.
Turning to Apps
For independent contractors to gain a competitive advantage, and to ensure consumers receive the highest caliber work, mobile apps represent a terrific option. From handymen to dog walkers to painters and everyone in between, mobile apps not only add tremendous value to individual brands, but also save valuable time and money for customers. Paired with a company website, they add another channel to reach new consumers beyond word of mouth and referrals, and they also distinguish a freelancer from his or her competitors.
Mobile apps therefore serve as the perfect platform to broadcast a consistent brand, while integrating social media, email, and newsletters, all in one place. Contractors can use an app’s push notifications to stay in immediate contact with clients, and even provide offers and deals to loyal customers. In-app calendars ensure no double-bookings or missed appointments, and facilitate easy coordination between team members.
About 40% of freelancers are paid late, according to the Economist, and implementing a payment system in the app can help guarantee on-time compensation, while also making for a smooth invoicing process.
Set Yourself Apart
Unfortunately, independent contractors and freelancers are often constrained by tight budgets and full schedules, making it nearly impossible to afford professional app development. Fortunately, easy-to-use DIY platforms like AppMakr offer simple drag-and-drop app creation at an affordable cost. No coding experience is required, and apps can be launched within minutes, so you can immediately start to set yourself apart from the competition.
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