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Scoping the On-Demand Home Services Market: Women In the Lead

TaskRabbit, HomeJoy, HomeAdvisor, Handy, ClubLocal,, Amazon Home Services and, most recently, Google, to name just a few, have entered the exploding home services market to provide in-home labor and professional workers fast access to their local market. According to a recent The New York Times article, the market is valued between $400 billion and $800 billion annually by the companies chasing this newly accessible revenue.

With that massive revenue target in mind, BIA/Kelsey is in the process of segmenting and understanding the keys to the home services, research we’ll be introducing at our upcoming NOW: The Rise of the Local On-Demand Economy Conference on June 12th in San Francisco. In this posting, we’ll discuss who the primary customer targets for these services may be. In upcoming installments, we’ll look at when potential buyers will be most ready to pay for work that has traditionally been “free.”

Of course, in economics, nothing is free, but many factors are often very poorly measured or simply ignored when talking about the value of labor in the home. With the arrival of logistics systems that aggregate supplies of labor for the home, many new costs and expenses can be included in the economic decision-making of the household. That expansion of measured labor will certainly change the perception of the work that homemakers and home repair enthusiasts have previously treated as “free labor.”

Building a paradise or hell?

Logistics and information technology has dramatically improved productivity in large enterprises. They can transform local services, too, if entrepreneurs take the time to assess their customer’s needs and ability to pay in relation to the value of work that traditionally has been treated as contributions to the family.

What’s the real opportunity, to provide services to wealthy homes or to make home services affordable for many more people than today? Home services are often dismissed as a San Francisco-bred phenomenon brewed from a mix of overpaid Millennials and under-employed local workers who will take the lowest possible wage, because they have no other options. In reality, the emerging home services market is the product of enhanced coordination and logistics made possible by technology.

The arrival of data-driven coordination and management could result in an inhumane system of exploitation in which workers fight for scraps or it can lift more people into work that serves their neighbors, their own goals and those the community values. Only the latter approach can result in a robust local economy.

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