Goodnest and the 'Uberfication' of the gig economy

Goodnest and the 'Uberfication' of the gig economy

Wish there was an easy way to book a cleaner? There's an app for that - as the company's co-founder says there should be.

Let’s be real for a moment here: no-one likes to clean their house. But, unfortunately, hiring a cleaner can take just as much time as actually cleaning it yourself – not to mention having to rearrange your schedule just to be around when they are. For anyone who is a busy working professional, then they can attest that such a task is next to impossible.

That’s where Goodnest comes in. The Auckland-based company allows users to books home services online, whether it’s cleaning, gardening, plumbing, electricians, and more. “It’s pretty all over,” explains co-founder James MacAvoy. “We’re in nine cities, five for expanded services.”

MacAvoy says the idea for Goodnest came about during his time at TreatMe, which he started while he was at TradeMe. ‘We started out just doing home cleaning,” he explains.

James MacAvoy.

The internet and mobile-based model of Goodnest is somewhat similar to that of Uber, American-based Handy, and the now-defunct Homejoy. “We know, from an age-perspective, it’s often people 30-plus [who use Goodnest],” explains MacAvoy, adding the platform is most popular among professionals whose time is at a premium and whose schedules can also change frequently.

The platform first launched in 2014, and since then has between 30,000 and 35,000 customers nationwide. It also has about 450 handypersons and cleaners that can be hired.

MacAvoy says that by eliminating the “middleman,” the service offers greater flexibility for workers, and a lower price point. “If you look at traditional businesses, there always needs to be a centre point,” he says. “We try not to be a middleman.”

What Goodnest also offers is more flexibility for its handypersons, MacAvoy says. This, he explains, is because they can accept the jobs that work for them, and also don’t have to work entirely as “one-man bands” and focus on individual marketing to build their client base.

The “Uber-fication” of the gig economy is something that MacAvoy says he feels businesses need to adapt to in order to not just thrive, but to simply survive. “Mobile is starting to eclipse desktop activity,” he explains. “People have that expectation ‘there should be an app for that.’”

And with plans on doubling-down on cornering the market in the Land of the Long White Cloud, MacAvoy says he has some advice for entrepreneurs. “Really focus on fixing the problem, and try and make the equation better for both sides,” he says. “And in fixing the problem, use technology to scale, but don’t use technology as an excuse to delay. Technology is a really good follow-up to the promise you make to customers.”