Tech start-ups may have displaced paper directories like the Yellow Pages, but tradies are not at risk of being ‘Uber-fied’, ServiceSeeking.com.au chief Jeremy Levitt said.
Many industries have been disrupted by similar on-demand software, not just taxis – but also food delivery with the likes of Deliveroo and Foodora, and even relationships through Tinder.
Since the 2007 launch of ServiceSeeking.com.au, ‘find a tradie’ style apps have disrupted the local services market in Australia. $3.2 billion worth of jobs have been transacted through ServiceSeeking.com.au with the site also facilitating over 140,000 business registrations.
However, Levitt understands the intricacies of local services and is convinced the service industry won’t work like Uber.
“Homeowners want to connect to tradies fast, but finding a tradie is more complex than finding the first available taxi to drive you home. You need to arrange a site visit, establish trust with your tradie by meeting them first, check licence information and read reviews prior to connecting and then hiring.”
The main transaction of paying happens off platform after a face-to-face meeting and commonly in cash.
“While Aussie tradies understand the importance of getting their business online, they are still resistant to accepting payments through the internet. Most don’t want to wait for their payment to clear and some want to transact in the cash economy to avoid tax,” Levitt said.
Further, a survey of more than 2,800 ServiceSeeking.com.au users found that 64 percent of tradies don’t use an online invoicing system, and 67 percent don’t use an online accounting system.
While ServiceSeeking.com.au offers in-platform invoicing and payments, less than 3 percent of all transactions are processed online.
Levitt acknowledges that the full digitisation of local services is still a long way off.
“The future of ‘find a tradie’ websites will be to connect customer and business using a data-driven approach to guarantee the job gets done to the highest possible standard,” Levitt said.