I was recently at a distributor event in London, and as usual I spent time having a beer and talking with other Home Technology professionals about the state of our businesses. One integrator explained to me that he had lost almost 30% of fresh, new, first-timer clients coming to him for small jobs – small jobs like mounting a TV on the wall or setting up a cable box or remote system. These small jobs were very good entry points to new customers and there was always the possibility of upselling other gear and/or services. Not only to everyday people, but also to the wealthiest of clients. “As it’s not very difficult to do, maybe people finally are figuring out how to learn to do it themselves”, he told me.
That was until he found out about the TaskRabbit app that allows every handyman (or woman) to offer help for all of these everyday little jobs/tasks you might have in your house; like mounting TVs, assembling furniture or to help with moving/hauling heavy stuff. The client pays TaskRabbit; TaskRabbit pays the “handyman” and TaskRabbit backs each task with a £1MM insurance guarantee.
He showed me on his phone: “Let’s say that I just received the TV I bought on Amazon. Right now, I need it to be mounted on the wall. I enter my address, info about my TV size, if I need the bracket, cables, and accessories or not and … Boom! In just 10 seconds I already have four answers from guys that can be at my house within 30 minutes for a price between 40£ to 70£. Look, there are three guys and even a girl! And if I want, I can set up a rendezvous in two days at 11pm”. I was like “WOW”! How can he compete with that? This is a job for a whole new type of Vespa Squad that will maraud the city, especially since the GAFA and their partners will produce so many fun and fancy little connected gears that will need to be correctly mounted, installed and set up. And by the way, this is exactly what is happening as Amazon just announced they’ll have their own installer squad now.
Thanks to new communication technologies that enable people to be easily connected, like mobile and apps, industries around the world are going to be changing. 30 years ago, the same amount of handyman individuals already existed and were ready to do all those little jobs. They just didn’t have an easy and efficient way to communicate and were forced to flood your letterbox with fliers that ended up in the trash can. Today they can join very efficient platforms that give them incredible exposure and flexibility.
And then I began to think about what I would do if I wanted to go back in the streets as an integrator/installer. I think I’d buy a truck, hire someone to drive all day long in the rich residential and business districts of the city. I’d write a very simple message, with big letters, on both sides of the truck so everyone could see it from far away: “We install all your Apple Homekit stuff – Call 1-800 XXX XXXX”. The week after, I’d change the message to “Buy your stuff on Amazon, we install it” and the week after “We install your Google Home stuff” … and so on. Once I’m infiltrated, I’d do my best to sell my skills, some upscale gear and accessories they’ll need (always big margin on accessories), a service plan, and, of course, remote system management. I think I’d always have in the truck a pair of easy-to-install mesh Wi-Fi access points because 50% of the time, the Wi-Fi coverage won’t be good enough for what the client wants to achieve. The possibilities are endless.
So never forget that the letter U, like Uberization, comes along with other letters: O like Opportunity and C like Creativity.