The Uber Effect, Part 1

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Let me run a scenario by you, take some time to think about it, and then answer the question I have for you at the end.

Here we go… hang on. It’s long.

You are at a store while on a business trip and need a ride across town to meet someone for lunch. No, you didn’t rent a car. You decided to use taxi service.

You Google a few taxi companies, call the first three on the list, get an answering machine on the first, no answer on the second, but on the third you connect with a real, live person. You ask for a taxi. “What’s your location,” you are asked. You have no idea and say you will find out and call back.

But then you remember… there’s an app that might get you to your destination without all this hassle. It’s called “Uber,” and a few months ago you got the app and created an account.

You pull out your smartphone, open up the Uber app and see a map with a bunch of available cars on it.

You push a few buttons that allow you to choose a type of car you need, and you set your pickup location. Somehow the map magically knows where you are — you really aren’t fooled because you know it is based on satellite technology, probably run by Google… a good assumption since it runs everything else in the world anyway.

You receive a price quote, and in a few seconds, you are notified a car is on its way. It shows you the type of car and the name of your driver, along with his photo and phone number, with an estimated travel time of six minutes to reach your location.

What’s really cool is you can see the car turn around on the map and watch it work its way towards you. In seven minutes — yes, he is late; this isn’t a perfect scenario after all; I’m trying to keep it real — the car pulls up to where you are standing.

You get in, are taken to your destination and don’t have to worry about payment because it was done by the app using your credit card on file.

You go into the restaurant for lunch, a few minutes early and stress free.

Now, my question to you: Can this scenario in any way work for our industry, such as requesting a restoration company for emergency water damage removal, or perhaps a carpet cleaning company for a simple cleaning job?

Send me your thoughts. [email protected]. We’ll pick this up next month.

Jeff Cross

Jeff Cross is the ISSA media director, with publications that include Cleaning & Maintenance Management, ISSA Today, and Cleanfax magazines. He is the previous owner of a successful cleaning and restoration firm. He also works as a trainer and consultant for business owners, managers, and front-line technicians. He can be reached at [email protected].

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