"On Demand" platforms tailored to the service economy have been all the rage recently.
At the drop of a hat, we as consumers can have someone pick us up in a car (Uber), deliver groceries to our home (Instacart), clean our apartment (Homejoy), fix our toilet (Handy), walk our pets (Wag!), and more.
What has become increasingly apparent is that these On Demand platforms have actually evolved into the service economy's new employers - delivering service work to individuals who need the extra cash or who are looking for jobs with flexible work hours.
And for the clients of these platforms (like you and me), the booking and payment process is delightful - paperless, mobile, convenient.
As a result, these platforms have wound up competing directly with traditional business owners who own and operate their own home or local service businesses.
These are the true entrepreneurs - ranging from the 1-man show to the 20-person operation - who have an innate desire to work for themselves, and want to embrace technology to help their businesses scale, get paid in a timely manner, and deliver that same mobile, "Uber-like" experience that customers now expect.
A new technology startup called PocketSuite is taking a novel approach to this problem.
PocketSuite is an app empowering service professionals as entrepreneurs helping them run their own fully functional service business more efficiently, all the while enabling them to deliver that same On Demand convenience to their customers.
PocketSuite's mobile platform lets any home cleaner, fitness trainer, pet sitter, handyman, etc. schedule appointments, send invoices, collect credit card payment, and chat directly with their own clients. As for the customers of these PocketSuite businesses, their entire experience is through native SMS text, so chatting with their pros, confirming appointments and making payments requires just a phone number - no account login or app download.
Over 20 million service businesses exist in the U.S. alone - a $700 billion local services economy. These are the 20 million entrepreneurs who are growing in numbers as structural labor forces drive more skilled workers towards independence, and who are adopting an increasingly mobile lifestyle.
The current technology available to these entrepreneurs, however, consists of a hodge-podge of single-action (and often desktop-oriented) tools to support their grueling day-to-day service work of scheduling, invoicing, note-taking, dispatching, communication, follow-ups, payment processing and more.
PocketSuite combines these common daily workflows into a single (integrated) mobile tool, helping service professionals get paid faster and cut down on the busy work. The app is free to download (on iTunes) and start using, and gives the user an option of upgrading to Premium plans for additional features and unlimited functionality. In addition, PocketSuite offers transparent and affordable credit card processing rates at a flat 2.5% per payment, beating out the traditional pure play payment processors.
PocketSuite's co-founder Sam Madden puts it simply: "What we've built is the first empowering platform for today's service economy. True service professionals care about getting paid and growing - plain and simple. With PocketSuite's integrated workflows of scheduling, payment and chat, we get these professionals paid quicker and more efficiently, so they can spend their time actually doing the work they love and growing their businesses."
With the birth of PocketSuite, service entrepreneurs can now access the technology to compete with these On Demand platforms that have burst onto the scene with an approach that puts technology efficiency over service quality.