What kind of help can parents get?
Anything from picking up the kid after school, to running an elderly parent to the their dr's appointment, to organizing or helping plan a birthday party, to selling stuff, organizing photos or researching a summer vacation online. Whatever they can use some backup for.
As working parents, we wanted to create an easy way for busy parents to ask for help from trusted "Go-to"s, and get that help more immediately - without all the usual calling, stressing, pleading—sometimes begging—and general back-and-forthing it takes to get the help you need when you get stuck / could use a hand.
How does NEED/DONE make money?
A 10% NEED/DONE fee is built into our standard Go-to sitter rates. And we will charge a modest monthly subscription fee ($15-20,) to cover our costs as our user base grows. We are waiving this fee for all users for the first three months—to give users a chance to try it with friends, and see how it works for them.
What revenue stream are you basing your current business model on?
Transaction and subscription for now. Later, we are looking to explore partnerships, enterprise, data analytics and advertising.
What are the rates?
We’ve determined three categories of jobs, each with their own standard rates. The parent user selects the job category each time they create a new job.
||$18/hr for 1 kid
||$20/hr for 2 kids
|| $22/hr for 3 kids
How does payment work?
All payment is made through the app. The app allows users to use a card or connect their Paypal account. Once a week, parent users are charged and Go-tos are paid out for all jobs marked "complete" that week.
How often are people using NEED/DONE?
In our pilot, people were using the Go-tos for childcare twice a month, 3 hours at a time, at an average rate of $20/hour. But once the parent user began to understand how they could offload a whole lot more to this trusted Go-to task force (running errands, doing research, decluttering, selling stuff online, housesitting, caring for an elderly relative - "the everything else",) the job requests started coming in at a higher rate.
How does this all work from a Go-to’s perspective?
When a Go-to logs on to the app, they see a stream of to-dos that parents in their network need help with, and are able to ask the parent questions, and apply to help out. They will get notifications with each new request from parent users who've reached out to them, and are able to accept or decline immediately. The typical NEED/DONE Go-to is a millennial and/or part-time nanny looking to supplement their income. NEED/DONE gives them control and flexibility, and the opportunity to do a variety of jobs besides babysitting.
What about stealing?
It happens. So we decided to look into it, and tackle the issue by designing functionality that helps deter the behavior.
In our pilot, 1 in 20 parent users (5%) tried to get Go-tos to work for them outside the system. So we doubled it to 10%, and accounted for this in our projections. Some of the specific features we designed to protect the community from the bad apples include:
- Whenever a parent invites a Go-to to join their parent network, they have to option to block out pre-agreed, regular commitments already in place. The Go-to approves that schedule when they join, and they won’t see job requests from other users at those times.
- Most of the parent and Go-to communication happens through our in-app messenger.
- Phone numbers are only visible when a job is active—that is, from the time a Go-to is hired until they complete the job.
By tracking “leakage” (aka stealing) in our pilot we stumbled on a nice discovery; the Go-tos themselves - the recipients of these propositions- tend to naturally monitor this problem for us. When propositioned, most are unlikely to take up a user’s offer to work outside the system for a better rate or regular hours. They’re not motivated to do so—as NEED/DONE represents an additional source of income for them, offering them something others don’t: easy access to more clients and greater flexibility, in the convenience of an app.
Are people comfortable sharing their resources with others?
At first some aren't. Which is why we encourage people to try NEED/DONE out by sharing a sitter they don't depend on as much (like a date-night sitter.) But once they realize that the pros of sharing resources (peace of mind) clearly outweighs the freaked out panicky feeling you get when you have to start from scratch to try and find a friend's on the fly, they see the benefit of sharing.
Risks & Opportunities
Time is not on our side. We’ve put a lot of time into researching and testing a model we feel really addresses what a parent needs, but there are other players in the market who would gain a lot from our insights, and capitalize on the work we’ve done. To put off the launch by another 9 months exposes us to competitors who would likely apply our findings more superficially to their offering.
There's always the chance a giant platform (Facebook Messenger, Amazon, Care.com, Taskrabbit or Uber) looking to curry favor with this lucrative parent market will try to do what we are doing. But by building a brand that is fundamentally grown out of people's personal networks (like Linkedin,) we think it's hard to create a qualitative offering out of any massive user base once strangers -who are vetted by the platform- or people who don't serve this specific purpose already populate the user base of these much better established platforms. Our trusted task force network is made up exclusively of people introduced into the network by friends.
By keeping an eye on other platforms whose models are more localized, like Nextdoor, we learn a lot. Nextdoor’s localized market-to-market expansion has already taught us a lot about seeding and growth strategies. Given that their trusted resource are made up exclusively of neighbors, provides us with an opportunity to identify this group’s limitations, and strengthen NEED/DONE’s offering by filling in the many more day-to-day gaps that neighbors can’t when it comes to caring for tasks related to kids and home.
Both Nextdoor and All-set, another competitor who offers local, community-driven services as well, validate the importance of community. Both have inspired and reinforced the need fto keep growing ours.
Both the above platforms, though not fundamentally designed to extend themselves to kid care present themselves as interesting companies to partner with down the road. Sitter.note, a strong competitor specifically in the childcare support category, could also be a good potential partner as we share an understanding of this parent’s need for streamlined, centralized efficiency. In fact, all platforms that support this time-poor parent’s needs across kid, pet, health, shopping, elderly and home care, could be good partners in the future. But for now, all are hugely valuable as we continue to track their progress, and learn from their mistakes - much as we have done with Taskrabbit and Care.com.
-To meet an unmet demand-
By identifying and unlocking a brand new category of need for this parent - the stuff they only trust themselves or trusted people to do - we are poised to disrupt a category worth $161B in the US alone.
In addition, we've been approached by others with similar, but non kid-related needs. This unmet need exists across several other demographics.