The annual MTN Business App of the Year award winners were announced this month, and on-demand cleaning services app Domestly took the top prize, as well as the best consumer category prize.
Locally developed Domestly is a prime example of the Uber principle of business: it is a company that brokers the services of others, connecting those who offer a service with those who need it. Sometimes called the "Uber effect", this term is associated with reduced permanent employment and shrinking rates in established industries, like the taxi industry. In a largely under-formalised and under-regulated industry like domestic cleaning (where work is often informal and sometimes woefully underpaid), it’s not immediately clear whether that "Uber effect" criticism fits fairly.
Domestly says its strategy supports unemployed and underemployed cleaners, primarily women, by supplementing their work opportunities.
The company believes its app has created 600 jobs in the past nine months and it hopes to create many more.
Cleaners are interviewed by the company, and set their own rates — starting at R150/shift. Domestly charges a percentage fee based on the set rates. This is charged to the customer, not the service provider.
The app has a minimalist, attractive user interface design, with a simple location-based process for booking. You can browse through cleaners in your area and rate the service after booking. Users can pay with a credit card or by loading credit into a Domestly wallet.
Domestly covers Cape Town and parts of Jo’burg, and has promised larger city footprints and new cities within the year.
Pros: Simple app and booking process
Cons: None to speak of
Price: Free to download
For more: www.domestly.com
Cool factor: ***