When we first moved into the house, we had an one-off insurance policy to fix plumbing, appliances, roof, etc. I called them once, they sent over a fantastic plumber, and I never called them again. You see, they found a way to not cover anything, and all I really needed was access to a good plumber.

Why isn’t this exact same thing happening, or going to happen, to Uber, Handy, Munchery, etc.?

All of these applications are marketplaces. However, none of them (and I haven’t power used Handy yet so I don’t know how true this is for them) create a relationship between me and my service provider.

I know my plumber, and so I trust him to come to the house and fix things.

Same with my contractor (because houses break).

Same with my gardener (because Micky loves the backyard).

In a similar vein, I know my doctor, my dentist, and I trust that they will be there when I go in for an appointment.

Why then wouldn’t I want to know my chef? Or my driver? Or the painters I’ve hired?

And if the apps don’t build this in for me (e.g. allowing me to request favorites when they’re available, creating relationships with the service providers before they come to me, etc.), then why wouldn’t I just do it myself?

I’ve never asked an Uber driver for their card so I could just call them directly next time… but I could. It would let me pay them without having to pay Uber. I could give them the tip they deserve, and not the one that Uber splits with them. All of the incentives are there for this business owner to branch out and create his own clientele list.

It’s the kind of thing my grandfather would definitely have done by now.

Our Handy tryout today wrote us a nice note about the work that she did, and suggested at the end that we create a one-on-one relationship without Handy as an intermediary. She’s already thinking that way.

I’m really curious how… on a long enough time horizon… these services expect to keep the talent. I know agencies have these problems because my favorite contractor (one Garret Riddle) tends to freelance out whenever he wants to, and then come back when he’s tired of doing BD.

Get enough clients and word of mouth, and you don’t need the marketplace anymore. And then what happens to Uber’s valuation?