There is a growing number of applications that can be downloaded onto mobile devices that offer a wide range of on-demand services to make life more convenient. From finding a ride, to getting an in-home massage, just one button on a phone can make it all happen. Los Angeles is the home to many of the companies developing on-demand apps.
Samuel Davis came to Los Angeles for a shot at showbiz. When he’s not on stage, he’s in his truck.
“I’m really into improv and comedy and acting whatnot, so whenever I’m not doing that I want to try and make some extra money in my spare time," said Davis.
The extra money comes from being a driver for a business called Buddytruk. It’s a mobile application that connects a user to a local driver or “buddy” who owns a truck nearby to help the user move something. On average, the truck will be at the designated location in less than half an hour, says founder Brian Foley.
“Business is going well. We’ve had a great response. We’ve grown over 1000% year to date. 2000% since we launched so we’re really excited," said Foley.
Furniture store West Elm Santa Monica offers Buddytruk as an option for its customers, says General Manager Stacy Johnson.
“I mean they were just so much more affordable. It’s on demand and so it’s very convenient for our clients," said Johnson.
Buddytruk is one of a growing number of mobile apps that offer on-demand services. They range from ride-sharing services and food deliveries to home massages, like Soothe. Merlin Kauffman founded the massage company in 2013, and says in less than 12 months, it has grown to operate in 13 cities.
“I think it’s about accessibility and the ability to get something and be instantly gratified. Uber kind of set the trend in that direction and it’s become the new expected norm," said Kauffman.
Michael Hammond uses Soothe for massages, and has many other on demand apps on his phone.
“You press a button and the money is taken care of. The transportation is taken care of, and the delivery is taken care of and then an hour later, less than an hour, you receive whatever you want," said Hammond.
Around the world, more people have smart phones than ever before, and they are more willing to share information in exchange for services, says technology management expert Terry Kramer.
“We’re in this perfect storm for this dramatic growth in on-demand apps," said Kramer.
New technologies make on demand services possible.
“As the millennial generation kind of ages and is used to more technology - they’re digital natives etcetera - I think you’ll find more and more usage there and then outside the US, massive interest," said Kramer.
While the on-demand apps industry is still in its early stages, Kramer says it is disrupting business for traditional brick and mortar stores. He predicts two possible outcomes.
“There’s a clever way to incorporate these offerings into more traditional offerings. The second one can be disaster, which is brick and mortar can eventually go away," he said.
Entrepreneurs say mobile apps offering on demand services will continue to provide consumers with ever more choices, giving people more time to do what they want.