Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Green Acres GO takes Uber route

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Green Acres has taken a screenshot out of Uber’s playbook and is today introducing a new model of home service. The service, Green Acres GO, will unlock an as-yet-untapped work force, providing opportunities for people to supplement their incomes by providing home services in their spare time.

Green Acres GO is now accepting applications from service providers on and registering interest from potential customers prior to launch.

The company has identified changing patterns of demand in the home services market. It’s responding with a new Uber-like home services model. It allows people to request on-demand home cleaning and lawn mowing services from a mobile app. And it lets people who want to earn more take advantage of that untapped demand.

"Green Acres GO is a completely new business initiative," says Logan Sears, Green Acres CEO. "It’s not about putting Green Acres on mobile. We’re looking at a different set of customers and a different group of service providers, reaching both with an app custom-designed to deliver a mobile-managed solution that seamlessly connects the two."

Green Acres will shortly undertake a pilot of the service in Auckland’s North Shore and refine the model and the application before rolling it out into other centres.

"It’s a managed rollout," says Logan. "Because we’re offering an on-demand service it’s imperative that we have enough operators to deliver that before we launch into individual markets. On-demand means when you want it. It doesn’t mean when I can find some free time in my calendar."

The business model for Green Acres GO has been developed following a research programme- which identified a substantial requirement for specific home services supplied on-demand, one that is not being currently being met by other service providers, including Green Acres’ traditional franchise model.

The research also identified the critical elements required to address the gap.  The 500 people surveyed nationally defined the key characteristics they are looking for:

- They want to be able to book one-off services on demand, whenever they need them.

- They want to be able to specify exactly what they want done and when they need it done.

- They want the service to be carried out by registered, screened professionals.

- They want to be able to see other users’ feedback before they agree to use an operator.

The research also identified how customers want the transaction to be completed:

- They want to pay online by credit card automatically once the service is completed.

- They want to be able to post their own feedback afterwards.

- They want an iron-clad guarantee from an organisation they know and trust that they will get a full refund if they’re not satisfied.

Those surveyed were happy to have these services delivered through a mobile app. The research indicates that over 50,000 households will be willing to use household cleaning and lawn mowing services, with each making an average of 15 service requests a year. The total annual market for on-demand lawn mowing and cleaning services is estimated to be worth over $40 million.

Green Acres also surveyed potential operators and found that there is a very large pool of people - at least sufficient to meet demand - interested in providing home care services. Potential operators are likely to be younger adults who are not working full time and have a degree of flexibility around their free hours. They want to choose when and where they work and what jobs they take. They are interested in providing three to four services per week as a regular supplement to their income. Most do not wish or are not able to commit to regular hours of work and are not able to fund the purchase of a franchise.

Another group of potential operators includes people already running their own cleaning and lawn mowing businesses who simply want more work. They would rather fit new on-demand work around existing contracts rather than spend time and money on hit and miss marketing efforts.

"Even though potential demand for the services is high, the supply of potential operators is even higher, so we’re confident that we will be able to deliver services as and when people want them," says Logan.

The majority of Green Acres’ existing franchise businesses provide repeat scheduled services to long-term customers. In its 27 years of operation in New Zealand franchisees have mowed, cleaned and delivered other household services over 20 million times. Currently Green Acres franchisees perform over 100,000 services each month.

"Our traditional franchise business is a great ongoing business," says Logan. "It’s extremely relevant for people who want to book a regular service and know that their home will be cleaned or their lawns mowed. It’s likewise relevant to people who want to invest in a franchise business that they can own, manage and grow in value.

"But the franchise model doesn’t cater to the ‘now’ generation. Today a very large number of people want services purely on-demand. Their reasons include pre- and post-party clean ups, moving into and out of a home, flat inspections, and visitor arrivals. Cleaning rooms for AirBnB hosts after visitors leave represents another new market with high potential."

"We’re looking to take home services - a field we know better than anyone - into a new era, delivering more services to more New Zealanders than ever."

Partnering with Vodafone as its digital platform provider, Green Aces commissioned software developers Sandfield to build the app based on the essential characteristics of the Uber service.

"Vodafone has enjoyed a highly productive relationship with Green Acres for many years," says Andrew Fairgray, Head of Corporate at Vodafone, "Over the last seven we have provided advice and expertise to help the team develop an entirely digital, totally paperless franchise business model. We’ve now worked extensively to help them create a new on-demand service model based on a completely new set of customer imperatives."

Green Acres’ research indicates that the new service will appeal strongly to Aucklanders under 40, professionals working as managers or in sales. They live in young adult households: single people living alone or flatting in groups and young families. They live in apartments and units. Many are renting or boarding. And they include a high proportion of Asians and non-New Zealand Europeans.

All articles and comments on have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.