The eras of the 9-5 workday and traditional dynamic as to how work gets done has changed dramatically in recent years. Simply put, the way people think about employment is being revolutionized, whether it is for full-time work or part-time work for some supplemental income. At the same time, consumers are taking a different approach too, increasingly looking to online marketplaces for labor.
Colloquially dubbed the “gig economy,” people are working for themselves like never before, contracting out their skills in a temporary fashion to companies and individuals that need them, whether for a one-hour job or a multi-month project.
The gig economy is not slowing down. Driven by technological advancements, it is accelerating into the new decade, providing access to talent and jobs and giving investors plenty of reasons to look for ways to capitalize on it.
“It’s a bit ironic that with all the focus on advanced technology, many of the traditional jobs that technology cannot replace are being overlooked,” commented Lance Montgomery, CEO at HeyBryan Media (CSE: HEY), in a phone conversation with Baystreet.ca. HeyBryan is a Vancouver-based company focused on connecting homeowners with qualified home service experts to complete small projects and repairs, including general handyman, painting, snow removal, electrical and plumbing services, to name a few.
Big companies typically don’t want to mess with small homeowner projects and small companies often lack competitive marketing abilities to sell their services, according to Montgomery.
“We saw an opportunity to use technology to fill a gap in the home-services market with HeyBryan and, judging by consumer and contractor uptake of the app so far, we were right in our assessment,” he said.
HeyBryan, which draws its name from popular DIY television personality Bryan Baeumler, uses artificial intelligence (AI) as part of its peer-to-peer mobile marketplace aimed at the gig economy, that is disrupting the Canadian home-service industry. Baeumler, the most watched HGTV Canada star in Canadian history and current star of “Island of Bryan,” is a major shareholder in HEY and serves as a media partner to the company.
Once considered the “alternative workforce,” freelance workers are now mainstream with some 41 million independent workers in the U.S. In Canada, the trend is starting to gain steam with the younger generation leading the way. A recent study showed that 40 percent of millennials (those born between 1981-1996) have participated in the gig economy in the last five years.
First launched in November 2018 into the Vancouver market, HeyBryan has since been rolled-out into other populous parts of Canada, including Toronto in March and Calgary in December 2019 as the company looks to get in front of the nation’s 14 million households.
The app has been polished and expanded to provide HeyBryan Experts across 16 home maintenance categories. The app is comprehensive, yet simple, with HeyBryan handling the screening and vetting of its local experts, providing insurance on projects and a secure payment portal within the app. A new referral program was implemented in December to further drive traffic by giving 15% discounts for new tasks.
The expansion efforts are paying off.
From January 1, 2019 through November 18, 2019, the company reported a 670% increase in the number of experts and a 1,150% increase in the number of customers. The number of finished tasks climbed by more than 2,400% across the time frame.
HeyBryan generates revenue by collecting 7.5% from customer transactions and 20% from home-service Experts.
Montgomery said in a news release that management is happy with all the growth metrics, but “especially proud of the steady increase in the number of completed tasks as they are HeyBryan’s primary revenue source.”
The Power of AI
The Baeumler name automatically adds credibility and marketing reach to the HeyBryan brand. Scaling is the key going forward, which is bolstered by AI-powered AdTech marketing programs and data-driven geographic expansion strategies via a partnership with JSU Solutions, a leading technology company using proprietary Artificial Intelligence technology and machine-learning algorithms to create psychology-driven, results-oriented social media advertising campaigns.
This is where the power of AI begins to show through in efficient and scalable targeted marketing and conversion optimization. Using social media channels and curated content, machine learning is able to segment and test audiences across thousands of data points to determine the most effective pathways to customer retention and, most importantly, task completions.
“Historically, marketing has been a pure – and relatively inefficient – numbers game, but technology has changed the paradigm,” said Montgomery during the call. “Our job is to get HeyBryan launched into new markets and leverage AI to make prudent use of the marketing budget in conjunction with traditional expansion tools, such as our partnerships with Haven Mattress and The Original CleanBoot, to keep consistently growing our company.”
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