11 on-demand business ideas: taxi and beyond

On-demand is incredibly popular. What makes an on-demand startup idea a real great business? How to survive in the market and become a strong company? In this article, you will find cool on-demand business ideas and tips on making entrepreneurship successful.

One simple everyday thing becoming a huge challenge due to traffic, mobility issues, and the whole rollercoaster of big-city life. Do you recognize it? Probably everyone who’ve ever faced such things was confronted with a question “How come there’s still no Uber for this?”

Willing to have “an Uber” for everything, from transportation to laundry services, is the driving power of the on-demand economy. On-demand is still increasingly popular — because people are really eager to get rid of routine concerns making their lives a quest.

Then again, there’s this notion of making the world perfectly and equally accessible for everyone. On-demand tech seems to be the ultimate way to achieve this goal. But how to come up with a great on-demand business idea? How to make a cool idea a great business? How to survive in the competitive market?

What are the coolest on-demand business ideas?

On-demand is a technology helping to get rid of a middleman. Not because managers are useless — just because their services cost time and money. On-demand technologies are time- and money-saving. And here the cool stuff begins: almost anything, from an ambulance to any peer-to-peer service, can function as an on-demand app. Yet this is also where troubles begin…

Have a look at the chart below. You can see the most successful on-demand companies work with really common services, the ones not requiring too much proficiency. Like instant mobility (Uber, Lyft) or goods delivery (Deliveroo, Postmates).

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Why is that?

The true meaning of on-demand is being able to get any service right at the moment you need it. What kind of services do people order spontaneously? In fact, there are rather few of those. Think of taxi, emergency roadside assistance, deliveries. An interesting fact: when we need instant services, we do not need very high-level qualified professionals. We just need somebody to give us a lift following GPS navigation advise.

Here’s how it works.

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Why is that important? Because the more complicated a task is, the more proficiency a contractor will need to show. The longer the work session becomes. Think of babysitting, therapy, coaching. And these require a whole load of complicated logistics — which should be possible on an on-demand platform if it’s the business idea you have. The “done-just-like-that” approach gets out of the picture.

Accordingly, here’s the rule of thumb when it comes to finding a perfect on-demand startup idea:

  • If you want to build a profitable business in a short time, choose the business models that would not require hiring top-professionals. Transportation and delivery are at the best choices here.
  • If you aim to “create an Uber” for more complicated things, such as coaching or tutoring, make sure you get an app platform able to sustain all the complicated logistics of it.

Transportation business opportunities with Onde platform

Here are some ideas for on-demand transportation businesses. They are all perfectly possible with Onde platform. The cool thing about it is that they comply with the rule of thumb we discussed above.

This means, finding employees will be rather simple, and a lot of people would be happy to use such services.

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  • Bike taxi. Bicycles are amazing, right? They are ecological, they keep you fit, and they are speedier in traffic jams than a private car or public transport. Why not establishing a bike taxi? Our client Pedal Me operates such a service in London and guess what? They are so popular they don’t have time to answer Facebook messages. 😎 One more reason to launch a bike taxi is that there’s a lot of possibilities to scale your business here: think of assisting on weddings, participating in topical events, providing biking city tours...

  • Bike parcel delivery. People love deliveries: forgotten keys and smartphones, documents, you name it. Bike deliveries are not too complicated: to ride a bike, no license is needed. Plus, it’s a good way to get small things at the right place in an environmentally responsible way. Win-win situation, right? Now we’re still talking about bicycles… Ever noticed how popular bike and electric scooters are nowadays? The thing is, this kind of transport is extremely handy in crowded cities with heavy traffic. Try thinking about an on-demand rental service for bikes and compact electric vehicles. This can be the only way out for the mobility industry in megacities. In fact, a startup working with rentals hardly even needs employees...

-Tuk-tuk taxi. Popular in many countries, these tuk-tuks are easy to operate and are, let’s admit, incredibly authentic. Therefore they are popular among tourists everywhere around the world, from Delhi to Paris. However, if you target your business at tourists primarily, take care to shape your marketing strategy accordingly so that they will learn about you. ASO and social media ads will be of great help here.

  • Child-friendly taxi. Okay, people with children deserve better than begging taxi companies for a child seat. Wouldn’t it be great if it was possible to order a cab that comes with a child seat by design? Maybe with several child seats even… Really, this is a dream for many people in many locations. And accordingly, a beautiful startup idea.

  • Women-only taxi. Women make 51% of buyers in the world right now. Some experts even call addressing women as consumers a key to economic growth. Ever since feminism, women claim safe spaces — they do it for various reason. And this makes girls-drive-girls transportation so popular all around the world. Onde clients run successful “women-taxi” companies: one in Brazil, another one in Russia. They are doing really well. 💃

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  • Roadside assistance. Our client in El Salvador has noticed there’s a way to provide high-quality on-demand services in emergency roadside assistance. His idea was to connect professional, reliable contractors with those who need their services asap. So this client of ours, LifeOne Assist, has made a connection to an insurance company, and voila! A perfectly trustworthy roadside assistance on-demand service was born. The lessons here: think beyond and never hesitate to collaborate with certified organizations and professionals.

  • Fix-it on-demand. From a plumber to an electrician, fix-it services are popular and are often needed “right now”. Isn’t this a great idea for an on-demand startup? Just make sure you recruit the right people — after all, it’s more of a personal service than giving a lift.

  • Cargo delivery. As we’ve discussed before, people often need things delivered. Sometimes, these things are big and clumsy: a wedding dress, a box full of heavy tools... A serious on-demand cargo delivery requires quite a lot of logistics, but it’s still a great solution. Plus, a huge part of this logistics is being arranged by Onde. 😉

  • Dog-walking services. When you’re traveling or spending extra time at the office, knowing your pet is safe and happy can be a real relief. This makes dog-walking services a cool on-demand startup idea. Consider this: no special training needed to do it. A lot of people can just pop in to walk someone’s dog and make some extra cash. This business is scalable, too: think of all the pets that need human attention while their own human is away. 🐾

  • Meal-kits delivery. This is probably the most specialized service in this list. The logistics around it are pretty complicated: packaging, printing instructions and recipes, delivery — and this is only what’s on the surface. Also, the local market can be already saturated with suchlike solutions. Services of this kind are generally better off when provided on subscription. If that’s what your heart’s yearning for, make sure you think the whole logistics through and through.

One more tip for you to develop a really great business idea. Make sure the idea solves the problems real people have. Here’s the truth about business: you don’t create it for yourself, you create it for the customers who need it. Do your research — this is the only way to come up with a stunning solution and conquer the market.

Some extra tips for a successful on-demand business

There are some insights we’ve gained from working with our international and diverse clients over all these years.

Just as we’ve once seen in the dot-coms era, only the strongest can survive in a saturated market. So here are the main reasons beautiful on-demand startup ideas end up bankrupting — and the ways to address them.

Low brand awareness and no loyalty

Technically, there’s often no reason for customers to prefer a taxi app X to a taxi app Y. People just look for better deals and betray businesses quite easily. Unless there’s more to a company than merely attractive fares.

What clever companies do is creating a sustainable brand identity. They nourish awareness and are constantly busy raising brand loyalty.

Creating an appealing brand that stands for something meaningful is often the most straightforward way to make sure clients and employees will stay with you.

Occasional need for the services

The main idea of on-demand apps is giving people what they need at the very moment they need it. Now, if consumers only need your services once a year, how will your business develop?

This is why a “Christmas tree delivery” on-demand app is a poor idea. (Well, except for as a one-time promotion maybe.) The more often people need your services, the more predictable your revenue flow will be. Good advice: avoid getting involved with episodic and unstable customer behavior.

Relying on dubious business models

Very often, startupers do not even bother with basic customer research. Relying on your deep feeling in what the market needs can be successful when you’re at Jeff Bezos level. Ever before, there are good old market research and business model shaping.

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Figuring out objective aims and measurable goals is yet another struggle. Concentrate on providing services that result in a real, objective outcome — this is a simple way to measure how well the things are going for you, the customers, and the employees. Measurable, practical outcomes will also help your further business planning.

As you see, coming up with a great on-demand startup idea is not exactly rocket science. Choosing a reliable technical solution able to sustain logistics around an on-demand is already half of the work. Creating a consistent brand and attracting loyal customers and employees brings you even closer to becoming a great business. Working with a well-grounded business model and developing measurable and objective development goals is the last step to picking a good on-demand startup idea. You’re all set now! 😎

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