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Do It for Me: The Next Evolution of the On-Demand Economy

Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson
business.com Contributing Writer
Updated Sep 01, 2022

Learn how to take advantage of the emerging do-it-for-me (DIFM) movement.

Although the do-it-yourself (DIY) trend had its time to shine, it’s now fading away. Replacing it is the do-it-for-me (DIFM) movement, which is changing how customers interact with businesses and how companies respond to consumer demand. If you want to take advantage of this promising, emerging market, take a look at how DIFM works and how your business can capitalize on the trend.

What is the do-it-for-me movement?

The do-it-for-me movement caters to consumers who don’t have the time, resources or desire to complete a certain task. So, whereas DIY would involve teaching a customer how to complete a task themselves, DIFM would have a business do the job for them. 

For instance, let’s say you buy a home and want to decorate it, but you don’t have any design knowledge. Instead of figuring out how to do it yourself, you might hire an interior decorator to design and furnish the home for you. Sure, interior design has been an industry for decades, but with the rise of the DIFM movement, exactly what can be done on demand has evolved.

How can you take advantage of the on-demand economy?

Entrepreneurs in almost every sector and location can capitalize on the DIFM trend. It is an emerging market space, so there’s plenty of time to test this on-demand economy to see what works. If you get in early enough, you may be able to carve out a long-lasting niche for yourself. Here are some tips for capitalizing on the on-demand economy:

Identify a need in the market.

When you’re trying to start a new business, the first step is to identify an underserved need in the market. What is a task that consumers don’t want to do themselves and instead would pay an individual or company to complete the job for them?

Once you’ve come up with some potential ideas, spend time interviewing your would-be target audience. What is the job they need to have filled, and why don’t they want to do it themselves? How much are they willing to spend to have someone else do it for them?

Next, look at businesses that are already offering similar services. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How can you differentiate your business to gain a competitive edge? Determine ways to uniquely position your business in the market so you can stand out from competitors. Otherwise, it will be hard to get your enterprise off the ground. 

TipTip: If you’re dealing with a tight budget, find out how to start a business with $0.

Create zero-friction customer experiences. 

Eliminating customer friction should be a high priority for all companies, regardless of their specific market or role. Friction is the amount of effort a customer has to make to complete a purchase with your company. 

The harder it is for a customer to buy from you, the more friction there is. For instance, if a customer has to contact your company three times to book an appointment, there’s a high amount of friction in your scheduling process. Customers expect a frictionless experience when they interact with businesses, particularly when the purpose of your company is to do something so they don’t have to. If you’re unable to deliver, you will lose customers to more capable competitors. 

Understand convenience-oriented customers.

In general, there are two types of customers: value-oriented and convenience-oriented. Value-oriented customers are willing to spend time to save money, whereas convenience-oriented customers are willing to spend money to save time. 

Convenience-oriented customers are more likely to do things such as hire a housekeeper or pay for a lawn-mowing service – two examples of do-it-for-me services. Studies have shown that people who buy back their time tend to be happier than if they spent that same money on material purchases. It’s important to understand which type of customer you’re dealing with so you can find relevant ways to market to convenience-oriented customers.

FYIFYI: The right customer relationship management (CRM) system can make it easier to manage your client relationships. Check out our picks for the best CRM software.

Tailor your services to different customers.

It’s easy to assume that convenience-oriented customers have a lot of disposable income, but this isn’t always the case. Research has shown that these consumers have a variety of income levels. Convenience-oriented customers are also pretty evenly split between men and women, and among different age ranges and lifestyles. Keep that diverse market in mind when you set the prices for your services.

To appeal to everyone who is looking for on-demand and do-it-for-me assistance, you should create different types of services. Going back to the housekeeping example, such a business should have various cleaning packages that suit customer segments such as elderly homeowners, new homebuyers, and families renting out their spaces. All of these customers want you to do the cleaning for them, but their specific needs and circumstances vary.

Provide mobile-friendly options.

In today’s mobile economy, consumers are more empowered than ever when making purchase decisions. They compare prices, communicate directly with retailers and service providers, and use apps to have basically anything delivered to them at any time. Mobile devices eliminate boundaries to connectivity, so it’s important to offer mobile-friendly options – for example, a site with responsive web design, social media accounts where consumers can engage with you, and easy online purchase options. [Learn how to go mobile-first in the age of mobile marketing.]

Because the DIFM movement is intended to cater to customers, providing a mobile-friendly experience is perfectly aligned with an on-demand business’s overall goals. The time and effort required to create mobile-friendly options will likely benefit your company in the long run.

What are examples of on-demand businesses?

According to a PwC report, the on-demand market will reach $335 billion by 2025, up from $15 billion in 2013. In case you’re looking for some inspiration, here are three do-it-for-me services that have taken off in recent years.

Grocery delivery 

Grocery delivery services have grown in popularity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, health risks aside, many people today just aren’t interested in going to a store, filling their cart with items and waiting in a long checkout line. Instead, they prefer the convenience of ordering everything they need on an app and having it delivered to their home that same day. 

Food delivery

It used to be that if you wanted takeout, your only real option was ordering a pizza or Chinese food. But now, food delivery services such as DoorDash and Uber Eats allow you to order takeout from your favorite restaurant and have it delivered to your home. Is it more expensive for the customer? Usually, but they’re willing to pay that premium for someone to make the trip for them. 

At-home healthcare

On-demand healthcare services allow people to have prescriptions delivered, schedule telehealth appointments and communicate with their doctors without leaving their homes. Telemedicine is changing healthcare, and those capable of starting a telehealth business will reap the rewards.

Scot Wingo contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. 

Image Credit: garagestock/Shutterstock
Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson
business.com Contributing Writer
Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who writes about finance and business. She has also written for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Fox Business and Business Insider. Jamie has written about a variety of B2B topics like finance, business funding options and accounting. She also writes about how businesses can grow through effective social media and email marketing strategies.