Similar to how local businesses use Groupon to offer discounts during a downtime, these platforms can often be helpful to local business owners when things are slow, by helping them find new customers. However, they are not necessarily the best route if your goal is to create a valuable, sustainable business—an important consideration for the leader of every company, no matter what size.
For one thing, when you depend on a platform, you may give up control over some areas of your business, like pricing, that you might later wish you had maintained. There are other viable models you can use to build a service business, such as running an independent business or buying a franchise. Uber and its imitators are modern-day franchises—without many of the upsides of joining a franchise network—where independent contractors are quasi-franchisees.
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Like franchises, the on-demand platforms offer small-business owners affiliation with a big brand and use that brand to aggregate consumer demand and drive leads. Beyond that, they offer little else that's unique in terms of the operational playbook provided by most franchisors. They are simply aggregators of demand—a variation on the models used by Yelp, Angie's List and Groupon—engaging with customers via the mobile phone.
And, in many ways, the platforms' trendy business models offer a lower value proposition than a franchise, at a much higher cost to the business owner.