(Analysis by Steve King of Emergent Research. a regular contributor to SmallBusiness.com. A version of this appeared also on his blog, SmallBizLabs.com.)

Almost every day, it seems an on-demand economy company (the companies that are “like Uber,” sometimes described as Uber for X) announces a big round of funding. For example, the delivery service Door Dash announced last week it has raised an additional $40 million.

With so many companies raising so much money to become the “Uber of X,” an elephant of a question has strolled into the room: Are there enough independent contractors to meet the demand for the on-demand workers necessary to operate these companies?

Here are just some of the challenges these companies face:

  • They all have business models built on the use of independent contractors as service providers.
  • Most of companies are trying to attract independent contractors from roughly the same pool—people looking for flexible, independent work in the service sector.
  • A lot of these types of workers are only interested in part time work.

Companies that depend on on-demand workers came of age during the post 2008 recession and its “jobless recovery” are already facing worker recruitment issues. Otherwise they wouldn’t be spending so much money trying to find and hire people.


 

“With the economy improving, unemployment continuing to fall and traditional employers starting to raise wages (Walmart, Target and McDonald’s being examples), talent is already harder to attract than it was just a year or two ago.”

 


In fact, there are many professions/job categories where the war for talent is quite real today. Mobile device programmers and welders are two examples.

Add in dozens (maybe many dozens) of on-demand companies collectively planning to hire literally millions of independent workers over the next few years, and you have the makings of potential bidding war for on-demand talent.

So will there be an on-demand economy war for talent? And if there is, what impact will it have on on-demand economy companies and their providers? To be honest, we’re asking these questions because we don’t know the answers.

Over the next couple of months we’re going to explore this issue and try to figure it out.

Stay tuned.

6
“Are Uber Drivers Employees of Uber?” and Why The Answer is Important

Agencies like the California Labor Commission have issued rulings that Uber drivers are employees, not contractors. What does that mean to the future of the “on-demand economy.”

7
Amazon Expands its On-Demand Marketplace of ‘Home Services’ in 15 U.S. Metropolitan Areas

Amazon continues to go local with the expansion of Amazon Home Services, an on-demand marketplace to match customers with home-related service-providers.

8
What Were They Drinking? Startups Focusing on Same Day Alcohol Delivery

Same day alcohol delivery — wine, beer and spirits — is the last frontier in convenience and on-demand local delivery,

9
Coverage of an On-demand Economy Backlash Continues to Miss the Positives

The majority of on-demand workers like what they are doing, a fact missing from coverage suggesting there’s an on-demand economy backlash.

10
Google Testing a Search Tool for the On-Demand Economy

Google is testing a search-engine enabled on-demand marketplace.

11
Amazon Prime Now Drivers Join in On-Demand Economy Lawsuit Parade

Amazon.com is being sued in California courts by former Amazon Prime Now delivery drivers in a proposed class-action suit.

12
Amazon Moving Ahead of Google in Home Delivery Race, What That Means for Small Business

Amazon Prime Now is in 20 markets compared to Google Express’ seven.

13
On-demand Economy Participants Typically Work 12 Hours a Week to Augment Household Income

Augmenting their household income is the primary reason independent workers participate in the on-demand economy.

14
New Small Businesses Are Emerging From the On-demand Economy

The on-demand business model is growing the segment of small business called “sole proprietors” or “single employee” businesses

15
The Five Faces of the On-Demand Workforce

Participants in the on-demand economy fall into different groups, different motivations and different levels of satisfaction.

16
Small Businesses Using On-Demand Economy to Access Tech Talent Pool

Because of the wave of on-demand economy companies, even the smallest of small businesses can use an app to connect with independent tech workers.

17
Yelp Joins Google, Amazon and a Slew of Startups in Home Services On-Demand Marketplace

Yelp adds Request a Quote feature to participating service providers.

18
Uber Settlement Defines Drivers as Independent Small Businesses, Not Employees

Uber has agreed to a class-action lawsuit settlement with drivers in California and Massachusetts

19
Shopify’s Ecommerce Merchants Can Now Offer Local, Same-Day Delivery in 200+ U.S. Locations

Ecommerce software provider Shopify is teaming up with on-demand same-day delivery service Postmates.

20
Uber Didn’t Create the On-Demand Economy, The On-Demand Economy Created Uber

Uber exists because of the growing need for highly flexible part-time work to supplement incomes.

21
Voters’ Decision Keeps Austin Too Weird For Uber, Lyft

Uber and Lyft, the ride-sharing, on-demand economy companies, lost a key vote by focusing on the wrong messages.

22
Employers Prefer Full Time Workers, But Agree That On-Demand Economy is Here to Stay | 2016

Employers have a love-hate relationship with the on-demand economy.

23
The On-Demand Economy Workforce Continues to Expand | 2017

Two-thirds of on-demand economy participants say they are satisfied with their work

24
HomeAdvisor Buys Angie’s List to Grow its Home Services On-Demand Marketplace

To compete with the giants creating new, on-demand home services marketplaces, HomeAdvisor acquires Angie’s List.

25
Gallup: Most Employees Who Work Varying Hours Like Their Schedules | 2017

According to Gallup, the majority of employees who work variable hours each week report no problems or financial hardship with the variable hours.

26
Two Small Business Trends That Contributed to Ikea’s Decision to Buy TaskRabbit | 2017

Are the acquisitions of TaskRabbit and Angie’s List pointing to the consolidation of the gig economy?