So there I was laying in bed. I was visiting my mom, and I was broke. It was going to be a few weeks before I was able to return home to New Jersey, and I wished that I had the ability to make some quick cash without the obligations coming from a regular formal job. “I wish I could just open an app and see some odd jobs that needed to be done in my area.” I thought to myself. That’s where the inspiration for QuikBuck came — from experiencing a problem and thinking about a solution to it.
So I endeavored down the path of software product discovery. The following are a collection of wireframes, user interviews, and other things that are useful for evaluating product ideas.
To discover more about what a potential solution to the problem of gig-work would be, I ventured off to find potential users to ask them what a solution would look like. I was already aware of what the problem was, that’s how I got the idea, but I wanted to be sure that others were having the same sort of experience I was. I wanted a solution to the two sided problem of one segment of the population who needed odd jobs done, and another segment which was willing to do those jobs for quick cash.
I needed to interview two different types of users. I needed to interview the people who would potentially post the jobs, and the people who would potentially do them.
I interviewed a friend of mine named Bill. Bill runs a non-profit radio station and a bookstore, and he frequently has situations where he needs manual labor done. When I needed money it was a normal occurrence to call Bill and ask if he had any projects he was working on that he needed help with. Annoyingly he normally needed help moving something heavy. He was a natural person to interview.
Me: “Alright Bill, so if you need some quick help, like an odd job or something, let’s say you want help moving something or some extra hands to move one of those radio towers, how would you go about getting that help?
Bill: “Well, I would post on Facebook to see if any of my friends wanted to help or volunteer.
However, I have had trouble getting help especially if it is of a physical nature.
Me: So what do you do when you can’t find anyone?
Bill: Well then I either don’t do it, or I do it myself. Or I just have to wait until I can find someone.
Me: Have you ever used Craigslist to find people? Or are there any other apps that you’ve heard about that you’ve thought about using?
Bill: Yeah I’ve used Craigslist, but the thing with Craigslist is you never know who you’re getting. Now, I’ve used craigslist and facebook marketplace to find different things to buy, but you just have no idea what you’re getting.
Me: What if there was an app where you could just post the job and select whoever you want out of who applies? Would something like that be useful?
Bill: I don’t know, I’d have to see what you’re talking about I guess
Me: Think like Uber or Doordash. You’d post the job, and you’d see different people who have a rating and stuff could “apply” and you could pick whoever you want
Bill: Do I have to negotiate the price? Or do you set the price?
Me: No, you just post whatever price you want. Kind of like a free market deal
Bill: Ah okay I see I see. Yeah I think that could be awesome.
Me: Do you know how to use apps on your iphone? Do you use apps?
Bill: Yes, I am a frequent user of apps, although my phone is frequently dead and Siri does not always listen to me.
Me: Yeah, I know…
Bill was obviously receptive to the idea, and it seemed like he would at least check it out if something was available. The discussion went on longer and we talked about how he would discover it and the potential market. It was an enlightening discussion.
I also interviewed a potential QuikBuck job seeker.
John is a friend of mine. He is a college student who comes from a lower-middle income background, and is surviving off of student loans and grant money.
Me: So if you’re mostly living off of financial aid money, I would guess that you get all your money in lump sums at say the start of each semester
John: Yeah I think it’s like every September and then again in February or something like that.
Me: Has there ever been times when you’ve run out of money before the next semester start?
John: Honestly yeah, because so many things can happen. Like last semester my car broke down so there were times I had to Uber to class. A lot of people are living in off campus housing so we have to provide our own transportation
Me: Cool, when you run out of money, how do you get more if you need it?
John: I mean if I was back home then I could like do some jobs for people I know, like I could bus at (his uncle’s) restaurant and do pretty alright with tips and stuff, but I don’t have anything like that here
Me: What if there was an app where you could like, go to peoples houses and do chores for them. Like if someone needed their leaves raked or help moving, would you do that for money?
John: Yeah totally I’d check it out if it was legit.
Me: What would make it legit?:
John: Like if it’s not sketchy. Like you know how on Craigslist it’s like a bunch of fake posts and scams and stuff? If I knew it was legit I’d probably do it
Me: So if it looked more like Uber or Doordash instead of Craigslist?
John: Yeah exactly something like that. Like if it had ratings and stuff and the jobs were for like $80 bucks I’d probably do it
A common theme between these two interviews is the concern around the legitimacy of the app. The jobs and the jo-doers will only feel safe using a platform that is trustworthy. It seems as if Craigslist is a frequently mentioned alternative, but Craigslist lacks the verification and safety that users seem to be looking for.
This is going to heavily influence our design choices. We need to design an app that looks sleek and professional, while also being simple to use. A rating system should be implemented so that users can feel safe whether they’re doing a job or posting a job.
Conceptually, this app should have a landing page that is two buttons. One says “Looking for Work” and the other says “Looking for Workers.” If you click “Looking for Work” it should display a map of all the jobs available in the area. You should then be able to click on whichever job and see the details of it. They should also have the ability to display the jobs in list form.
If the user clicks “Looking for Workers” then it will take them to a page where they can input the details of the job and the price they are willing to pay. At this point they can create an account if they have not already. The job is then posted on a map that potential job-doers can see. After a job is complete, there should be a review process where both users can rate the experience of both the app and the person who fulfilled/posted the job.
To paint a clearer picture, here’s the user story:
“I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough money to go out with my friends this weekend. All of my money had to go towards bills and other expenses, but I would still like to go out. I was telling this to my friends and one of them suggested that I check out QuikBuck. He said that I can do a quick job on there and get $50-$60 bucks. I downloaded the app, and when I opened it there were two buttons: “Looking for Work” and “Looking for Workers.” I clicked “Looking for Work” and a map popped up of all the different jobs. I saw a job that was helping someone clean out their garage, and they were going to pay $40 for it. I saw in the description that it was expected to take about 2–3 hours, and I had the time available. I clicked to apply, and it made me make an account. I put in some details about myself, uploaded a picture, and I applied to the job. I then received a notification about an hour later that I had been “hired” and that I needed to confirm a time. I confirmed the time at 2:00pm the next day and went to clean out the garage. It was messier than I expected, but I completed the job in 2 hours and 15 minutes. I then received the money in my account and started the transfer process to my bank. I was able to go out with my boys that weekend.
QuikBuck may not be able to make anyone rich, but it could help people get by. The economic freedom of knowing that there is always the possbility of getting quick cash could end up being a very liberating feeling. The next stage would be to build an MVP so that we can test our assumptions about the product design.