Help(l)ing Anyone

A dream came true for the start-up Helpling. They had a brilliant but simple idea and after only 1 year they are offering their service in more than 12 countries and 200 cities. But how did they get so successful? What is so special about Helpling?
There is a huge black market out there, a huge market of housekeepers that serves millions of households and a lot of these families have the same questions: Is it legal? Is this for me the cheapest and safest way? How can I find the perfect match? Everyone recognizes the issues. Millions of people need it, but it is difficult to find: a housekeeper that fits your budget, lives around the corner and you can trust. A difficult combination but Helpling has found a way to make everything more legal, transparent and they promise every customer to find the perfect housekeeper in 60 seconds.

Helpling is started in Germany when two guys presented a simple business concept to Rocket Internet. Rocket Internet liked it and one week after the meeting they already started to develop the concept. On March 29th 2014 Helpling is officially launched.
But why is this simple idea so brilliant? Partly probably because of the contemporary business model: co-creation. Nowadays customers want to contribute and support each other more and more. Helpling is making use of this trend.

Helpling is an online platform that matches customers with independent cleaning providers (called ‘Helplings’). Helplings register online, go through a registration process, choose their availability and after that they are able to receive bookings. Households who want to book a housekeeper have to make a booking online by entering their address and making an appointment. Then Helpling is matching a customer with a housekeeper based on location and number of positive reviews. So if a housekeeper is doing a great job, he gets higher rankings and he will receive more jobs since Helpling is offering jobs first to the best-reviewed housekeepers.

Through this way Helpling is supporting the Helpling community to review each other and the Helpling community improves the overall service by doing this. This recommendation-system supports the quality of Helpling.
Because Helpling is matching, also the perceived effort for the customer is becoming less and Tsekouras & Li (2015) found out that this means that the overall perceived quality would be higher. A customer has to put in a minimum effort and gets great results because of transparency and the Helpling’s review-based selection. Besides, because Helpling is helping customers to find the best-reviewed housekeeper, customers are more likely to do something back and are willing to write these valuable reviews as well.

Of course there are also some challenges of co-creation and the Helpling business model. It could be risky to fully rely on the individual housekeepers. They might seem reliable but housekeepers can also ruin the brand-image by misleading honest customers. Therefore, the most difficult part for Helpling is to recruit the cleaners, since one single Helpling can damage the brand, and they are now thinking about how they can safely scale this task. It is important to explore the risks and opportunities of this co-created platform.

“We would never do anything that harms Helpling as a brand. It only works if we can provide a good service. Otherwise you create hype and everyone tries it, and tries it exactly once, and you are in a really bad position.” (Benedikt Franke, 2015)

Luckily for now the quality remains good and there are increasingly more housekeepers and customers that are making use of this simple and helpful platform. If Helpling can live up to the ultimate dream to serve the world with their service? Give them one more year and we will see where they get.


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