A real revolution has been happening in the labor market in the past five years. There is a new kind of entrepreneur giving rise to “the gig-economy,” which is rapidly growing in the US, and around the world. Surveys suggest that it could soon represent as much as 50 percent of the US workforce.
This labor market represents a change of attitude. In the past, success was measured by the ability to stay with an employer for a long period and through promotions within the corporation. The goal was reaching an executive position, changing as little jobs as possible and retiring. People needed a corporation as an anchor and built their careers and lives around it.
Today, people trust their capabilities and talents as their anchor, and being involved with many different projects and companies in a short period often means you are successful.
This behavioral change paves the way to an emerging economy. It’s largely attributed to people’s understanding of the balance between career and personal life as well as true passion and drive to get better results and deliver greater value to one’s clients.
Most freelancers and small business owners find their projects, often called “gigs,” online. They work from anywhere and rely mainly on technology for communicating with their clients. They use online marketplaces and web platforms to promote themselves, interact with clients, deliver their work and process payments. They also use these platforms for support and conflict resolution.
The link of the gig-economy to real estate is clear. Real estate agents are small business owners; they can be called entrepreneurs to some extent, particularly those not working full time for a traditional franchise.
Nevertheless, real estate is has more nuances. Regulation forces agents to work “under” brokers, and laws define what can and cannot be done and how to handle commissions through title companies and closing agents.
There is a lot to learn about how those labor market changes will affect real estate. It’s probably safe to predict that agents who adopt the mindset of small business owners and operate accordingly will become a major driving force in real estate.
The real estate market has to prepare to accommodate such change. In other industries, marketplaces were created to connect “freelancers” with clients. Apps were built to facilitate sourcing, communication and delivery of services. Behavioral codes were adopted to ensure increased productivity and higher satisfaction of all transaction sides.
However, real estate is still missing the infrastructure to accommodate such change. Agents need mobile technology to enable their phones to become an all-in-one tool for searching, sourcing, fulfillment and closing, and consumers need technology to merge online yearnings with offline reality while setting new standards for speed and user experience.
People want things to get done. No wasting time, no talking on the phone and no leaving their comfort zone.
We are all getting accustomed to experiences provided to us by great software teams building amazing apps, we feel empowered by these solutions provided to us, and we get used to them — almost addicted. We’ve grown to expect nothing short of the ease of use and great user experience provided to us by the growing number of apps on our phones.
As you tap an app icon, you know that the platform will take care of all aspects of interaction between you and the service you are ordering or the service provider you are using. You know you will have a valuable experience and, of course, get the desired result. That app will get things done — easily, effectively and quickly.
Think about it. You tap an icon to manage your finances, order a ride, search for a job, chat, find your significant other, get food, manage your schedule, and you even tap an icon to search for a dream home. Some people even go beyond and undergo therapy or get diagnosed by tapping an icon.
Do you think that in the future there won’t be an app to handle and complete the purchase or sale of a home? Really?
Real estate is still missing this platform that would enable agents to become those small business owners. A platform that would truly empower agents and would enable them to do their job, with all related tasks, aspects and complexities, on their mobile devices.
Once that happens — and it will happen — all an agent will have to do is supply his clients with his app icon for them to tap on. And things will get done.
Tamir Poleg is the founder and CEO of Real, an innovative technology powered brokerage.