Whether we like it or not, Uber has become synonymous with the gig economy and any kind of business that uses an online platform to deliver on-demand services. We call it “Uber for X” because it’s all about applying all or some of the company’s business model to something else, like getting a haircut, having alcohol delivered to your front door or hiring someone to return those recent purchases you later came to regret (this latter one is indeed a real thing).
So that got me thinking: How many “Uber for X” services are there in Boston?
Looking at companies that incorporate technology to provide on-demand services—and maybe even use that to take advantage of the gig economy, AKA hiring workers who perform tasks on your own schedule—I created a comprehensive list, to the best of my ability, of all the “Uber for X” services available in Boston, whether they are headquartered here or not.
Not all of these services use workers, but all of them utilize technology to help us get things done whenever we want. It’s obviously a popular way to think of a new startup (“hmm, thing I currently can’t get done with an app. That’s it! I’ll make an app for it!”), but it also raises the question of when this model will reach critical mass and start to lose its appeal.
The only people who can really answer that question are the entrepreneurs who come up with these new ideas, the investors who take a chance on them, the employees or contractors who are willing to embrace the ideas and the customers who will find them useful in their everyday lives. Oh, and regulators. Sometimes they have a say in this stuff, too.
With that, here are all the “Uber for x” services I could find in Boston:
Uber for haircuts
MyBarber is an app still in development that plans to help users find highly rated local barbers and book appointments as well as have a barber come to them. It is launching first in Boston. Chop chop.
Uber for snow plowing & lawn mowing
Plowz & Mowz is a Syracuse, N.Y.-based mobile app for on-demand snow plowing and lawn mowing. Boston is in its service area. Too bad plow and mow don’t rhyme.
Uber for everything
Dispatch is a Boston-based startup that has developed what it calls the “world’s most powerful on-demand services platform.” In other words, it can help companies “Uberize” anything.
Uber for snow removal
Yeti is a Boston-based, on-demand snow removal app still in development that will let people ask for help with snow shoveling and/or provide help to others in need. People over the weekend probably could have used this.
Uber for cleaning
Handy is a New York-based app that lets you book on-demand cleaning services. It’s available in Boston. Because calling for a cleaner is too old school.
Uber for everyday tasks
TaskRabbit is a San Francisco-based app that helps people book on-demand help with a number of everyday tasks, like moving, shopping, cleaning and more. I wonder what’s the strangest task someone has asked for.
Uber for odd jobs
GladlyDo is a Boston-based startup that matches college students who want to make extra cash with people who need odd jobs completed. Better than flipping burgers, am I right?
Uber for storage
Cubiq is a Boston startup that provides on-demand storage without the need to leave your home. Because no one in their right minds wants to cart their stuff around the city.
Uber for substitute teachers
Parachute is an Allston-based startup that is working on an on-demand platform that lets schools hire substitute teachers. Sorry, no more movie days.
Uber for chefs, or bartenders
LocalTable is a Boston-based app that lets you book on-demand professional chefs, servers and bartenders for events. Because your CEO isn’t that good of a cook.
Uber for movers
Bellhops is a Tennessee-based service that lets you hire on-demand movers… for when you’re moving. It’s available in Boston. Not actually hotel related.
QuikForce is a startup born out of the Harvard Innovation Lab that, similar to Bellhops, lets you hire on-demand professional movers. Moving sucks, so I’m glad it’s getting disrupted.
Uber for parking
Spot is a Boston-based, on-demand parking app that lets you pay for a private parking spot from someone who has listed their spot on the app’s service. Another solution to the headaches of finding parking (part of that solution is having money).
Uber for valet parking
SpotLight Parking is a Boston-based startup that lets you book on-demand valet parkers who will park your car and then return it for pickup. Don’t worry. The guy from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off doesn’t work here.
Uber for healthcare
Amwell is an app developed by Boston-based American Well that lets you connect with a doctor, therapist or dietician over video chat in less than five minutes. So you no longer have excuse about not getting that cough checked out.
ZocDoc is a New York-based service that lets you find doctors and other healthcare professionals in a quick turnaround time. It’s available in Boston. Someone must be a doctor here!
Uber for healthcare professionals
TempDaddy is a Boston-based startup that lets doctors, dentists and hospitals hire on-demand help from nurses, dental hygienists, physician assistants and other healthcare professionals. Because healthcare is a team sport.
Uber for delivery
Postmates is a San Francisco-based startup that lets you hire on-demand workers to deliver whatever you want (within reason) in under an hour. It’s available in Boston. Again, wondering what the strangest thing someone had delivered.
Favor is an Austin, Texas-based startup that also lets you hire on-demand workers to deliver… pretty much anything. Also available in Boston. Same question goes for you, Favor.
Piggyback is a San Diego-based startup that helps e-commerce companies hire on-demand workers to deliver their goods to customers. It expanded to Boston this week. No real pigs included.
Uber for beauty care
The Glam App is an on-demand beauty care app that lets you book from a range of beauty care services, ranging from makeup to hair. It’s available in Boston. Treat yourself.
BeautyLynk is a Boston-based, on-demand beauty care service that, similar to the Glam App, lets you book from a range of beauty care services, like hair styling and makeup. Treat yourself even more.
Uber for merchandising
Survey.com is a Boston-based startup that lets companies hire on-demand merchandising professionals for retail intelligence and merchandising work. Someone has to put all those deal stickers on the chip bags.
Uber for consulting
HourlyNerd is a Boston-based startup that has created an online marketplace where companies can hire on-demand consultants and consulting firms. The best kind of nerd, at least in a professional setting.
Uber for data scientists
Experfy is a Cambridge-based startup that lets companies hire on-demand data scientists for a variety of consulting projects related to data, analytics and business intelligence. Because I need to know what these numbers mean!
Uber for engineers
Borrow an Engineer is a Boston startup that has created an online marketplace where companies can hire on-demand engineers to help them complete engineering projects. No keepsies (unless you hire them, and they want to be hired).
Uber for market research
InCrowd is a Boston-based startup that connects companies with on-demand market intelligence for the life sciences industry. Get connected, for health.
Uber for business catering
ezCater is a Boston-based startup that lets companies order on-demand catering services from a variety of local caterers and restaurants. Because employees love free food (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, BostInno).
Uber for… Uber
Uber. Says it all, doesn’t it? Obviously available in Boston.
Lyft is one of Uber’s top competitors. You probably knew that. Also available in Boston. Duh.
Fasten is a lesser known Uber competitor based in Boston, and it charges riders less and pays drivers more, according to its promotional material.
Uber for kids
Zemcar is a Cambridge-based ridesharing service that lets families hire on-demand, heavily vetted drivers for kids, senior and others who need an extra layer of security. Because kids are precious.
Uber for alcohol
Drizly is a Boston-based startup with an app that lets you order booze for on-demand delivery from your local liquor store. Because sometimes you can’t even.
Buttery is a Boston-based startup with an app that lets you order craft beer, wine and liquor from a wider selection of liquor stores for on-demand delivery or pickup. It also has “drink experts,” who, if you’re like me, can help you figure out what kind of IPA beers you’re actually into.
Uber for laundry
NimNim is a Boston-based startup with an app that lets you hire on-demand help for getting your laundry, dry cleaning and shoe cleaning done on your schedule. Time to make those shoes nice and squeaky.
Washio is a Santa Monica, Calif.-based app that lets you hire someone to do your laundry or dry cleaning. It’s available in Boston. Laundry day doesn’t have to be a dangerous day anymore.
Uber for massages
Zeel is a New York-based app that lets you book on-demand massages, at your home, office or wherever else a massage therapist can set up. Once again, treat yourself.
Uber for drones
Fly4Me is a Cambridge-based startup with an online platform that helps companies and individuals hire on-demand drone pilots for surveys, building inspections and other tasks. All the drone expertise you could need.
Uber for nightclubs
Tablelist is a Boston-based startup that automates the process of reserving a table at a nightclub and, like Uber, lets people pay with a credit card connected to the app. *Enter lazy recitation of 50 Cent lyrics here*
Uber for manicures
Manicube is a New York-based service that lets you book on-demand, 15-minute manicures, right in your office. It’s available in Boston. My wife said I should try getting a manicure at some point; my mind is open to this.
Uber for… wait for it… airport food
AirGrub is a San Francisco-based app that lets you order airport food ahead of time so it will be ready when you get there. It’s available at Boston’s Logan International Airport. I guess if you’re really in a rush?
Uber for meal delivery
ChefNightly is a Boston startup that has developed an app that lets you order on-demand curated meals from a variety of local chefs. It also learns your what kind of food you’re into, which is pretty cool.
Caviar is a San Francisco-based app that lets you order on-demand meals from “top-rated” restaurants. It’s available in Boston. Meals that make you have feels.
GrubHub is a Chicago-based app that also lets you order on-demand meals from your favorite restaurants. Yup, also available in Boston. You’ve probably heard of this one.
Foodler is a Boston-based startup that lets you order on-demand meals for delivery or takeout from nearby restaurants. I heard the service also has “rewards.”
DoorDash is a San Francisco-based app that also lets you order on-demand meals from restaurants. Surprise! It’s also available in Boston.
Uber for grocery delivery
Instacart is a San Francisco-based service that lets you hire someone for on-demand grocery delivery in under an hour. It’s available in Boston. The company now uses employees instead of independent contractors, so there’s that.
Uber for restaurant workers
Jobletics is a Boston-based startup that helps restaurants hire on-demand staff for a number of positions, including cooks, bussers, foodrunners, hosts, barbacks and more. Because this restaurant won’t run itself!
Uber for bar tabs
TabbedOut is an Austin-based startup that lets you close your bar tab with an app, Uber-style. It’s becoming available in Boston. Never forget your credit card again, or just don’t even bring it out in the first place.
Uber for pet care
Baroo is Boston-based startup that lets you hire on-demand pet care professionals within an hour’s notice. Your cat is sacred, so treat that furry beast as such.
Uber for respite care
IntelyCare is a Boston-based startup with an app that lets you hire on-demand respite care professionals for your loved ones. Very much needed.
Uber for… private spaces?
Breather is a Montreal-based service that lets you book on-demand private spaces around the city. It’s available in Boston. For working or chilling.
Uber for store returns
Tern is a Boston-based startup with an app that lets you hire someone to return unwanted purchases to a store. This is indeed a real thing.
Uber for shopping
Scratch is a Boston-based startup with an app that lets you receive on-demand shopping recommendations from real personal shoppers for free. So that shopping itch can be scratched (just taking a stab at the name origin).
Uber for event management
Jobble is a Boston-based startup that lets you hire on-demand help for event management and staffing. Time to staff up.
Are there any other services you think should be here? Send me an email at email@example.com/boston.