Technology is testing the boundaries of new business models, and the pandemic is creating sufficient disruption to accelerate the adoption of these new business models. I had dinner delivered to my house last week from a restaurant. The restaurant is only about a 2 minute drive from my house, but having dinner delivered during an evening when I had a packed schedule was incredibly convenient.
A new startup company is hoping to become the Uber of evictions and post-eviction cleaning.
There are approximately 4.5 million homes in the US in some form of financial distress. One startup is treating the dire situation as a moneymaking opportunity for gig workers.
The company, Civvl is recruiting freelancers to sign up as eviction crews for landlords and lenders, calling it the “FASTEST GROWING MONEY MAKING GIG DUE TO COVID-19.”
Civvl is a company that started its online presence back in May of this year is hiring gig workers in all 50 states. Their website says that they’re accepting new gig workers in all 50 states and Canada. But when I attempted to register on their site, it was not capable of accepting a Canadian address.
While there is a large scale moratorium on evictions, some evictions that do not fall under the moratorium are happening. The company aims to provide services in 4 separate areas:
1) Process Serving
2) Foreclosure and eviction clean-outs
3) Property Inspection
4) Eviction Standby and assistance
The system basically aims to match landlords and lenders with process servers and cleaning crews who would be involved with the eviction process. The agents would not be responsible themselves for the eviction of tenants or the eviction of occupants in the event of a foreclosure.
At the heart of the system is an iPhone or Android App that agents have running on their phone. When a new gig comes into the system in a geographic area, potential agents are notified of an incoming gig and then they have an opportunity to snag the gig. Pricing is negotiated between the user of the service and the agents who take the gig.
I’m personally not ready to hire an unknown gig worker to serve legal documents. Yes, that will probably be less expensive than hiring a professional process server. But if the service doesn’t follow the process to the letter of the law, the landlord or the lender runs the risk of having the service being invalidated. In that situation you would believe that the notice was served, when in fact you would not be in compliance.
Hiring someone from an app to complete an eviction clean-out would probably be an ideal service as long as there is enough resource available at a decent price in order to hire reliably. This is something that I would be inclined to use as a lender or as a landlord.
I read through the company’s 28 page agent agreement that any gig worker would have to sign prior to becoming part of their network.
I don’t know whether Civvl is ultimately going to be a good service or not. But we are living in a time of innovation and there is no doubt that new business models will emerge for services. I’m not here to offer advice. But rather this is an idea and information that you can keep on your radar.