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Domestly app

8 SA companies using the Uber business model to disrupt their industries

Whether you like it or not, Uber’s on-demand business model has resulted in a flood of companies using a similar strategy.

There are Uber-like services for rival taxi companies, doctors, massages and even dagga, showing that the business model is here to stay.

What about South African services that use this strategy?


picup wechat

PicUp promises to take the hassle out of package deliveries by harnessing the power of WeChat.

The delivery service boasts a fleet of couriers at your fingertips, using everything from bicycles to cars to transport your goods. Essentially, if it can be hauled on a bicycle or put on the backseat of a car (for bigger parcels), you’re good to go. The app does understandably prohibit transporting people “no matter how big or small”.

As for pricing, the company charges a R40 base fee for the first five kilometres in addition to any further distances travelled.



Don’t want to use WeChat? Or maybe PicUp just isn’t for you. Whatever the reason, WumDrop is an alternative delivery service using a familiar model.

WumDrop, available on Android, iOS and via your browser, offers courier services for R12 per kilometre, along with a minimum fare of R50.

The service also prides itself on not pricing parcels by weight, saying “if the WumDrop Hero can carry it, we can deliver it”.



We’ve covered it before, but the getTOD app is another local service that seems to successfully adapt the on-demand model.

The app connects users with a plumber, electrician, locksmith or handyman, using an interface that’s heavily inspired by Uber. In fact, it also offers the ability to track and rate suppliers and delivers an estimated cost for work.

getTOD is available for free on Android and iOS.


helpout app

No, getTOD isn’t the only smart repairman service around, as HelpOut is another app worth looking at.

Aside from plumbers, electricians and handymen, the app also lists categories for DSTV installations, alarm repairs and takeaways. The company has recently implemented a “Billboard” feature too, so users can find various specials in their area. Not quite an Uber-inspired feature…

HelpOut is available for free on Android and iOS.



One of the more innovative offerings on the list, Domestly aims to do for domestic workers what Uber did for drivers.

Users can book one of 500 domestic workers via the app (or even an entire cleaning team), letting you pay via the service too. The app takes its cues from Uber too, allowing you to rate the workers after the job is done.

Domestly is free to download on Android and iOS.



Another cleaning service makes the list in the form of the pioneering SweepSouth.

The service doesn’t have a mobile app, but users are able to book and specify cleaning sessions via the SweepSouth website.

The service charges R38 an hour for cleaning, but you’ll need to book three hours at the very least. Users can also specify other tasks, such as doing laundry and cleaning the fridge/oven/walls/windows.



Too busy to do the laundry? Too lazy? Whatever the case may be, Washr fetches and cleans your filthy clothes, getting them back to you within 24 hours.

What about pricing? Well, the web-based service charges R26 per kilogram for a wash and fold (a five kilogram minimum order applies here), R34 for a wash, iron and fold (the same minimum order applies) and R60 for a pair of shoes to be washed.

The service also offers dedicated ironing and dry cleaning options. Before you get on the bandwagon, you must know that it’s exclusive to Cape Town, unfortunately.

Just Laundry


Live in Johannesburg? Then Just Laundry is a great alternative to Washr, offering pretty much the same service.

Just Laundry, which is available via your browser, offers to fetch your laundry, clean it and get it back to you within “24 to 48 hours”.

The service charges R24 per kilogram for a wash and fold (with a minimum of five kilograms), R32 per kilogram for a wash, iron and fold (the same five kilogram minimum applies) and R80 for each pair of shoes.

Again, it’s worth noting that Just Laundry is exclusive to Johannesburg and Polokwane.

Author Bio

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings almost seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More
  • Glenda Nevill

    What about http://www.spacebox.co.za! Certainly has disrupted the self-storage model!

  • Hadlay M

    So many great South African offerings. UpForIt (https://www.upforit.co.za/) is another platform that taking over the health space with their one-on-one health coaching app for android and iOS.

  • Enricko

    Another great to have is YoDJ (http://www.yodj.fm/) a jukebox in your pocket!

  • Brad

    Some of these aren’t on-demand, they’re simply a platform to connect suppliers and consumers for future work 🙂

  • Roger

    I think you’re confusing the terms “on demand”, “marketplace” and “online booking”…

    – Uber is “on demand” where you make a request and the system connects you with a provider. Specifically you can’t choose which service provider (from their network) to use. [eg. Picup, Wumdrop, Sweep South]

    – A marketplace is where you can browse for or select a service provider, specifically choosing who you want to use. [eg.Domestly, getTOD, Helpout, or AirBnB]

    – Online booking is where there is only one company involved and the booking is captured by the same service that does the job. This is just another channel (like a phone call service) for any normal business. Online booking is easy and convenient, but is nothing like Uber. [ eg. Washr, Just Laundry]

    It shows that you actually don’t understand Uber’s business model at all. Why not do a little bit of research and write up a piece on how the models are differ from Uber instead of just trying to throw out buzzwords for clickbait… :/

    • Brad

      Hey Roger,

      getTOD is on demand, not a market place. Suppliers are waiting and ready to be booked immediately.


  • Brad

    Hey Roger,

    getTOD is on demand, not a market place. Suppliers are waiting and ready to be booked immediately.


  • Justin

    Picup also has an online web platform geared for business users who place collections and deliveries on a daily (or weekly/monthly) basis. The online portal also allows for users to get a quote instantly without actually placing the delivery, just like you can do via the WeChat official account.

    Visit http://www.picupbusiness.co.za to sign up and place a picup immediately.

    • Abbey

      @justin seems you know much about the picup model. Running a similar kinda business in subsaharan africa, can we connect? Shoot me an email: abbey (at) myself (dot) com

  • James Robinson

    You can also find South African freelancers and on-demand workers at https://www.freelancinggig.com/